Weather to deteriorate later in week


WEATHER WATCHERS can look forward to 40 more days of rain, if St Swithin’s rhyme holds true.

According to folklore, if it rains on the saint’s day, which fell yesterday, it will also do so for the following 40 days.

Met Éireann said many places enjoyed sunny spells yesterday but there were also widespread showers in areas including Dublin, the south, midwest and Ulster.

Legend has it that St Swithin, a Wessex bishop, asked to be buried outside so he could be rained upon. His wishes were followed but nine years after his death, on July 15th, 971, the monks of Winchester moved his remains to a shrine inside their cathedral. Torrential rain followed and St Swithin’s rhyme was composed.

Met Éireann did not predict 40 days of rain but meteorologist Eoin Sherlock said the weather would continue to be mixed in the coming days. It will be mild and humid today and tomorrow and the southeast will enjoy temperatures of up to 22 degrees. Showers are expected at night.

Temperatures will drop on Wednesday with heavy, thundery showers expected.

The Irish Farmers’ Association said the bad weather was the only topic of conversation in the countryside. Some farmers got a window of opportunity to make silage at the weekend but conditions are still very difficult, with heavy machinery in danger of getting stuck in waterlogged fields.

IFA president John Bryan called on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to use today’s EU Farm Council meeting in Brussels to get help for farmers. Mr Coveney has already sought a 50 per cent advance on the single-farm payment to help farmers pay for weather-related costs.

Mr Bryan said the Minister must ask EU Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos to agree to a 70 per cent advance in the payment because the situation was worsening every day.

“An advance payment of 70 per cent would help ease cash flow problems on farms which have arisen because of significantly higher costs and lower prices,” he said. A similar advance was agreed in 2009, when incomes were badly hit by poor prices.

“While some harvesting has been done, ground conditions have prevented many farmers from getting their silage in. Milk production and prices are back and the factories are using the bad weather to pull cattle prices,” Mr Bryan said.

“Crop development is at a critical stage for the main crops of winter wheat and spring barley. Grain farmers expect yields to drop and unless we see a dramatic improvement in the coming weeks the impact could be greater.”