Start dreaming of a white Christmas (but only in parts)

Brief cold snap may bring snow to higher grounds in western coastal counties

Parts of the west and north-west have a chance of a white Christmas as the recent mild weather is temporarily interrupted.

Temperatures will fall to between 2 and 5 degrees on Christmas Eve, breaking an extraordinary spell of mild weather which has made this one of the warmest Decembers on record.

The cold snap will see wintery showers turn to sleet and then snow on higher grounds on the coastal fringes of Donegal, Mayo and Galway, according to Met Éireann forecaster Harm Luijkx.

Elsewhere the weather will be mild and windy both in the run up to Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.


Weather on Christmas Day will start dry and cold with rain crossing the country during the afternoon and bringing with it mild temperatures again of between 12 and 14 degrees.

There will be more rain on St Stephen’s Day and into the early days of next week.

The weather has been so mild that the station at Malin Head recorded a minimum night time temperature of 16 degrees on one of the nights last week.

"There was a strong southerly flow of tropical air. That was the reason for the mild weather," Mr Luijkx said.

He stressed that no single event can be said to represent climate change, but “the signal is getting stronger that this has something to do with climate change.”

December 2015 is on course to be the warmest on record. To date the average temperature at Dublin Airport is 9 degrees, the record was set at 8.3 degrees in 1974. The average December temperature at Dublin Airport is 5.6 degrees.

Cork Airport’s mean temperature to date is 8.9 degrees; the highest monthly average of 8.4 degrees was recorded in 1988.

Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry is currently showing a mean temperature of 10.7 degrees; the highest December average since 1921.

Britain’s Met Office has forecast that global temperatures in 2016 are likely to be as warm or even warmer than 2015, which will be the warmest on record. “This forecast suggests that by the end of 2016 we will have seen three record, or near-record years in a row for global temperatures,” it said in a statement.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times