An Irish Summer – from May/June droughts to deluges in July and August

WE’VE officially said goodbye to our meteorological summer of 2023 on Thursday last – the final day in August – and farmers won’t need any reminding that it was one of our wettest since records began.

The real damage was done through July which broke all rainfall records for our seventh month with 224.1mms. (nearly 9 inches) falling at the Met Éireann station in Athenry.

While August mightn’t have been as wet – it wasn’t great either – with the Athenry station having a rainfall total of 129.1mms. (5 inches), 21.3mms. above the long-term average (LTA) for our eighth month.

Met Éireann categorise our three summer months as June, July and August – based on temperature figures – and over that period, the Athenry station recorded a whopping 447mms. of rainfall or 17.6 inches.

It’s little wonder that many farmers struggled to ‘get’ hay and silage – or get turf home from the bog – given the very poor ground/field conditions of the past two months with soils either saturated or waterlogged for a lot of the time.

And while June might have been our warmest sixth month on record, there was little by way of heat through July and August. The mean temperature for July (Athenry) was 14.8°C – 0.7°C below the long-term average of 15.5°C.

Temperature wise, August with a mean figure of 15.4°C came in close to the seasonal LTA of 15.2°C – our only decent spell of heat/sunshine came in May and through the first half of June. The June mean temperature of 16.7°C for Athenry was 3° above the LTA of 13.7°.

The midsummer rainfall peaked on the Friday and Saturday of July14/15 when a total of 60mms. (2.4 inches) was recorded in Athenry – two of our wettest ever consecutive summer days.

However, in one of the little quirks of localised weather trends, the Met Éireann station in Mace Head, south-west Connemara, had the lowest rainfall total in the country for July with just 111.8mms (4.6 inches).


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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