The continent sizzles but it's a mixed bag in Ireland on the weather front

Today is providing a mixed bag on the weather front with many parts of Leinster and Ulster bathed in sunshine but its umbrellas at the ready for southern and western counties.

It was better news in southern counties yesterday however with Kerry recording the highest temperature in Ireland yesterday.

The mercury reached 29.2 degrees in Ardfert, according to Met Eireann.

Meanwhile, Shannon Airport recorded highs of 28.4 degrees followed by Dooks in Co. Kerry with 28.2 degrees.

The news comes as red weather alerts are being issued across Europe as the continent is gripped by an intense heatwave.

Temperatures could hit the mid-forties in France today.

Authorities there brought in a new graded heat danger system after a heatwave in 2003 killed tens of thousands of people.

The current temperature record in France is 44.1 degrees celsius, but it could reach a sweltering 45 degrees today.

Elsewhere, hundreds of firefighters are battling a wildfire in Catalonia in Spain - the worst fire in the region in 20 years.

It's so hot at the minute, that a pile of manure at a chicken farm self-combusted and triggered a fire, while the animals at a zoo in Rome were fed ice pops to stay cool.

Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic have all recorded their highest-ever June temperatures.

Meteorologists say hot air drawn in from northern Africa is responsible for the heatwave, caused by high pressure over central Europe and a storm stalling over the Atlantic.

There has been a number of weather related fatalities across the continent - including a 12 year old girl who drowned in Greater Manchester.

Experts are warning that this "hot episode" could extend into early next week.

As for the outlook in Ireland we can look forward to a good deal of dry weather overall with just a few showers.

Saturday will see clear spells and a few showers with these mainly affecting the west and northwest.

It will be bright and breezy on Sunday with sunny spells and a few passing showers. Maximum temperatures of 17 to 20 degrees in moderate to fresh westerly winds. Most areas dry overnight but a few showers will affect the west and northwest. Minimum temperatures 10 to 13 degrees.

Monday will see sunny spells and showers but holding mainly dry in the south of the country. Maximum temperatures 15 to 20 degrees, warmest in moderate northwest breezes. Largely dry overnight with just the chance of an isolated shower in the north. Minimum temperatures 7 to 10 degrees.

It will be mostly dry on Tuesday with a mix of cloud and sunshine. Top temperatures 17 to 20 degrees in light breezes. Staying dry overnight with clear spells. Lows 8 to 11 degrees.

Wednesday will be another dry day with sunny spells and patchy cloud. Maximum temperatures 17 to 22 degrees in moderate southwest winds.

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