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Traffic chaos and social distancing fears as thousands take in day at the beach

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Beaches were busy with people soaking up the sunshine

Beaches were busy with people soaking up the sunshine

Beaches were busy with people soaking up the sunshine

Tens of thousands of people flocked to beaches across the country yesterday, sparking fears that social distancing was being ignored.

However, while Dublin, Meath and Wicklow's beaches were thronged with staycationers, the only county to have a beach closure order enforced was Kerry. With temperatures of up to 25C and sunshine forecast for the next three days, popular resorts are expected to remain packed with families on holiday desperate to make the most of the fine weather.

The huge numbers on beaches yesterday prompted social distancing concerns and resulted in traffic chaos. Gardaí attended beaches in the capital as well as in Waterford, Kerry and Cork because of overcrowded roads.

In Kerry, gardaí and the county council had to take action because of crowds of holidaymakers who headed to Inch beach on Saturday.

The decision was made to close the west Kerry strand, with gardaí directing all arriving traffic away from the location.

Delays

Garda enforcement units also checked Derrymore and Maharees beaches amid reports of heavy volumes of traffic.

Ultimately, neither beach was closed, although motorists were warned of traffic delays and urged to consider visiting other areas. Dublin beaches were packed with daytrippers, while in Cork large numbers of sunbathers were reported at Youghal, Garryvoe, Owenahincha and Inchydoney strands.

The normally quiet Warren Strand outside Rosscarbery had crowds of visitors, with resultant traffic delays.

Large numbers of holidaymakers were also reported at Ardmore, Clonea and Tramore in Waterford as well as popular resorts in Galway, Wexford, Wicklow and Meath. Gardaí and health officials again pleaded with the public to adhere to social distancing and sanitisation guidelines to avoid further widespread localised lockdowns after Kildare, Laois and Offaly had restrictions imposed on them.

Large numbers are expected to again head to coastal resorts and inland beauty spots over the coming days as Met Éireann said there will be further fine weather today, with temperatures soaring possibly as high as 26C.

However, some areas will have cloud cover and isolated showers, with the risk of thunder storms in eastern and northeastern areas in the afternoon. Tomorrow will see a mostly cloudy start, but sunny spells will develop in the south before spreading north.