ESB crews are working through the night to restore power to homes and businesses across the south and southeast of the country following thunderstorms.

Outages have been reported in counties Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow, with large outages in New Ross and Gorey.

As of 8pm, Arklow and Enniscorthy were reported as the most severely impacted, and the ESB warned that those in one off rural homes may not have power overnight.

It was hoped that power could be restored to most properties between 6pm and 7pm, but in some areas power is unlikely to be restored before 10.30pm or 11.30pm tonight.

Earlier there were thousands of premises without power in Co Cork.

"Crews are going to work through the night to get power restored for people and will be dispatched again from first light, but they will try to do as many tonight as is possible," an ESB spokesperson said.

This morning there were close to 5,000 homes and businesses impacted in total, with 787 properties without power in Dunmanway, and another 412 impacted in the Béal na Bláth area.

Many of these have had power restored but there are still several outages across the county, with most affecting small pockets. An ESB spokesperson said there had been "quick fixes" for the ESB but it was down to the sheer volume of faults that resulted in so many homes and businesses being without power.

The outages are weather-related and are not due to any major fault on the power lines, ESB has said. Thunder and lightning had a significant impact, and delayed restoration in some areas.

Heavy showers are expected tonight with continued thunderstorms and hail, merging to longer spells of rain at times in the northwest towards dawn.

An ESB spokesperson said that crews are actively working on all outages and will restore power as soon as possible and when it is safe to do so.

For those living in one off rural housing who are without power tonight, ESB said households should not assume that ESB know about their outage.

ESB can be contacted on 1800 372 999 to report a fault, while all affected customers are advised to check the PowerCheck service for local information.

Additional reporting Jennie O'Sullivan