Ireland is to enjoy some long-overdue sunshine as a burst of heat hits the country, forecasters have revealed.

Met Éireann's John Eagleton told RTÉ Radio One's Morning Ireland: "We're pretty certain they will hit 18 degrees Celsius on Thursday. Tomorrow will start misty and damp, but the afternoon will be good for many places.

"There will be very little wind on Thursday and Friday. On Friday, the temperatures could go higher, to 19 and 20 degrees Celsius.

"There is not much sign yet, but it's coming. It's brightening up now this morning. It will be windy today but not as bad as last night, and temperatures will hit 14-16 degrees.

"The temperatures have finally improved, and they will stay up there."

Temperatures will begin to fall from Friday.

On its website, Met Eireann said: "There will be further rain on Wednesday morning in western counties but this should become more confined to the coastal areas in the afternoon. 

"The rest of the country should have a mainly dry and bright day but with a good deal of cloud. Very mild with highs of 14 to 17 degrees Celsius but breezy /windy in fresh and gusty southerly breezes. 

"Thursday will begin mostly dry and bright with lighter winds and afternoon temperatures of 14 to 17 or possibly 18 degrees Celsius. 

"Cooler on Friday with a few showers about especially in northern counties but many places will be dry and bright"