All Irish people and their visiting tourists have been stunned by the heatwave which has blanketed the country through July.

Although rain fell in the west and north earlier this week, experts forecast temperatures will remain in the mid-20s Celsius – around 77 degrees Fahrenheit – and could again top 30C, or 86F, by the end of the week.

Ireland was hotter than the Bahamas last weekend, with the heat in Freeport, Grand Bahama, on 29C (over 84F).

In one area of Donegal, it topped 31C, (88F), last weekend.

In Ireland that is searingly hot, although many visitors, especially from the U.S. and Mediterranean countries in Europe can tolerate even greater heat.

Still, the visitors – warned in advance that even a good weather day in Ireland will usually be accompanied by at least a dash of rain – are still waiting for the wet days everybody says are a regular Irish experience.

A record number of drownings, 12 in two weeks up to Tuesday, have been recorded as the heat drives crowds into the sea and lake waters.

Other than the dangers of the sea, retailers are swimming in cash as new research found the good weather is helping to boost flagging consumer sentiment.

A KBC Bank study discovered people are taking out their wallets and spending more while the sun’s out.

Chief economist Austin Hughes added, “We think the monthly increase reported in the KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index likely exaggerates the degree to which the mood of Irish consumers has changed in the past month. Nonetheless, it should be seen as signaling some modest improvement in sentiment of late.”

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has urged employers to make their staff aware of summer driving hazards.

HSA spokesperson Deirdre Sinnott said, “Extra vigilance is needed for those who drive for work especially during deliveries and collections, on rural roads and near popular tourist and sport destinations.” 

Met Eireann said the last time a heat-wave topped 29C (84F) on a regular daily basis was in 1995.

Experts have tipped that the sun will continue blazing down on Ireland in August.

Noted New Zealand forecaster Ken Ring has predicted the heatwave could last another seven weeks until September.

But he reckoned that could be it for at least another two years – with 2014 and 2015 set to be cooler and cloudier.