Temperatures are plummeting across Ireland as heavy snow brings the country to a halt.

Motorists have been advised to restrict driving to necessary journeys only as a blanket of snow falls.

The freezing temperatures have also grounded many flights and forced ferry companies to cancel and delay sailings.

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Weather experts have warned that the bad weather will lead to further disruption for travellers as snow and freezing temperatures spread across Europe

Already Aer Lingus has cancelled flights between Milan, Munich, London, Dublin and Cork. Ryanair flights are also affected.

London’s Heathrow airport has cut flights by 10 per cent with more disruptions on the way as conditions worsen at other European airports.

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Some 40 per cent of flights in and out of the two main airports on the outskirts of Paris, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, have been cancelled.

Up to 6 inches of snow fell on the Dingle Peninsula overnight and AA Roadwatch has advised motorists to avoid the Conor Pass.

Hazardous conditions have also been reported in Monaghan, Wicklow and Cavan.

Ireland’s weather service Met Éireann has predicted outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow affecting south-western areas.

Night-time temperatures could plunge as low as -6C overnight while daytime temperatures will vary around 1C to 4C over the coming week.

Met Eireann also issued a weather warning, with snow showers expected to coat eastern counties, parts of Ulster and inland areas in Munster with between 3cm and 6cm of snow overnight.

Meteorologist Jean Byrne warned: “It will be very cold most of this week up to and including Thursday night.

“Over the next seven days, the temperatures overall are between 1C and almost 4C below normal.”