A heatwave has gripped Ireland – and brought a $25 million a day bonus to the economy as the sun shines from Donegal to Kerry.

Weather forecasters that temperatures could hit 85 degrees Fahrenheit as hotel owners and shopkeepers celebrate the burst of sunshine.

This could be the hottest July in history as sun worshippers prepare for 10 glorious days.

And tourism chiefs are predicting a $250 million bonanza across the country as the warm spell continues.

Irish Tourism Industry Federation CEO Eamonn McKeon told the Irish Independent newspaper that the sector is expecting the first good summer since 2006.

McKeon said: “Each day of additional sunshine is worth €10m to Ireland’s home tourism industry alone.

“The sunshine gets consumer sentiment up – the good mood it creates frees up their spending. The sunshine also gets foreign tourists out of the city and travelling around the country.

“Perhaps just as importantly, the good weather ensures that Irish people who are taking planned home holidays don’t cut short their breaks.

“This has happened a lot in previous summers on the home holiday front when the washout weather wore people down and sent them home early.”

The report says hoteliers are already reporting a boost in business.

Paul Diver, owner of the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, told the paper: “As soon as the detailed forecast came out, the phones started ringing and the emails started pinging.”

Irish Hotels Federation President Michael Vaughan also expects a boom in bookings.

He said: “Hotels along the coast should expect to fill every night that there is sunshine.

“Irish people have been especially cagey over the last while when it comes to parting with their money, but when the sun comes out, they lose all abandon. I expect accommodation numbers will double while the good weather is here.”

The paper says the retail sector also expects to enjoy a similar-sized boost to the tourism sector.

Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) chairman Keith Rogers said: “We expect business so far in July to be up about 18 per cent.

“That’s likely to continue through July if we get the good days of weather that are being predicted.”