A yellow weather warning was issued in Ireland as temperatures plunged to well below freezing, with some areas experiencing lows of -6C (21.2F) in the Republic. On Sunday evening temperatures in Northern Ireland reached -8.1C (17.4F).

Ireland’s meteorological service, Met Eireann, forecast “widespread severe frost and icy patches” and dense patches of fog are expected to last until Monday afternoon, creating a potentially dangerous situation for drivers.

The Irish Independent reports that on Tuesday a southerly air flow is expected to hit Ireland, which should see overnight temperatures rising to above freezing for the first time since Christmas in many parts of the country.

The new year will be ushered in with rainfall, say weather experts. Daytime temperatures on New Year's Eve will be around 9 to 11C (48 to 51F).

Met Eireann's Pat Clarke told the Irish Independent, "The cold spell should disappear quickly."

He added, "New Year's Day won't be too dissimilar, with temperatures of about 9-12C which is much milder than normal.

"The past week has reflected all of December - with some cold weather, some wet weather, some mild weather and then frosty weather. We've had quite a mixed bag indeed."

A frosty sunset at Hook Head Lighthouse, County Wexford: Ireland sees dramatic cold snap to be replaced by warmer weather and rainfall by New Year.Getty Images/iStockphoto