Northern Ireland ‘staycation’ summer begins this bank holiday weekend

The Causeway Coast cliff pathThe Causeway Coast cliff path
The Causeway Coast cliff path
Northern Ireland’s ‘staycation’ hotspots are buzzing this bank holiday weekend with the perfect combination of a good weather forecast and the lifting of many Covid restrictions.

From Fermanagh to the north coast, caravan parks and hotels are hanging out the ‘no vacancies’ signs as more and more people give up on the prospect of a 2021 holiday abroad.

The Met Office is predicting some long periods of sunshine following a dull and damp start on Saturday morning, with temperatures getting up to 20C in many places.

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Commenting on the outlook for tomorrow through to midweek, a Met Office spokesperson said it will be “a fine, dry and warm spell of weather with some sunny periods” and that “winds will be light”.

However, there is a warning of some prolonged showers in the south and west early in the week.

In Fermanagh, Lough Erne Resort general manager Joanne Walsh said the hotel and all facilities are fully booked all weekend, ahead of what promises to be a bumper summer for the lakeside getaway.

“We are absolutely full all weekend, and we’ve also got a wedding on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday so it is a very busy weekend for us,” she said.

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“People are just glad to be out, even with the [Covid] restrictions, but there is not much you can’t do now, including having a drink without food.

“This is the year of the staycation. We thought it was strong last year but it’s definitely not a patch on this year.

“People are coming for a longer length of stay, and making it their holidays.”

Ms Walsh added: “We have turned a corner but it hasn’t stopped people from wearing their masks and we are socially-distanced. The room procedure is still the same, and the sanitation is still the same, but it’s almost as if we’ve all learned to live with it.”

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On the north coast, Linda Martin of Juniper Hill caravan park in Portrush said they are also fully booked all weekend and beyond.

“With so many people now [holidaying] at home we have a lot of new people who are first time caravaners, and people who have bought tents who never would have had one before,” she said.

“This is also the first weekend that we are open for tents and the toilet block is open again, so I suppose you could say it is a return to normality.

“Since we reopened the atmosphere has been amazing. People help each other, so if you get somebody new coming in and trying to park up but they can’t, they all help each other,” Ms Martin added.

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The PSNI has urged all road users to “exercise care and remain focussed” as larger volumes or traffic are expected.

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