Our reporters were up and about early this morning to gather memories of the glorious summer of 2016 when the county basked in temperatures of up to 28 degrees for more than 48 hours.
“It was deadly like. I was telling the children about it this morning and they said I was lying. It was like the Algarve. Cars were getting stuck on the road because of the bubbling tarmac and Portuguese people were flocking here for a bit of heat. Women were walking about buck naked. The summer of ’16….it’ll never happened again.” PAT QUINN (77)
“Oh I’ll never forget it. It was like it was yesterday, it’s that fresh in my mind. I remember Tyrone won the Ulster that year, beating Donegal I think by 20 points of so and Mickey Harte scored a screamer goal from 50 yards out and people were fainting because it was nearly 50 degrees. I remember buying a pint in Mulligan’s bar and the beer was warm because his air conditioning was banjaxed and Mulligan was telling people to stop complaining. It was a mad, mad summer. There was talk of a United Ireland that year but I’m not sure if it happened.” MARY MCCANN (56)
“People think you’re making things up but the in the summer of ’16 The Moy was the hottest place on the planet for days and days. People had to head to the blacksmiths in the village to get steel heels and toecaps put on the boots as soles were melting on the road. I remember fish jumping out of the River Blackwater to cool down. I think that was the year we left Europe and became part of the Sahara for a while.” MALACHY MACKLE (41)
“Some people have fond memories of the heat in 2016 but my recollections were not as happy. I was really worried about Hugo Duncan in that heat. He was elderly at that stage and had a big baldy head on him and I was waking up in a state of panic thinking he’d be lying in a drain somewhere boiling and the microphone electrocuting him.” JOHN HAMILL (51)
“Over a million people were swimming in Lough Neagh on the Monday after the Ulster final. I remember that figure because I counted them with my brother. Cameras weren’t really handy back then so I’ve no photos. I remember going to the game on the Sunday and seeing Sean Cavanagh’s hair actually melting in front of us. It was a bad year for eels as they all tasted burnt.” PADDY COYLE (33)
The recent good spell has sparked a rise in desert mammals popping up across the county according to animal spotter Hugh Pat Bonner from Ardboe. Elephants in Eskra, gazelles in Greencastle and camels in Carrickmore have become the norm as the animals acclimatise to the balmy mid-Ulster climate. Bonner admitted that even he was surprised to see an alligator drinking out of a ditch outside the Battery bar.
“Aye, thon was a bit of a shock. What surprised me most was that the alligator just nodded at me like as if he’s been here for years. My brother said he saw a cheetah in Moortown chasing after midges. I wonder do these animals lie dormant in Ireland until we get Sahara-like weather.”
John Agnew admitted he now misses being stuck behind cattle on the road to Dungannon compared to what’s happening now:
“I was on the Killeeshil Road yesterday and was caught behind a herd of elephants heading towards Castlecaulfield. You think cow-pats are bad. These boys drop monster-sized dungs and then swipe the stuff at your windscreen with their trunks. Then from the Killyliss Road we were attacked by a shower of monkeys. I’ll never complain again about oul Cullen’s cattle.”
Carrickmore residents however have welcomed the arrival of 44 camels. Mary Kelly, a lady of the night, admitted:
“They’ve been a welcome addition to the Carmen landscape. These boys can haul 600 bales no bother and only need a spoonful of water. Also, their milk is less fattening. Women are drinking straight from the teet and are losing pounds by the day. And the humps are good oul craic too.”
However, an oranguan in Donemana is proving to be a social pest, spying on women getting ready by hanging upside down from guttering.