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15 July 2020 12:38

Swithun St. Swithin's Day United Kingdom

It's St Swithin's Day - a former bishop of Winchester

Dry spells and some sunshine look set to be on the cards for Ireland for the next 40 days, if the legend of St Swithin is anything to go by. Today, July 15th, is St Swithin's Day and if the myth of the holy man holds true then whatever weather we see today is likely to be replicated every day for the next 40 days and 40 nights. In fact he was so furious with the decision - taken by his successor Bishop Ethelwold - to move him to a fancy shrine in a big cathedral that he put a weather related curse on the whole world. On the day his body was moved and as the ceremony to celebrate his saintliness reached its end, it lashed rain. "St Swithin's day if thou dost rain, for 40 days it will remain.

St Swithin's Day if thou be fair, for 40 days 'twill rain nae mare," was the quote attributed to the dead man. Met Eireann has said it will be mostly cloudy and rather misty on Wednesday morning with patchy drizzle, chiefly affecting the north and east of the country. However, long dry spells will develop as the day progresses, especially across the south and southeast of the country with warm sunny spells. Highest temperatures will be between 16 and 19 degrees but reaching 20 to 21 degrees in any sunshine in moderate west or northwest breezes. Thursday will also start mostly cloudy and misty with patchy drizzle.

The cloud will break in some areas during the afternoon, especially across the east and south of the country allowing for some warm sunshine to develop. However, it looks set to remain rather cloudy along the Atlantic seaboard with further patchy light rain or drizzle. Friday will be another mostly cloudy day across west Munster, Connacht and west Ulster with rain at times and highest temperatures of 16 to 18 degrees. Elsewhere, it will be mostly dry with a mix of cloud and bright spells with highest temperatures of 19 to 22 degrees. The UK could be in for 40 days of sunshine or 40 days of downpours, depending on how the day dawned today, according to the folklore of St Swithin's Day. St Swithin was a ninth century Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester and, according to legend, was tutor to a young King Alfred the Great.

He is best known for a proverb which predicts 40 days of rain or sun, depending on what weather hits the UK on his special day. Little is known about the saint, but he is said to have requested he be buried outside Winchester Cathedral so his grave would be exposed to both the footsteps of worshippers and the elements. But in the 10th century, after some priests moved his tomb inside, a great storm hit, which was taken as a sign of St Swithin's displeasure. Probably cloudy and a bit of drizzle, according to the Met Office. Meteorologist Alex Burkill told the PA news agency: "For many it's going to be a largely cloudy day.

"There will be a rain that could be a bit heavy at times, particularly across parts of Scotland and then western areas of the UK – so north-west England, Wales, south-west England. "So cloudy with outbreaks of rain that will be heavier towards the north, and further east the clouds could be thick enough for a few spots of rain but mostly dry." Asked if we will have 40 days of rain, Mr Burkill said: "I think in the history of anything that has never happened, and that's not going to happen this time, fortunately." While the gloomy picture will remain into Thursday, by the end of the week the UK could be in for much warmer temperatures and sunny skies, especially in the south. Mr Burkill added: "It's a drier and brighter picture as we go into the start of August – it does look like we're going to see more prolonged dry spells than really we've had this month. "So quite a different story from what many of us can expect on quite a cloudy and damp St Swithin's Day." St Swithin's Day has certainly never been a particularly reliable source of meteorological predictions. In 1913, July 15 was hit by a 15-hour rainstorm, but 30 days of sunshine came after.

In 1924, 13 and a half hours of glorious sunshine were followed by 30 days of rain out of the next 40. IT'S OFFICIALLY ST Swithin's Day. The more superstitious among us will probably be looking out the window checking the weather, with the old belief that if it rains today, we can expect rain for the next 40 days. The day is named after an English saint, whose body was supposedly moved from an outdoor to an indoor grave, leading to rain falling on the cathedral where he was buried for 40 days. The good news is that although there's expected to be some patches of drizzle this morning, long dry spells are expected to develop as the day progresses. Warm and sunny spells will even develop in the south and south east of the country, with highest temperatures of 16 to 19 degrees generally but reaching 20 or 21 degrees in parts. Tonight will be mild and humid with mostly dry conditions, although there will be some patchy rain and drizzle in Atlantic coastal counties at times. Tomorrow is expected to start mostly cloudy, with more patchy drizzle across the country. Warm sunshine will develop in the east and south of the country in the afternoon, however. Top temperatures on Thursday will be between 16 and 20 degrees generally, but up to 22 degrees in the east and south. In the longer-term, Met Éireann in forecasting a possible return of high pressure close to Ireland next week, which should bring dry weather. However, it's also expected that cloudy conditions could also prevail at times, and a few showers are likely. More than 100 years after Swithin, the Bishop of Winchester, died on 2 July, between AD 861 and 863, he was adopted as patron of the restored cathedral. An old proverb claims if there's rain on St Swithin's day, 15 July, it will continue for 40 more. Much of the UK is experiencing some cloud and drizzle today (Wednesday, July 15), but according to the Met Office the days are expected to get a bit warmer. Temperatures are widely expected to get above 20C later this week for much of the UK - and Friday could be a real scorcher. In the east and south of England, temperatures will be near average today. But from Thursday the mercury is forecast to rise, with particularly balmy temperatures expected in the south-east of England. Met Office spokesperson Nicola Maxey told Express.co.uk the temperature could reach as high as 29C in some isolated areas this week. READ MORE: BBC Weather warning: '40 days of storms' as temperatures plummet