‘Something’s not right’: Northern Irish townland has its 31.2C day in the sun

‘Something’s not right’: Northern Irish townland has its 31.2C day in the sun

In the annals of climate change it will be remembered, if at all, as a diverting footnote: the brief reign of Ballywatticock. Few people in Northern Ireland had heard of this townland on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down until its weather station recorded the hottest temperature for the UK last Saturday: 31.2C (88.16F). The measurement set a new record for Northern Ireland and unleashed a slew of jokes about an enigmatic name that possibly originated from the Irish baile Uaiteacoc, or Watticock’s townland. “Ballywatticock of course being adapted from the Irish: baile meaning ‘townland’, Uaitecoc meaning ‘with a big thermometer’,” said one. Someone changed the local speed limit sign from 30 to 31.2, delighting TV crews that used it as a backdrop to crown this previously anonymous patchwork of fields and houses the hottest place in Northern Ireland. Residents enjoyed the attention. “It’s good to have a bit of excitement, some craic,” said Donald Crowe, 77, a retired farmer who has hosted the weather station in his garden since 1961. “It’s excellent. A wee bit of publicity,” …
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