With temperatures soaring at 28 degrees on Tuesday, we went to the legendary Botanic Gardens to catch up with some of  Belfast’s greatest sun worshippers.

With swarms of crowds soaking up the elusive rays before they disappear again, many came armed with picnic baskets, soft drinks (ahem), and music to keep themselves entertained.

Meanwhile, any lone rangers we spotted were reading, chilling out with their earphones – or even temporarily seeking refuge from the beating sun in the shade!

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Dog walkers were out in their plenty – including Olympic Games athlete Kerry O’Flaherty!

Kerry, who is about to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, was loving the sunshine.

“These temperatures are fantastic! I’ve just been training in Mary Peters Track and these temperatures are just what I need as I need to train in really hot temperatures to get used to what it will be like in Rio! I fly out July 28 so it’s really soon.

“After training, I met with my friend for lunch and made sure to take my dogs out to enjoy the sunshine too!”

Talented athlete Kerry, who is from Newcastle, is representing Ireland in the 3000 metres Steeplechase August 13. We’ll definitely be rooting for her! #RunKerryRun

We also chatted with Robert – the man responsible for the famous ice-cream cones you’ve no doubt enjoyed on countless an occasion in Botanic.

Percy’s Picnic Pit Stop boasted constant queues as people clamoured to get their favourite refreshments.

And if you’ve ever wondered what the most popular options are, Robert reports “The Knickerbocker Glory and the Slush Puppies are always popular, but of course – everyone loves a 99!”

“The park’s also been really busy with everyone playing that new game Pokémon Go! Apparently there’s loads here. When people come up to order, I can see the game open on their phones! I don’t know anything about it, but it’s crazy how popular it is!”

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But whilst today Robert was seeing a roaring trade thanks to the soaring temperatures, it seems the students are definitely missed when they go away!

“On a day like today, you’re always going to be busy. But on a typical day in the summer it can be quite quiet! The students are definitely our best customers – and they’re all away home!”

Thankfully though, some of Belfast’s finest students have certainly remained! And they were out in force today. We chatted to Tara McFarland, Jordan Fong and Ruth McKeown who were all out enjoying the sunshine today.

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“We’re just chilling out all day then we’re going out to Box tonight!” explained Tara.

Meanwhile, recent graduates Meghan Doherty who recently received her degree in PE and Hanna Johnston who graduated with a degree in Fine Art had similar plans: “We’re chilling out and getting the sun all day!”

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