Waves of up to 45 foot are expected off Ireland's west coast this weekend, weather experts have warned.

Met Eireann and the Marine Institute said all ships and anyone close to the shoreline "should take great care, especially on Saturday".

If the waves come as predicted, they would be the highest around Ireland's coastline for several years.

However, surfer Mark Patterson advised water-watchers to "dust down the camera, not the surfboard".

Waves 40 foot high were recorded in the seas to the west of Galway Bay in January 2005.


Analyists said similar conditions could occur this weekend if weather systems develop as predicted.

Waves are able to build up over a considerable distance when a broad area of very low pressure sits in the Atlantic north of Ireland, as is expected to happen on Friday and Saturday.

BBC Radio Foyle present Mark Patterson, a surfing enthusiast, said the waters around the Giant's Causeway could see 20 foot waves this weekend.

"Weekend tide patterns are moderate, but rip currents will still be unusually strong, and extremely dangerous," he said.

"Waves should peak on Saturday, but an accompanying stormy south west wind will make it an almost impossible ask for all but the most advanced surfers.

"I'd say most water-watchers would be well advised to dust down the cameras - not the surfboards."