Cork firms count cost after heavy flooding hits city centre

High tide and south easterly winds led to River Lee bursting banks on both channels

Commuter Michelle Lane pictured during severe flooding South Mall, Cork city this morning. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Commuter Michelle Lane pictured during severe flooding South Mall, Cork city this morning. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 21:01

From Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

Businesses in Cork city centre are starting another clean-up after a combination of high tides and strong south easterly winds led to flooding in the city centre yesterday morning.

A high tide at 8am combined with strong south easterly winds driving water back up the River Lee from Cork Harbour led to both the north and south channels overflowing the quay walls at various locations around the city centre.

On the North Channel, high tides spilled over quay walls resulting in flooding on Kyrl’s Quay and Cornmarket Street while Union Quay, George’s Quay, Wandesford Quay and Morrisson’s Island all flooding from the south channel.

The high tides also led to Sharman Crawford Street and South Terrace being flooded on the southside but the most dramatic scenes were in the city centre itself where the South Mall and Oliver Plunkett Street and linking side streets all flooded as was part of the Grand Parade.

Over 30cm of water streamed down the South Mall and among the premises affected were South’s Bar in the Imperial Hotel and at one point pedestrians were walking along the centre of the street as it was the highest point as water flowed down the footpaths at either side.

Gardaí at Anglesea Street station said Oliver Plunkett Street was flooded to a depth of between 60cms and 90cms and although many businesses had prepared for the event with sand bags and flood barriers, several were badly flooded.

Among the businesses affected was Pro Musica at the Parnell Place end of Oliver Plunkett Street where according to Eileen Madden, up to 20cm of water came into the shop, damaging both electrics and stock.

“It started coming in about 7.20am and at one point when we looked out at the small car park out the back, there were kegs from some of the nearby pubs bobbing around in the water - we can’t get any insurance and again we’ve had stock damaged,” she said.

Further up Oliver Plunkett Street nearer the Grand Parade, gemologist Brendan Walsh was taking out sodden carpets from his business, Platinum Works and beginning the general clean-up after up to 30cms of water flooded his premises.

“The first I knew about it was when I got a message to go on Youtube and I logged on to see this guy swimming outside my shop - I reckon about a foot of water came into the shop, we have a tiled floor but the carpets which we had over the tiles are ruined,” he said.

Side streets off Oliver Plunkett Street such as Princes Street and Cook Street were also flooded while the water also extended up to Cork’s main shopping street, Patrick Street which had to be closed to traffic.

Several units of Cork City Fire Brigade spent a number of hours assisting shop owners in the Oliver Plunkett Street area pump water from their premises.

Most areas were clear by 11am after tide water subsided.