County-by-county guide as big weather clean-up begins

Councils in worst-affected areas say it’s too early to count the overall cost of the damage

Clean-up operations are under way across the country after strong winds and high tides caused major damage to homes, businesses and roads.


In Co Clare, where some of the worst damage was reported, county engineer Tom Tiernan said before “pulverised” roads could be reinstated at Doolin, rock armour swept away by the sea would have to be renewed.

He said the same was true for a two mile stretch of the coast road at Newquay where a protective wall was largely “just gone”.

At Liscannor about a mile of coastal road had been severely undermined and swept away, along with sections of a retaining wall, he said.

At Lahinch there was “substantial” damage to the promenade, which was left looking “like an earthquake” had struck after rock armour was removed in the storm. At Quilty a number of coastal houses remain exposed after sea walls protecting them were washed away. A road near Killimor was undermined and is down to one lane pending further assessment.

In Galway the city council’s executive engineer Gary McMahon said there had been much unseen damage in underground car parks associated with waterfront apartments. Many were submerged, as were the basements of local businesses.

The promenade at Spiddal was “destroyed” and major damage caused to coastal roads, some of which were completely lost. On Inishbofin island a lighthouse was swept away while a car and a van were swept from the pier. At Cleggan on the mainland six cars were swept from the pier and local roads damaged.

Extensive damage to a roadway and boundary wall at Barna was caused when boulders were swept inland by the sea. A walkway from Galway Golf Club to Blackrock was swept away.

Hundreds of tonnes of seaweed and rocks were dumped on Ballyloughane beach.

Galway county secretary Michael Owens said “severe” and “serious” damage had been done to “roads, piers and harbours, burial grounds, playgrounds, beaches, public lighting and amenities”. In many cases sea walls would have to be reinstated before repairs to infrastructure could begin, the authority said.

In Limerick the Condell Road was closed for a while when the Shannon burst its banks and flooding was reported at St Mary’s Park, Foynes and Askeaton.

Sittings of Limerick District Court were disrupted after about six inches of water flooded the Court Services offices at Merchants Quay. The court sat at the adjacent Circuit Court building instead. In Foynes, more than two feet of water flooded the main street after flood defence barriers were breached.

According to Pat O’Neill, senior engineer with Limerick City and County Council, the flooding in Foynes was the worst for some time. “It’s as bad as it has been in my memory certainly. We had flooding about 15 years ago but it is certainly as bad,” he said.

Declan Daly, deputy Cork county manager said emergency crews dealt with almost 300 roads related calls between December 23rd and 29th alone. While coastal areas had borne the brunt of the weather on this occasion, he said, heavy rain had also taken its toll on inland roads.

In Cork city homes and businesses were flooded, but with substantially less damage than in the severe floods of 2009. Coastal roads were damaged and in Youghal a boardwalk, installed at a cost of €220,000, was extensively damaged.

In Tramore surging seas breached the sea walls and a large scale “sink hole” appeared in the coast road. Fears have been expressed for the safety of a nearby block of apartments. The county council is carrying out an assessment of the potential for further damage.

Communications officer with Donegal County Council Anne Marie Conlon said parts of Donegal and other coastal areas had been flooded by the sea surge. The full cost of the damage would not be known for some days.

Flooding also affected the runway at Donegal Airport where a number of flights were delayed or cancelled. Storm surges caused flooding at Dunfanaghy, Annagry, Killybegs, Downings Carrigart and Letterkenny.

Near Westport a bridge over the river Moy was “destroyed” according to Mayo county secretary John Condon. He said most of the flooding was confined to roads but some damage to coastal areas was currently being assessed. The authority would be drawing up an estimate of the damage for passing on to the Government’s national Co-ordination Group on severe Weather.