Snow Heroes: ‘We woke up to our neighbour ploughing a path to our house’

Readers pay tribute to the people who helped them and others through the storm

While most of us have been hibernating from the Beast at home in front of the fire, people up and down the country have been battling the snow storm to make it in to work in hospitals and emergency services, to care for neighbours and elderly relatives, to clear roads and push cars and deliver food and keep the heartbeat of the country beating while it sleeps under a blanket of snow.

The Irish Times asked readers to tell us about their Snow Heroes. Here’s a selection of the tributes we received.

Emma Fitzgerald: ‘We woke up to our neighbour ploughing a path to our house’

I’m pregnant with our third child, and my husband recently broke his arm which required surgery. On Thursday morning I walked through the beautiful snow to my booking visit with the Rotunda Hospital. While I was in the hospital, our neighbour Cormac went to buy us groceries, and when I finished my appointment he was waiting outside the hospital to drive me home. This morning we woke up to him ploughing a path through the snow to our house. What a gem!

Noreen Lynch: ‘Without their help we would have been stranded’

On Wednesday evening our flight from Cork Airport to Malaga was cancelled. It was snowing very heavily with several inches underfoot. Taxis had stopped due to the Arctic conditions so we made our way across to the Airport Hotel which was booked out for the night. The receptionist welcomed us inside, and told us to make ourselves comfortable while she tried in vain to call us a taxi. About 30 minutes later a mini bus arrived to drop people off at the hotel, and my husband asked the driver if he would take us to the River Lee hotel, where they were keeping a room for us. This was well out of his way as he lived in Cobh, and was anxious to get home in the rapidly deteriorating conditions. We didn’t get the names of either of those kind people, but without their help we would have been stranded there for the night.


Bernard Farrelly: ‘A neighbour let me sleep on his couch’

I went up town Thursday night with my sister-in-law for a few drinks. She walked home early and I followed about 11.45pm. ButI had lost my key and could not get in. My sister-in-law had worked three nights in a row in a nursing home and was in a deep sleep. I rang and knocked for over an hour but no response. It was extremely cold and I was getting desperate. Then a neighbour - a man from Lithuania - heard me. He came over with a hot drink and when he heard I was locked out, brought me over and let me sleep in a couch by the fire. He stayed up all night with me to make sure I was ok.

Aislinn McDonnell: 'A very helpful soldier stopped to help'

My husband is a trauma surgeon and was on call in Connolly Hospital. He had to get to work this morning to operate on a trauma patient. Our car got stuck in a snowdrift outside our house. A very helpful soldier stopped to help on his way back to McKee barracks. He went completely out of his way to drop my husband to work. 
On the way back home from work he had to thumb for a lift down the N3. Many cars passed him until a Middle Eastern couple stopped to give him a lift. They were traveling to visit their newborn nephew on the Old Cabra Road.
Thanks very much to those people who stopped to help. My husband was very grateful for their assistance. It was pretty dangerous for pedestrians crossing over the M50 on the N3.

Eamon Leen: ‘On his own initiative he has been ferrying staff to and from their homes’

As consultant in Connolly Hospital, I would like to highlight the huge collective effort this week to keep the hospital functioning. Transport manager Michael Robanthe, along with his staff, has kept the hospital open, and on his own initiative he has been ferrying staff to and from their homes throughout the day and into the evening. All this has been done with great humour, and from a genuine spirit of service to patients and the community.

Michal Samulik: ‘At 8.30am the plumber was here’

Tim O’Reagan from Clonakilty is a local plumber and boiler technician. I called him on Wednesday night around 10pm, as my boiler wasn’t working. With two children at home, one only nine months, it was a serious situation. He promised he would be with me first thing in the morning, and at 8.30am he was here. Without the parts he needed, he did his best and got the boiler started. His was the only car on the road this morning. He didn’t only provide a service, he was on a mission. An excellent example of understanding your profession. He is a hero for me, no doubt.

Joe Martin: ‘The elderly and children were left standing for three hours in bitter conditions’

I was routed into Dublin Airport yesterday instead of Belfast, only to find most of the staff and management had more or less abandoned arriving passengers. It is outrageous that no form of transport was provided for arriving passengers into both terminals at Dublin Airport. The queues for taxis meant the elderly, parents with children in prams and others (obviously not equipped and clothed for such adverse weather) were left to stand for up to three hours outside the terminal buildings, waiting for the odd taxi to come along. We had to stand in bitter conditions outside Terminal 2 to queue because we weren’t allowed to queue inside, even though the terminal building was empty. When I eventually got a taxi, shared with others, the roads into Dublin city centre were very passable, but shuttle buses to the car parks were flying around the place empty - could they not have used one or two to get passengers into hotels and/or a bit nearer to home? Where was airport management when needed?

Clare Quinlan: ‘They arranged for the prescription to be collected’

My snow heroes are Sharen McCabe, director of McCabe's Pharmacy, and Dr Carol Moloney. I really needed to collect a prescription today, but all the pharmacies in my area were closed. I rang several pharmacies including the Mater Hospital. I had almost given up, but went on Twitter and saw that a selection of McCabe's pharmacies were open. Sharen McCabe gave me her number and email address, and arranged to speak to my doctor. Together they arranged for the prescription to be collected from the pharmacy in Glasnevin. Sharon called and emailed me with all the details to make sure I had everything I needed. Amazing service.

Dr Mark Ryan: ‘Staff got to work through thick and thin’

I want to give huge credit and thanks to the nursing, radiographer and NCHD staff of The Radiology Department in St James’ Hospital who got to work through thick and thin, and to many staff throughout the hospital in all departments who stayed overnight in the hospital, allowing for continuous and high level care to be delivered to some very ill patients. Unsung heroes all.