Lucky escape for family after tornado damages homes in Galway

Tree crashed through roof of mobile home

An east Galway family yesterday spoke of their relief at escaping unhurt after a tree crashed through the mobile home where they are living temporarily.

Noel and Mary Kelly escaped unhurt with their four children when a mini tornado struck the community of Clonfert, Co Galway on Wednesday evening.

“We were having our dinner,” said Mr Kelly. “At the time I had no idea the wind was as bad as it was and then the tree came down. We heard the awful bang and then the noise.

“The child was in the playpen right next to it. There were bits of the tree inside and you could see through the roof. He could have been killed,” said Mr Kelly, of one-year old son Adam. The family are living in the mobile home while their house is being extended.


Farmers and other householders were counting the cost of the mini tornado that left a trail of destruction after it came in off the river Shannon at about 6.30am.

Thousands of euro
It quickly travelled up through a bog before hitting houses and farm buildings in Clonfert and spinning away towards south Co Roscommon where it faded.

Eyewitnesses said the storm lasted just two or three minutes but caused thousands of euro worth of damage.

About 700 houses lost electricity in the storm and ESB crews were busy yesterday restoring power to the last remaining houses.

Considerable damage was caused to the historic graveyard beside Clonfert Cathedral.

Brendan Coughlan, a farmer from Clonfert, whose house was damaged when a tree fell on it, said relief that nobody was killed or injured was the overriding emotion.

His two sons, Brendan (16) and Jack (8) were caught in the storm, but the older brother got the younger boy to lie on the ground. “It was a huge mass of black cloud and rain carrying debris with it up into the sky,” said Mr Coughlan.

“It came down through the fields. It came down by a neighbour’s house and hit our house, smack on.

“Debris was flying everywhere, sheets of galvanise, roofs, bits of trees and branches, and feeding troughs. Anything that could move was thrown up in the air,” he said.