Irish year ends in big freeze
The drop in temperature in recent days has brought freezing conditions to Dublin. Photo: National Library of Ireland, LROY 03451

Irish year ends in big freeze

Published: 30 December 1913

The year looks set to close with the country in the grip of a deep freeze.

In Dublin on Sunday night, temperatures fell below freezing point, and snowfall of between two to four inches has been recorded in some areas. Around the city, there has been no snow, but the streets still bear a white frost-coated appearance. Ponds are frozen and in the Phoenix Park, the more adventurous visitors took to sliding and skating on the surface.

The very conditions that have made the ponds suitable for such recreation have also made the footpaths perilous for pedestrians and there have been many reports of falls.

If conditions are difficult for vehicles and pedestrians, they are most hazardous for the poor and vulnerable. Indeed, The Freemans Journal has expressed the wish that the severe weather pass as soon as possible ‘for at present there is such a large number of people unemployed, many whom are but poorly housed and poorly clad.’

A view of a picturesque, snow-covered, Phoenix Park following in the early 1900s. The recent cold spell has seen the ponds in the park freeze once again, allowing some adventurous vistors to slide and skate on the water's frozen surface. (Photo: National Library of Ireland, LROY 034)

The cold weather has done little to encourage outdoor pursuits, but theatres and music halls have benefited. Escape is also to be found in the picture houses, of which there are no shortage in the city and suburbs: it has been reported that patrons have been able indulge in the sun-kissed fantasy of life on-screen, which stands in stark contrast to the wintry conditions outside.

Proprietors of indoor entertainments are not alone in benefiting from the current cold period. It has also been reported that Salmon exporters in the Shannon region have begun storing ice which will ensure a saving of costly imports from Norway, while also providing much needed local employment.

Ireland is one of many countries currently enduring extreme conditions. The entire continent is afflicted and in Berlin and Paris, heavy snowstorms have been compounded by exceedingly high tides which have led to considerable flooding. In Russia, fourteen people are reported to have frozen to death and many more are missing in the severe weather conditions.

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