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Brutal storms as New Year dawns
A train in Munster ploughing its way through the waters, after the entire country is hit with brutal storms. Photo: Irish Life, Vol 15, 7 January 1915. Full collection available at National Library of Ireland.

Brutal storms as New Year dawns

Ireland, 2 January 1915 - Another vicious storm swept Ireland as the New Year dawned with winds so high they reached almost cyclonic force.

The severe gale drove a deluge of rain and a thunderstorm of unique fierceness for the middle of winter. Telephone poles were pulled from the ground and there were numerous accidents on land and sea.

At least one person died in Dublin as a motor ambulance rushing along Leeson Street to an accident crushed a messenger boy at the height of the storm.

All shipping ceased and the sea walls along Dublin Bay were repeatedly breached.

Devastating floods
Great stretches of the countryside along the rivers Shannon, Barrow and others are flooded, with villages and farmhouses now entirely isolated. Official measurements show that the River Shannon is now 12 feet above its usual height.

Hay and turf have been carried away by the floods and potatoes and turnips not yet taken from the ground have been completely submerged. The roofs of houses and sheds have been ripped from the walls.

The whole countryside between Shannonbridge and Meelick – extending as far south as Portumna – resembles a vast sea. So bad are the floods around Killeshandra that six families are completely surrounded by water and it is only with the aid of boats that they can leave their houses.

The situation has forced Local Government Board officials to turn once again to the idea of a Shannon Drainage Scheme which was dropped at the outbreak of war.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.