An area off the west coast Ireland is hit by a magnitude four earthquake.

Hundreds of people across counties Mayo, Sligo and Galway experienced strong tremors in their homes and workplaces when a magnitude four earthquake was recorded off the west coast of Ireland, just 60km west of Belmullet in County Mayo.

The shock waves from the earthquake, which registered a magnitude of four on the Richter scale reverberated around the entire county of Mayo. According to lighthouse keeper at Black Sod Point, Vincent Sweeney,

The whole front door was vibrating and then I knew straight away that this was a tremor.

North Mayo resident Pap Murphy describes his experience of the earthquake.

The unearthly silence was unreal, no bird sounds, nothing, it was an eerie feeling, as if the end of the world had come and all life had ceased.

There has never been an earthquake of such magnitude recorded in this region before and it was the second-largest local earthquake on record. The largest, a 5.4 magnitude occurred in 1984 off the west coast of Wales and was felt in Waterford and Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland.

There were no reports of structural damage to houses in Mayo and there were no injuries. Dr Kieran Hickey from the Geography Department at the National University of Ireland, Galway says while the earthquake took place offshore, if a tsunami occurs it will be no more than a couple of centimetres in size.

So we’ve nothing to worry about on that front.

While shock waves may occur, they will not be strong enough to be felt on land.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 6 June 2012. The reporter is Teresa Mannion.