Torrential rain causes a bridge in Leenane, Galway to collapse, dividing the village and creating major traffic diversions.
After 182 years, the stone-arched bridge over the Lahill River in Leenane, County Galway came to an abrupt end. After three hours of torrential rain the river swollen by mud from a nearby landslide swept the bridge away at around 5 pm, leaving the village of Leenane isolated from neighbouring County Mayo. No-one was injured in the incident.
According to eyewitness Jean Barnacle,
It just happened in a matter of seconds.
Leenane is best known as the setting for in Jim Sheridan's 1990 film of John B Keane's play 'The Field'. The bridge links the village to the N59 route between Clifden and Westport. But with this vital bridge on the route now gone, Leenane locals are worried about the impact it will have on tourism. Michael O'Toole of the Connemara Sheep and Wool Centre in Leenane fears the worst,
The effect when the bridge is down is going to be enormous.
By 8 pm Galway County Council had blocked off the remains of the bridge. Traffic diversions put in place will add up to 80 kilometres to some journeys.
Locals are concerned at how long it will take to put a new bridge in place. This cannot be estimated until the water recedes and the full extent of the damage can be assessed.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 July 2007. The reporter is Rónán Mac Con Iomaire.