Biblical Beara flooding rips up fences and roads

October 22nd, 2019 11:55 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Mary Hurley near her gate showing the damage in Clountreem. (Photo: Anne Marie Cronin)

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PEOPLE living on both sides of Maulin, a mountain in Beara, saw a river hallowed out, trees ripped up from the roots, roads washed away, and a bridge almost destroyed by a flash flood on Monday morning.

Local Anne Marie Cronin said four home owners on the Clountreen side of Maulin – which is about a mile and a half outside Castletownbere – couldn’t believe the level of destruction caused by the torrential downpour.

She said her father Patrick Hurley – a 79-year-old farmer who has been living at Clountreen all his life – ‘had never before’ seen anything like it.

‘It was like something you would see in a movie,’ she said. ‘My father said he could hear the boulders grinding in the water. He could hear them twirling as they were being swished down the river by the force of the water.’

In most places throughout Cork County, it had rained for much of the night, but Maulin – like all mountains – had an effect on the rain clouds and the deluge there was worse.

The downpour from 7am to 8.30am hit both sides of Maulin: Clountreen and Kilmackowen in Eyeries, while the nearby Cascades at the Anam Cara Artist’s and Writer’s Retreat were at their zenith.

The rivers couldn’t cope with the flood and banks were broken. Trees were knocked on both sides of Maulin, but it was the sight of the water rising 6ft or more to cover the eye of the bridge at Kilmackowen that shocked locals most. 

Local man, Fergus O’Neill described how the Kealincha River rose up over the bridge at such speed that it took the ditches at both sides of the river. 

‘I saw with my own eyes the level of the river rise by three metres within ten minutes and the force of the flash flood knock the 3ft walls of the bridge.’

Cork County Council responded quickly to locals’ calls for assistance and, in addition to cordoning off the worst of the damage, the local authority workers have begun to fill and repair the gouges that have appeared in some of the rural roads.

Anne Marie told The Southern Star said: ‘I came home on Monday night from a holiday in Lanzarote to find part of the road near my parents’ house had been ripped up by the force of the water.

‘It ripped fencing posts off the rivers; it knocked trees; cleared hedgerows; and gouged out the roads and the rivers. The volume of water and the speed at which it came up was biblical.’


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