WHAT started out as a pleasant bank holiday weekend in West Cork, turned into a nightmare for Mandy Collins from Myrtleville, whose campervan was attacked and her windscreen shattered on Saturday night.
Mandy and her dog Orla had been enjoying the glorious weather on Saturday afternoon as she parked at a lay-by between Long Strand and Owenahincha to watch the stunning sunset across Rosscarbery Bay.
‘It was a fabulous day and I parked up in the lay-by at around 9.30pm to watch and enjoy the sunset and watch the birds flying over the water,’ Mandy told The Southern Star.
‘It’s a small campervan and I had the place to myself. I went to bed early that night and I was looking forward to waking up in the morning to enjoy the beauty of coastal West Cork,’ she added.
However, Mandy was woken up at around 1.30am by a loud banging noise and the sound of a car engine.
Despite this disruption, she went back to sleep, only to be woken up again an hour later by the sound of a car approaching, and Orla’s growling.
‘Orla sleeps in the front seat of my campervan so she heard the car approaching and alerted me with her growling. The next thing I knew, there was a huge bang and the noise of the windscreen shattering and then the car drove off.’
Once Mandy knew the perpetrators had left, she stepped outside to find out what was used to shatter her windscreen. She was very surprised to see that the vandals had used a mini–evergreen plant to smash the glass, with the remains of the plastic plant pot on the road.
‘I was able to drive despite the smashed windscreen and I went straight to the gardaí in Clonakilty where they took a statement and photographed the windscreen,’ she recalled.
‘They suggested I should park up my van in Inchydoney but I just wanted to get home as I certainly felt intimidated by the bullies who did this,’ explained Mandy.
Mandy had never parked her Dahaitsu Hijet in that lay-by before and she said she would be very wary of doing so again.
‘It’s not a nice feeling to be at the receiving end of this. It ruined the rest of the weekend. It’s certainly not the image of West Cork that we want portrayed and especially with tourists visiting the area in their campervans.’
Mandy hasn’t got around yet to getting the windscreen replaced but she is hopeful her insurance will cover the damage.
Gardaí in Clonakilty are currently investigating the incident and are appealing to anyone with information to contact the station on 023-8821570.