16 October 2017

Ophelia moves on with little
trace of damage in Askeaton

The River Deel is at a high point in Askeaton, Co Limerick, this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

Although Storm Ophelia has swept up the coast of Ireland from Dingle to Donegal, calm appears to have descended on this part of Co Limerick.

Despite reports of damage and destruction have come in the wake of the worst storm to hit Ireland since 1961, Askeaton seems to have escaped the havoc wreaked by the hurricane.

With the high winds that have raged throughout the day, I had remained indoors until the strong winds had abated.

After the worst of the storm had passed, and winds had calmed down, I ventured out with a sense of caution and trepidation this evening for a short walk.

I wanted to check that everything was safe around the Rectory and the Rectory grounds, and to see that all was safe at the church, including the roof, the windows, the bell and the tower.

The River Deel below the bridge and the castle in Askeaton this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Askeaton is eerily calm this evening. There have been no buses between here and Limerick throughout the day, there is little traffic, leaves have piled up on the footpaths, and a few signs have blown down. Most shops, supermarkets and pubs, as well as the schools have remained closed, and only one or two are opening at this late stage.

I could find nowhere to buy The Irish Times or The Guardian, and the cancellation of postal deliveries means The Economist has not arrived yet either.

Two engagements I had in Rathkeale this morning were cancelled yesterday and the school remains closed again tomorrow. Parishioners have been generous and gentle calling to know how I am faring alone.

The River Deel is at a high level this evening, swirling around the castle ruins and reaching a high point along the quays below the bridge.

Two short, and very brief power outages have left me fumbling about trying to reset radios, clocks, the cooker and the printer/photocopier. I have three more meetings in the rectory during the coming week, and I can be thankful that Storm Ophelia has passed, leaving little damage to life in Askeaton.

News reports are concentrating on the three accidental deaths today, the power cuts and the impact of the storm on business and working life. But I am left wondering this evening how homeless people on the streets of our towns and cities have been cared for throughout the day, and how they are going to fare tonight.

Bare trees in the rectory gardens in Askeaton this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

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