HUNDREDS of people are counting their lucky stars after narrowly escaping serious injury or death in the vicious storm.
Among the many victims of Storm Darwin was celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, whose critically acclaimed Dunbrody Country House Hotel avoided ruin after almost 20 trees fell across the grounds of the property.
The Dundon family and staff at the hotel were shocked on Wednesday when they discovered that the ancient tree that stood proudly in front of the property was brought crashing down by gale-force winds.
"We were very fortunate that it fell the way it did, because it's very high and would have hit the hotel," Dundon explained.
Lunchtime diners in the popular O'Donnell's bar in Tralee, Co Kerry, were shocked when a tree came crashing though the roof of the pub shortly after 12pm Wednesday afternoon.
"There were about 40 customers inside, but it fell on top of the party room, which was thankfully closed.
"There were two cars parked a metre or two away from it, it was a lucky escape," said bar manager Miguel Barrero.
It wasn't such a lucky escape for Tony Lyons's car, as it was crushed under a tree in Cork city. The owner of the popular Fernroyd House said he feels blessed to be alive, as the simple decision of walking on the other side of the road narrowly saved his life.
"I was in town doing an errand for my mam, and I had my daughter's car parked over in Pope's Quay.
"I was walking back towards the car and I walked on the side where the buildings are because I was afraid the slates would fall down.
"Next thing, I looked behind me, and this big bloody tree was crashing down," Mr Lyons said. Fortunately he escaped injury.
But his daughter's Toyota Yaris was completely ruined when the huge tree struck it down the centre of the roof and Mr Lyons said it was "squashed like a tin of peas".
Staff at The Creamery restaurant in Bunratty, Co Clare, also had a miraculous escape on Wednesday when a massive 150-year-old tree crushed their cars just as they were about to move them.