Families evacuated as Storm Brigid wreaks havoc around country
Families had to be rescued from their homes as the country was hit with gale force winds, heavy rain and serious flooding in several parts.
Limerick was among the areas worst hit. Emergency services worked flat out in a number of housing estates where people were left trapped in their homes.
Half a dozen boats were used to rescue several elderly people from the city's Lee housing estate. Fire crews were also involved in a major operation. Ambulances were on standby.
A distressed Ann Pickford and her daughter Audrey Considine (pictured) had to be rescued from their flooded home on Athlunkard Street, Limerick where the Abbey river, a smaller river off the Shannon, burst its banks.
Resident Sean Curtin, who lives on Nicholas Street, said the flooding had caused up to four feet of damage to people homes with Limerick Fire and Rescue forced to evacuate some elderly residents from Athlunkard Street, St Mary’s Park and Lee Estate.
Some residents managed to wade through the water.
In the neighbouring Lahinch area giant waves washed over three storey guest houses on the seafront and huge boulders were swept away into a car park.
With winds gusting at up to 120km/h, (75 mph) Met Eireann issued a status orange weather warning for Munster, Leinster, Connacht and parts of Ulster. At one stage more than 5,500 properties were without power, 4000 of them in Ennis, Co Clare.
Houses near Castlegregory, Co Kerry were cut off when rocks, boulders and other debris blocked the only access road to the Kilshannig area.
Parts of Galway city and Tralee, Co Kerry were also flooded and emergency crews helped provide sandbags and in Cork city, a stretch of the River Lee overflowed its banks.
AA Roadwatch warned drivers to be careful because of the worsening weather and several flights from Dublin Airport to Britain, Paris and Madrid had to be cancelled.
In Galway, flooding is affecting areas including the Spanish Arch, Claddagh Quay and along the promenade in Salthill.
Met Eireann as also warned of hurricane gusts in parts of the country including the west and south west coasts.
There were also dustings of snow in some areas overnight as well as frost and sleet.
Aer Lingus cancelled 16 flights scheduled to fly from Dublin airport this morning as many areas were put on high alert for severe flooding.
Met Eireann warned that the winds, along with lower than normal pressure, and high tides would combine to put Atlantic coasts under threat of flooding.
The warning came as Storm Brigid, which has caused gales and a relentless deluge of rain in parts of the UK, tracked close to the north of Ireland today. It was expected to move out over the North Sea this evening, but the danger of high tides will continue tomorrow.
Met Eireann's Jean Byrne said it would be stormy in many parts of the country today. The flooding risk is high along exposed southern and western coasts.
"There will be strong to gale-force winds over-land, with severe gusts, particularly across parts of Munster, south Leinster and Connacht. But as well as that, you have got extremely high seas at the moment and spring tides. So the strong winds, the extremely low pressure, and the very high seas bring a high risk of coastal flooding," she said.
Last night, Aer Lingus announced the cancellation of 16 flights, including the 6.25am flights from Dublin to Madrid and the 6.30am flight to Manchester.
Additional early morning flights to Birmingham (6.40am), Newcastle (6.50am), Frankfurt (7am), Alicante (7.10am), Copenhagen (7.20am), Cardiff (8.15am), Isle of Man (8.55am) have also been cancelled. Seven additional flights later this morning have also been cancelled – Paris (9.55am), Aberdeen (9.55am), Manchester (9.55am), Glasgow (10am), Birmingham (10am), Kerry (11.10am) and Bristol (11.25am).
The airline blamed adverse weather conditions and is asking customers to contact the airline to reschedule their flight. Passengers are advised to rebook via the website or by calling 0818 365000.
Some ferry sailings have also been cancelled and travellers are advised to check in with airlines and ferry operators before departure.
Ferries from Dublin to Holyhead are operating but those from Rosslare have been cancelled - the next one to Pembroke is at 8.45am tomorrow (Sunday).
Additional Reporting by Press Association; Video Credit: Sean Curtin Photo/www.seancurtinphoto.ie/@seancurtinphoto