No relief as worst-hit areas to see another 48 hours of rain
FLOOD-ravaged counties are facing another 48 hours of heavy rain, forecasters have warned, as emergency crews continue to battle with the elements across the country.
Limerick, Clare, Cork, Waterford and Kerry suffered the worst damage with new records set for both rainfall and floods.
Cork traders were facing into their third flood clean-up in just four weeks after the River Lee broke its banks.
Met Eireann warned that dry weather across most of the country today will be displaced this afternoon by a new storm driven by gale-force winds, heavy rain and new high tides.
A tidal surge warning – with five-metre swells – has been issued for Cork this evening, adding to the destruction caused in the city yesterday.
The scale of the flooding was the worst experienced in the city since the disastrous floods in 2009, with Oliver Plunkett Street in the city centre left under almost two feet of water.
Claire Nash of Nash 19 bistro said: "A few of my neighbours were badly hit. I was lucky in that I had a flood gate, and measures that we put in place after 2009 helped protect the premises. But we are still mopping out this morning," she said.
Among the worst-hit shops were John Joyce's leisure outlet, Ruiseal's Bookshop and Finbarr Cotter's Newbridge Silverware.
Former All-Ireland winner Gerald McCarthy saw a single concrete step save his trophy shop from major damage. "I was lucky but some of my neighbours on Oliver Plunkett Street, Princes Street and Cook Street weren't so fortunate," he said.
Flooding was also reported in Bandon, Skibbereen, Mallow and Carrigaline as the county endured torrential rainfall for over 12 hours.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan and OPW Minister Brian Hayes travelled to Limerick to see the devastation caused by weekend floods.
They met residents of St Mary's Park, which remained under water last night amid fears for tonight and tomorrow.
While the water level dropped a few feet, homes and cars were still submerged.
In Oliver Plunkett Street, tears welled up in Mary Hogan's eyes as she looked out on the river that used to be her front garden.
Pointing to a settee in her swamped living room, the mother of two said: "That couch, I got it just before Christmas, the water is up over the seats of it. You can see the water marks. The water is dripping off of it. The dirt is all up my walls." The house is just one of hundreds ruined after the River Shannon burst its banks and swamped houses on the King's Island area.
St Munchin's Family Resource Centre, Killeely, is providing the flood victims with free food.
Meanwhile, severe flooding also hit Waterford where some parts of the city centre were impassable and several city quay car parks were left underwater as the Suir broke its banks during the storm surge.
Flooding almost cut off the Kilmeaden to Carrick-on-Suir road while Tramore was left counting the cost of further storm damage as the promenade was again left under water.
Just three weeks ago, Tramore's Strand Road suffered major damage when storms breached sea walls and created a giant sink-hole in the roadway, forcing emergency Waterford County Council repairs.
In Passage East, almost 20 homes were flooded in the first such incident in over 70 years.
And a flood alert was issued in Athlone last night, amid fears that houses in low-lying areas could be hit later this week.
Elsewhere, Anna Horgan, her husband Tony and her son John have been stranded in their home in Ferry Bridge in Kerry since the weekend after the River Cashen burst its banks.
"I've lived here 30 years and I've never seen the like of it. It's frightening and the water came right up to near our house," Mrs Horgan said.
Houses in Kerry escaped the worst of the damage but a warehouse on the Monavelley industrial estate in Tralee was flooded and the force of the water damaged a boundary wall.
Roads were also flooded in the Killarney and Killorglin areas and in Ardfert.