Friday 30 September 2016

Giantkiller - Gertrude levels 200-year-old trees in 130kmh winds

Ralph Riegel and Caroline Crawford

Published 30/01/2016 | 02:30

The famous ‘Dark Hedges’, which featured in ‘Game of Thrones’ suffered damage during Storm Gertrude, as two of the giant beech trees were uprooted. Photo: PA
The famous ‘Dark Hedges’, which featured in ‘Game of Thrones’ suffered damage during Storm Gertrude, as two of the giant beech trees were uprooted. Photo: PA
The ‘Dark Hedges’, featured in ‘Game of Thrones
Farmers work to clear two 200-year-old beech trees that were uprooted and toppled over by the near hurricane force winds of Storm Gertrude. Photo credit: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

Thousands of properties were left without power, travel was disrupted and even large trees felled as Storm Gertrude swept across Ireland.

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Winds gusted up to 130kmh as the north and north-west bore the brunt of the storm.

The famous Dark Hedges, outside Armoy, Co Antrim - made iconic through their use as a key scene location in the 'Game of Thrones' TV series - also suffered serious damage.

Two of the 200-year-old giant beech trees were uprooted and thrown onto the roadway.

Already one of the most photographed natural landmarks on the island, the tourist attraction recently achieved global prominence after it appeared on the hit HBO series.

Meanwhile, in Donegal and Derry, the Blaney and Foyle bridges had to be closed for several hours amid public safety concerns over the near hurricane-force winds.

Power

ESB estimated a total of 10,000 homes and businesses lost power, with 92 faults in the north-west alone, and 20,000 across the island.

In the North, one area reported 170 power line faults.

The bulk of the ESB power outages were in Donegal, Cavan and Mayo, with other isolated pockets in Wicklow and Galway as the storm swept over Ireland from Thursday night.

Munster, which had been expected to be severely hit by the storm, escaped major damage with just 300 power outages in Cork, most in the north Cork area.

ESB crews worked round the clock and all properties were reconnected by lunchtime.

Met Éireann's forecaster David Rogers said householders would enjoy some relief from extreme weather over the next 48 hours.

"The amounts of rain that will fall over the next few days are certainly not exceptional. Nothing like the rain that fell in December. [But] it will remain very changeable and unsettled for the next few days and into next week," he added.

However, Met Éireann warned that temperatures would drop today, with sleet or even snow in some areas.

Coastal areas may also face the prospect of further stormy winds tomorrow and into Monday.

Airports and ports worked overtime yesterday afternoon to clear backlogs linked to the disruption.

Aer Lingus Regional/Stobart Air was forced to cancel 16 flights from Cork, Dublin and Kerry airports due to strong wind gusts.

The highest wind speed recorded was at Malin Head, where gusts reached 50 knots.

Irish Ferries was also forced to cancel its 8.45am and 2.30pm Swift sailings yesterday from Dublin to Holyhead.

Irish Independent

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