Picking up the pieces as Storm Ali brings devastation to Ploughing site
Amid the still-howling winds and furiously flapping canvas, some of the exhibitors who had waited in their cars for hours were finally allowed to go in and survey the wreckage.
It was considerable - and it was heartbreaking.
The Ploughing was something they had relied on. The crushed marquees and scattered debris were all that remained of a crucial cornerstone of their financial year.
The patrons had long deserted, having first been delayed until 11am, then noon before being told it was cancelled, forcing them to endure a long stream of traffic out of the place again.
"They should have cancelled it last night," said John Nestor, who faced a two-hour journey back to Athlacca, Limerick.
Back on site, danger lurked. At one stand, a set of glass windows had completely caved in, shattering shards very close to a pen filled with sheep.
"I had a sleepless night thinking of the poor animals," said one volunteer. "Everything else can be fixed."
Inside the large, deserted marquee of the Department of Community and Rural Development, leaflets advertising Heritage Week were scattered on the floor, along with broken glass. The only spot where serenity reigned was - oddly enough - the actual ploughing competitions, which were still under way regardless.