No Direction home: Niall stranded as storms force ferry cancellations
SEVERE storms left thousands struggling to get home for Christmas as ferries were cancelled when winds of up to 130kmh battered the country
Hundreds of passengers were facing anxious waits as operators worked late into the evening to find other sailings for travellers.
Gardai and travel organisations warned the latest winter storm will continue right through until 6pm today and will bring hail, sleet or snow to most areas of the country, with the West and north-west the worst affected.
Irish Ferries has cancelled their Jonathan Swift Dublin-Holyhead sailings.
The company was contacting all affected passengers who they hope can be accommodated on their two cruise ferry services which, by late last night, were still scheduled to operate.
The Rosslare-Pembroke service was also cancelled.
A spokesman said every effort was being made to ensure passengers get home for Christmas. Similar arrangements were being made by Stena Line which cancelled this morning's early sailings between Dublin and Holyhead as well as next Friday's Stena HSS sailing in each direction. Passengers are encouraged to check online for further information.
One Direction star Niall Horan, pictured, appeared to be among those whose travel plans were disrupted after he tweeted: "Well this is sh**! Looks like we ain't goin home for Xmas!"
Met Eireann forecaster Nuala Carey said: "It is another very stormy period with severe gusts.
"It will also be bitterly cold with snow in places early on Christmas Eve before the winds subside later in the night."
AA Roadwatch said a quarter of all motorists -- around 480,000 -- were planning a trip to another county over the festive period, with travel spokesman Conor Faughnan warning that some were ignoring safer driving advice.
"When there is heavy snow and ice, people can see it and mostly drive according to those conditions," he said.
"However when we have a storm like this, some motorists do not heed the warnings and it is every bit as dangerous and worse in these sorts of conditions."
ESB emergency crews will work through the festive season to restore power to homes cut off in the latest storm, with the latest outages last night affecting thousands of customers in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Cork and Kerry.