Power cuts and road chaos as Barney brings 130kmh winds to country
Tens of thousands of people were without power last night as the country was hit by 125kmh winds from Storm Barney.
The second named storm of the autumn also caused havoc with transport, as flights were diverted or cancelled and many roads blocked by trees or flood waters. Munster and Leinster were worst hit as Orange Alert gale-force winds picked up in the afternoon and battered coastal communities into the evening.
At one stage 45,000 homes and businesses lost power, with the worst affected in Portlaoise, Kilkenny, Ennis, Athlone, Naas, Celbridge, Wicklow, north Wexford, Tullamore and Mullingar.
By last night, ESB Networks said it had restored power to 20,000 customers - however the remaining 25,000 customers may not have their electricity restored until later this afternoon. The damage was mainly due to trees falling on power lines.
Gardaí issued a traffic alert to motorists and released a video taken on board a garda car last week showing a large branch smashing into the vehicle.
Fallen trees and ESB poles blocked roads in Dublin. Dawson Street was closed over fears about scaffolding there and Herbert Park was closed to the public.
There were also fallen trees in Killiney and DART services to Greystones were suspended due to a fallen power line.
Motorists were warned of more than a dozen trees down on various routes around Co oWicklow.
There were traffic tail-backs of up to 2km on the Fermoy-Mallow road in north Cork after it was partially blocked by fallen trees. Gardai also issued warnings to pedestrians in Cork and Fermoy after slates were blown off some premises by the violent winds. Temporary route closures were enforced as a safety precaution until the winds died down.
Fourteen flights were cancelled at Cork Airport as a precautionary measure given safety concerns over the damaging gusts.
A yellow alert was in place for Cork and the council specifically appealed to people to stay away from rivers, streams and exposed coastal areas given predictions that gusts could reach Storm Force 10.
Cork also had a number of fallen trees, with the worst disruption caused by a tree which partially blocked the Centre Park Road in the city.
Gardai urged road users in Clare, Kerry and Limerick to exercise extreme care.
A Ryanair flight from Gatwick to Shannon abandoned two attempts to land due to wind gusts of 128kmh. Passengers were taken instead to Liverpool.
Drivers of high-sided vehicles were urged to travel with care or, if possible, to postpone journeys until the worst of the storm had passed over.
Shannon Ferries, which operate between Killimer in Co Clare and Tarbert in Co Kerry, suspended sailings as a result of the winds.
Fallen power lines and storm debris caused problems across Galway roads with the Threadneedle Road in the city closed due to fallen power lines, which also left 50 homes in Taylor's Hill without power.
Driving conditions across the county were treacherous, with motorists warned not to make any unnecessary trips.
As the storm caused waves to lash over the prom in Salthill, motorists parked along the prom and in Toft carpark were advised to move their vehicles. Galway City Council also closed its civic amenity facility at Liosban due to high winds.
Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal were hit by a fifth day of heavy rain, sending flood waters on to many roads and causing havoc for farmers whose livestock was stranded by rising waters.
Home owners and businesses are bracing themselves for more rain and gales due later today.