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Sunday 21 January 2018

Publican's terror when massive waves swept road out to sea

The scene as the road began to wash away
The scene as the road began to wash away
The scene after the road washed away

These pictures show the devastation caused by stormy conditions in Cork last night.

A nearby seafront pub had to close its doors to customers after waves crashed through a pier wall and a road collapsed into the sea.

The area around the Bulman pub in Kinsale was completely flooded after last night’s ferocious gusts and high tide battered the coastline.

‘‘When the wall was damaged, it gave us no line of defence from the tide. The huge waves were just rolling in,’’ pub owner Pearse O’Sullivan told Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1.

‘‘When the waves were really hitting they were coming up over the top of the roof. It was heavy tides,’’ he said. 

The road and wall in front of the building were completely demolished and debris began sweeping into the sea.

Luckily, flood defences installed earlier in the day stopped the water from flooding inside the bar.

‘‘We knew that there were high tides so we were kind of on our guard.

‘‘The storm started getting serious around seven o’clock…looking out the window I could see that the road was starting to crack a small bit,’’ he said.

Mr O’Sullivan and his barmen earlier went outside and barricaded both sides of the road to stop cars coming through.

‘‘Within an hour of that, the wall and the road had collapsed into the sea.

‘‘At least we stopped anyone from driving in there and ending up in the harbour,’’ he added.

The pub will remain closed until the road outside is fixed and made safe.

As the hide tide ensued, Mr O’Sullivan took pictures to document the flood damage and posted the dramatic images on Facebook.

‘‘In the interest of safety please not we are not open tonight as the pier wall has collapsed and the road is falling into the sea,’’ he wrote online.

The barman said the area in front of the pub is no longer accessible and cars will not be able to pass through.

‘‘The road is pretty much gone. You can walk it but it wouldn’t be the safest of circumstances,’’ he said.

The pub owner is currently using the back door to enter his pub.

‘‘Luckily we didn’t have any damage on the inside because we did get flooded about four years ago,’’ he explained. 

The pub used sandbags and a €200 non-returnable valve, a pump to prevent the water flow, to combat the flooding.

‘‘The valve pushes everything out but when a tidal surge attempts to push back in it locks itself,’’ he said.

Last night’s storm brought torrential rains, gale force winds and wrought havoc for coastal communities in the South East.

‘‘In a location like Kinsale, everyone protects their business and house because they’re well used to it.

‘‘It can be a yearly event so we have to try and fight it,’’ he said.

Aishling Phelan

Online Editors

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