A shocked motorist admitted it is a miracle she escaped serious injury after a disorientated swan flew straight through her windscreen on the busy Cork-Limerick road.
Mary Murphy admitted she was left terrified after the swan, believed to be sick or disorientated, flew so low over the busy road that it ended up smashing directly into her windscreen.
The impact, which occurred as Mary was driving from Mallow to Cork at 12 noon yesterday, was similar to a missile hitting the small Suzuki car.
The swan was killed instantly but the force of the impact drove the bird through the windscreen, knocking off Mary's rear view mirror with the animal left lying wedged on top of the steering column.
Astonishingly, Mary was left uninjured by the impact.
The skilled driver kept her cool while in the overtaking lane on the busy motorway and managed to indicate onto the hard shoulder and bring her Suzuki SX4 to a safe stop, avoiding other cars on the road.
Mary released photos of her incredible escape to Cork radio station, RedFM.
"I am still shaking over what happened," Mary said.
"There was no warning at all. The swan just hit the windscreen. It was like a bomb going off.
"Thankfully, I didn't brake hard because if I had I definitely would have been hit from behind by other cars on the road."
After bringing her car to a stop, with the dead swan wedged through the windscreen, Mary was helped by passing motorist, Alan Burke, who saw what had happened.
Gardai and vehicle recovery experts were on the scene within minutes.
"The man who towed the car away for repairs said he has been in the business for years and it was the first time he had ever heard of a swan hitting a car," Mary said.
The accident occurred between the Blarney and Killeens junctions on the Cork-Limerick road.
There are a number of rivers and lakes nearby which boast large swan populations.