Monday 19 March 2018

'Two trees landed on the house trapping me inside' - mum's lucky escape as Storm Eleanor destroys her home

Mary Dardis has been left homeless after her cottage was destroyed by Storm Eleanor
Mary Dardis has been left homeless after her cottage was destroyed by Storm Eleanor

Louise Walsh

A Co Meath mum had a lucky escape when two trees came crashing through her home during storm Eleanor.

Mary Dardis has been left homeless after her cottage was destroyed by the fallen trees which also badly damaged her parked car.

The Navan resident was watching TV in her sitting-room when the wrath of storm Eleanor struck her Gate Lodge cottage in Old Johnstown at around 7.45pm last Tuesday.

"I heard an almighty bang and a huge crack," she said.

"I ran into my room and lay at the side of my bed for about 20 minutes before I mustered up the courage to go back to the lounge and get my phone to ring my family.

"Two trees had landed on my house from either side blocking the front and back doors so I was locked inside.

"I could see the ceiling bulging from the weight of the trees but thankfully my landlord and my ex-husband Michael rushed to my rescue and removed the tree parts from the front door so I could get out.

"The trees were enormous and the weighty boughs and branches also slammed into my car outside.  It's gone to the garage so I'm not sure the extent of the damage there yet."

Mary spent the night with her daughter Melissa before returning to the house the following day to view the damage, which got even worse when the roof collapsed on Thursday night due to the weight of the trees.

"I was devastated. Most of my home is destroyed as well as a lot of my belongings, including very sentimental items.

However, although very shaken from the incident, Mary remains positive and realises that things could have been much worse.

"I'm heartbroken to see my home gone but it could've been worse.  I wasn't injured at all thankfully.

"The insurance will sort things and the car can be fixed.  Thank God, no-one was killed.

"I'm traumatised from it but I'm ok and my family have been fantastic.  I've been staying with my daughter Melissa and my son Colum hasn't left my house since it happened.  He's been up there all the time trying to do what he can on site.

"I'm so grateful to my family and friends.

"Everyone was told to batten down the hatches for Storm Ophelia and no-one really said anything about Storm Eleanor, which I thought was much worse."

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