Monday 14 October 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'There was nobody as excited about the prospect of a storm than poor Eoghan Murphy'

Waves crash on the seafront at Lahinch, Co Clare. Picture: PA
Waves crash on the seafront at Lahinch, Co Clare. Picture: PA
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

We acted all responsible about it on the surface - all concerned faces. But secretly inside, we were thinking, 'Nothing wrong with a bit of a storm, once nobody gets hurt.'

The Irish Times even ran a feature on their website: 'Five notable Irish storms in recent years.' We were having storm nostalgia. It's a wonder RTE didn't cobble together a Reeling in the Gales with images of nutters jumping in the sea at Salthill, Galway (it's always Salthill for some reason) set to popular tunes of the day. It would have been a ratings winner. Because deep down, we love an auld storm.

A storm, we were thinking, could be just the kind of thing to bring us together in these fractious times. A storm, unlike, say, Brexit, is a news story that we can all understand and that everyone can get on board with. And it's something we would all agree on. We could agree that the storm was a bad thing, but we could also enjoy the sense of community, the calling in to annoy elderly neighbours to make ourselves feel better, and the holing up in the house for a day or two watching Ciaran Mullooly and the gang bringing us storm reports from wetter places than our living room, while we sat eating Tayto sandwiches on white sliced pan, of which we have four loaves, just in case.

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But there was nobody as excited about the prospect of a storm than poor Eoghan Murphy. The last time Eoghan was able to show his face in public, without getting it eaten off him over homelessness, was the last storm.

And he seemed buzzed up about this one, enjoying being a man of action, and telling people what they needed to do in his authoritative voice. He was rejuvenated by his role as trusty sidekick to Evelyn Cusack. This was a guy who was dying to get the high-viz on and hang out with the emergency guys.

And obviously there was a slight sense of anti-cyclone anti-climax when the storm wasn't up to much. (Note to weather enthusiasts: Don't write in. I know that a storm is not an anti-cyclone. I was just shoehorning it in for some bad wordplay).

You could tell they were losing confidence in Lorenzo by the Six One News last Thursday. Ciaran Mullooly and the gang were talking about a waiting game, maybe hoping they'd have a bit more drama by nine o'clock. And there was a bit of a shortage of footage of angry waves crashing over piers and seafronts.

By nine there was a sense of relief in the air, but warnings of caution still. By the following morning, it was clear that, apart from flooding in Donegal, it was over and no one was hurt. And we all knew this was a good thing, and we got lucky. But still, we couldn't hide a slight disappointment.

As we secretly wished for a big snow this winter.

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