Saturday 15 December 2018

Town grinds to halt with snow and storm

Hundreds of people volunteered and helped neighbours

Power City staff clearing the car park at Pinewood Close
Power City staff clearing the car park at Pinewood Close
Emer O'Byrne, a victim of a snowball outside her own front door in Belmont
Edward McCann on Wolfetone Square
A snow plough at work on the seafront
Rough seas at the height of Storm Emma

Mary Fogarty

The outdoor staff of Bray Municipal District did trojan work making many of the town's roads safer over the past week, while countless members of the public took up shovels to dig away at paths and driveways.

Random acts of kindness characterised the 'Big Snow' of 2018. Random acts of kindness, and bread. It's been eight years in the making, and some couldn't quite believe it was really happening, until they abandoned their cars on Killarney Road on Tuesday night in the first flurry. The panic-buying had set in that day. By close of business there wasn't a sliced pan to be got in the town. By Sunday, there wasn't a drop of milk either, or any fresh meat or veg.

In Bray, snow continued in to Wednesday, and while it stopped for a while on Thursday, everywhere was frozen solid.

A red alert kept everyone at home, or in the Harbour Bar, on Thursday night, with another big fall on Friday. Storm Emma and the Beast of the East had a right hoolie. Sea waters came right on to the promenade - the flood leaving behind stones and an array of sea creatures.

While Bray escaped the metre-high drifts of the uplands, things ground to a suitable halt nonetheless. Snowpeople and igloos quickly appeared, and anyone who could found a hill to slide down.

The worst affected by cabin fever amused themselves on Bray Open Forum with a trip down memory lane. A simple question posted on the Facebook group 'does anyone know if Quinsworth is open today', has had 1,000 responses. They range from 'I think Gubay's is open later', to Lapello's - Bray's first and only lap dancing emporium. These businesses, of course, no longer exist, and the thread baffled those new to the area or born after 1990.

On Friday afternoon, the queues for shops like the Centras on Boghall Road and Vevay Road were literally out the door, with little more than Doritos on the shelves.

Hundreds of volunteers around the entire county took to the roads to help keep everyone safe and well. From the civil defence, Order of Malta, and Coast Guard, to ordinary people who happened to have the appropriate vehicles or skills, or the teams volunteering to help the homeless, the people of Bray and County Wicklow proved their worth.

The thaw began on Sunday, but there is still much to be done. 'Snow tourists' are asked to avoid higher ground where there are still dangerous conditions. Wicklow County Council's severe weather co-ordination group is still working.

There was a small amount of flooding on Herbert Road as snow melted and there are fears of further flooding. Irish Water urge water conservation and temperatures are not expected to soar.

'The council wishes to sincerely thank the general public for the magnificent response to tackling the after effects of this unprecedented weather event,' they said in a statement. 'These efforts have significantly complemented the work of the Council teams and the other emergency agencies.'

Bray People