Saturday 24 February 2018

Locals not prepared for 'ferocity and sudden arrival' of big wind


The battle hardened tenacity of North Cork natives, who have always struggled with adverse weather conditions, came to the fore during the past week as people all over Duhallow and beyond struggled to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the havoc wreaked by Storm Darwin.

Many people speaking to The Corkman admitted that they "were in no way prepared for the ferocity and sudden arrival" of the big wind, and several on their way home from shopping, school runs, or work found their way blocked by fallen trees and debris of all kinds.

School children had a few unexpected days off and householders found themselves with no heating or water, and without cooking, washing or drying facilities

While the electricity outages were undoubtedly difficult for everyone, farmers and business people were among the hardest hit.

An estimated quarter of a million customers countrywide were without electricity by Wednesday afternoon and on the Monday following the storm pockets of Duhallow which included parts of Boherbue, Kiskeam, Newmarket, Glash, Taur, and Cullen were still in the dark.

Patie Murphy from Boherbue, who has 70 cows, told The Corkman that the past week has been really difficult.

"The milk was not collected for two days and when the truck called on the second day we realised the milk was sour and we had to dump it," said Patie.

However, the almost forgotten rural tradition of 'choring', where neighbours would get together and help each other, has seemingly been revived all over the country. Patie was lucky enough to get the loan of a generator from James O'Connor which he has been sharing with three neighbours.

"We had to take it in turns to use it," he explained. "We're milking at all hours. We had to adapt to that and I want to thank my neighbours for helping me to draw water to the cattle, they drink up to 400 gallons per day.

"You would not realise how dependent we are on the electricity until it's off," he said.

Meanwhile, at the western end of Duhallow in Knocknagree, when The Corkman spoke to Don McSweeney at lunchtime on Monday he was half way through his sixth day without electricity.

With eighteen cows calved and more newborns constantly arriving, it is a case of "going out with flash lamps in the middle of the night".

Don explained that the biggest problem for him was having to draw water to the cattle from a well as he is not connected to a mains supply. "It's heavy manual work," he said. "We have to draw the water for 80 cattle from the well.

"I hire a generator for two hours every day to do the milking and cool the milk," added Don.


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