Martin puts storm damage in perspective as no one hurt

There is a general consensus that the recent hurricane-force bursts of wind were the worst in living memory and the storm has left behind damage that will possibly cost millions of euro to repair.

However, there general agreement locally that it was by only a miracle that nobody was seriously injured or worse.

A philosophical Martin Murphy would be the first to agree on that score. He and his wife Sheila were at home in Laccabawn when a third of their roof was taken from the western gable.

The house enjoys one on the finest views of the valley around but its lofty perch was severely tested on Wednesday as the concrete barge and all was lifted and torn from its anchors. The roof was blown over the remaining part of the house and deposited in a neighbour's field up to 40 yards across the road. The roof of a workshop in the back yard was also taken away with the same awesome force and dropped further over in the same field.

A local lady happened to be driving on the road outside and was approaching the house as the terrifying events unfolded. It's an experience she's unlikely to forget for a while.

"We were lucky that no one was injured. We have great neighbours. A lorry cover from Jim O'Sullivan's arrived and we were able to nail and tie it down and keep out the rest of it. We're working away at it and if the power came back now we'd be in a much better position to get things back in order. We were lucky," said Martin.

Meanwhile, as trees in the locality and beyond took an awful battering, one hugely significant species wasn't spared the wrath of the hurricane. However, the deeply historic Kilmurry House was blessed in that a huge tree fell, obligingly, at right angles and away from it.

Kilmurry House could tell a story or two and the 70ft-high Cedar of Lebanon tree, thought to be some 300 year-old, could do likewise.

Its noble reign at the front of the east-facing, great house was brought to an abrupt and ignominious end at some point during Wednesday's terrifying hurricane.

Present occupants of Kilmurry House, Caroline Faulkner and Maurice Conroy expressed their sadness at the demise of the fine, old tree: "It's a sad day for Irish arboreal history as one of the oldest trees in the country blew down just yards from the historic, Kilmurry House," Caroline said.

"The house, a Georgian rectory, was built in the 1700s and the tree, a Cedar of Lebanon is thought to have been planted soon after. We will now look at planting more native Irish Oaks for the benefit of wildlife and future generations," Caroline added.


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