'It was more like Venice than Kilflynn'

Severe damage to North Kerry area at centre of freak deluge

Stephen Fernane

Kilflynn Village and parts of north Kerry experienced some of the worst flash flooding in over 50 years on Saturday as an unexpected downpour washed local roads away and threatened to flood property.

The worst of the rain affected Kilflynn village and upland regions to the east - just off the main N69 Tralee/Listowel road - in the mountain townlands of Cappagh and Rae, where whole sections of roadway were totally destroyed.

To make matters worse, rain was accompanied by heavy hail showers all of which happened shortly after 2pm on Saturday and lasted for over an hour.

Kilflynn publican Mike Parker said it was 'the worst the locals had ever seen' as he took photos of the flood's aftermath in the village.

"Parts of the village looked more like Venice than Kilflynn, it was that bad," Mr Parker said.

"Just a few minutes after the rain started the pools of water gathered at Kilflynn Cross on the N69 and gushed in the direction of the village, flooding the river. A heavy swell also came from above the village and pooled in front of some of the houses," he added.

Mike said the general opinion among locals is that it was the worst flash flooding since the early 1960s, in an episode when farmers' bales of silage and hay were washed away.

Most of the areas affected are on elevated plains not normally prone to flooding - a measure of how heavy Saturday's deluge was.

"The roads here are already in a bad state, but this has made some of them impassable.

"Piles of debris and stones were just washed onto the roads," Mr Parker explained.

"A part of the bridge wall was already washed away in the last flood we had a few weeks ago and there's real concern that anymore floods will make things much worse," Mr Parker concluded.

Meanwhile, Kerry County Council said engineers are currently assessing the damage to the road surface at a number of locations in Kilflynn following the exceptionally heavy downpours.

Remedial works will be carried out as soon as possible with the main priority being the road between the N69 and the main road.