I’ve made mention a few times of the flooding in the West of Ireland this winter, but it’s pretty hard to describe how bad it’s been (although, not quite on the same scale as Somerset in England).
I visit Coole Park in Co. Galway quite regularly, and over the past two months more and more of it has disappeared under water. At this point I would guess it’s at least two-thirds flooded. When I last visited it was after the dreadful passage of Storm Darwin, and the place was a mess. One of the car parks was flooded and inaccessible. Huge trees were toppled over, exposing massive rootballs. The buzz of chainsaws chewing up wood vibrated throughout the Park.
Over half of the Walled Garden was submerged.
Mermaids or otters might be able to have picnics on those tables now…
Or if you’re a golden retriever you might not mind so much.
This is an image that most visitors to the Park are familiar with: it’s at the end of the main thoroughfare on the way to Coole Lough. Except Coole Lough is now making its way up to the visitors.
To give you some context, here’s the same location just a week earlier. Check out the sign and the shelter on the right, and you’ll have ample evidence of how much water has poured into the park in a short period.
Initially I thought it would March or April before the country would recover from this. When I surveyed Coole Park this week I adjusted my estimate to June or July. With the sad reality that some places may not ever recover. There may be new permanent lakes springing up around the countryside.
And for those people whose houses have been flooded, or have been cut off by flooded roads, there is little sign of any relief.
Just today we’ve had terrible squalls of hailstones, and rain, accompanied by gusts of wind. Normal weather for this time of year, but devastating when on top of already flooded land.