“Unbelievable” damage affected sand dunes in Doonbeg with several flights cancelled at Shannon Airport and power outages this week all as a result of Storm Brendan.
An orange weather warning was issued by Met Éireann for Co Clare and the entire country on Monday from 5am until 9pm due to the arrival of Storm Brendan.
High crosswinds forced the cancellation of several inbound and outbound flights at Shannon Airport. Six Aer Lingues services to and from London, Edinburgh and Birmingham were affected with Ryanair flights from London Stansted and Manchester diverted to Cork Airport.
Dromore Woods was closed by the National Parks & Wildlife Services. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre (CoMVC) was also off limits for the public.
Gusts of 100km/h were recorded in Clare with 3,000 ESB customers affected by a power outage in Cooraclare. Electricity was lost in Clonlara, Kilmaley and Tulla for a spell but returned after ESB crews made repairs within hours.
Storm Brendan also left its mark on Doughmore Beach in Doonbeg. “The damage that has been done is unbelievable, we won’t have dunes in the very near future if something isn’t done, we’ll be looking at ditches, they will be that small and that low,” PRO of Doughmore Coastal Protection Group, Liam Ryan told The Clare Echo.
“In places there was over two metres of dunes taken last night, you can see where the top soil and the earth has fallen. Some people say it will recover itself but that will never come back, never. I know sand washes in and washes out, I’ve been watching it since the 1980s with the wind and tides but when the topsoil is washed away and it falls down, it is natural that is going to disappear,” he said having walked the beach on Tuesday morning.
Hay bales protecting the golf course at Trump Doonbeg were still in place following the storm. “They are there to protect the greens and whatever, they were put up along the edge to stop the salt of the sea going onto the greens, in front there is a big section of the sand dunes and the sand has disappeared in front of them, if you were to walk along the beach you would see they are barely handling some of them on the sand dunes”.
Liam stressed the need for coastal protection work which is currently before An Bord Pléanana be given the green light. “I know people object and they are entitled to object but before people object they should come down and see, if you walk the beach today you could walk it in two days time and see a totally different picture. Our most important issue is to get the dunes and the beach protected and saved, when you have 300 people employed during the summer and it is down to maybe 50 to 70 in the winter but the possibility of a new development keeping close to that 300 all the time. I’ve been up there quite a bit over the Christmas period with visitors or having a drink, it’s a five star facility that treats people so well, you just wouldn’t believe it and you’d be very proud of the people working there and the impression they give of the region, we want that to continue, it won’t cost the people of Clare a penny”.