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Storm surges wreak havoc

The road leading from the Irish Coast Guard station at Doolin to the pier was blocked again yesterday after storm surges washed these massive boulders ashore. Pic: Pat Flynn

The Clare coast has suffered further extensive damage as a combination of storm force winds, high tides and sea surges continued to wreak havoc for home owners and businesses.

In Lahinch, further sections of the promenade wall were smashed into hundreds of pieces which were sent flying across the flooded carpark. The same prom and carpark were left devastated following Friday’s storms.

Work crews had spent the weekend gathering rubble from Friday’s battering by the elements into several large piles along the carpark. Yesterday, however, it was a case of back to square one, with further debris, including large chunks of concrete walls, strewn over a wide area.

Irish Hotels Federation president and Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said: "If the sea wall that was erected back in the 80’s wasn’t built, the Seaworld, the golf course and the sea front businesses would be destroyed."

"You can never beat the brute force of nature but we have do our best. We are going to have storms like this, so we just have to get on with it. Lahinch will come back bigger and better but we do need to invest in coastal defences in vulnerable areas to minimise damage in the future," Mr Vaughan added.

A prefab building, part of the Irish Coast Guard’s station in Doolin, was left floating in several feet of water and prevented from being washed away by a small boundary wall.

The unit’s main building, a 150-year-old shed, was also flooded after its front shutter door was buckled under the pressure of surging water. Radio and paging equipment, along with historical call-out documents, were lost or water damaged in Friday’s surge. Unit members moved as much equipment as they could salvage out of the buildings before yesterday’s storm.

The centuries old harbour pier and wall at Liscannor sustained further extensive damage, while houses in the lower harbour area were flooded.