AS business people and householders cleaned up after flash floods in Kenmare, damage in the Kerry town was said to run into tens of thousands of euro.
Upwards of 15 houses, many of them new and some commercial premises were hit by unexpected floods on Thursday, with some property in the town centre covered up to a depth of four feet.
The River Finnihy burst its banks around lunchtime on Thursday, causing some of the worst flooding in living memory in the tourist and heritage town.
All day yesterday, owners of flooded premises worked hard on cleaning out their property in advance of what is expected to be a busy bank holiday weekend in the town.
“The town is beginning to count the cost of the damage. People have been put out of their businesses and their homes,” said Donald Lynch, of Kenmare Chamber of Commerce.
Kerry County Council said the clean-up operation could take two to three days, but expected work in the area worst affected, around the square, to be completed by last night.
It is understood most of the town’s upmarket restaurants and hotels were not hit, but a number of landmark shops and bars were hit by the sudden rush of water from the Finnihy around lunchtime on Thursday.
A combination of factors, including heavy rainfall in the mountains around Moll’s Gap and an unusually high tide in the Kenmare Bay, contributed to the flood, local people said.
An iron footbridge was also a factor, as it acted like a dam and had to be removed.
Locals also claimed some housing developments were built in flood plains around the town during the construction boom and could have contributed to the freak flooding.
“The rain has been exceptionally heavy and the water just didn’t have time to soak into the ground.” These factors, added to building on flood plains of the Finnihy, could have caused the flooding, said one man who has lived in Kenmare all his life.
Property prices have gone through the roof in Kenmare, in recent years, and some expensive houses were flooded.
Land along the River Flesk, between Killarney and Kenmare, was also flooded on Thursday.
Meanwhile, roads around Kerry were free of flooding yesterday.
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