Mollie McGann, 17, and three of her friends were enjoying Bastille Day celebrations on the beach, yards from the seaside promenade where a truck driver killed 84 pedestrians.
Seconds before the attack, the truck had passed the girls as they took photos of each other. Moments later, there was complete mayhem.
Ms McGann said she and her friends — Roisin Howard, Roisin Begley, and Mary Egan — “ran in panic”.
All four are aged 17 and are students at Laurel Hill Coláiste, Limerick.
Ms McGann, from Ennis Rd, Limerick, said: “It was just complete panic. We were all just running, trying to get home as fast as we could. There were tears and everything, because we didn’t know where the rest of our friends were.
“The beach is right beside the prom, so we were literally there, only a few yards away.
“We were just so lucky. The lorry must have drove past us.” The four travelled to Nice two weeks ago, to stay with a local family and brush up on their language skills ahead of their Leaving Cert Exams next June.
Ms McGann said: “We looked up and saw people sprinting, and there was screaming and shouting, and everyone on the beach starting running in the other direction, so we just packed up our stuff and we started running with the crowd.”
Ms McGann and Ms Howard, from Fedamore, Co Limerick, got separated from Ms Begley, from Clonlara, Co Clare, and Ms Egan, from Killaloe, Co Clare.
“We got split up — two and two. Me and (Roisin Howard) just kept running, and we were trying to talk to French people, trying to find out what happened. We had no idea what was going on,” Ms McGann said.
She and Ms Howard were comforted by a French family on the street, as they waited for the attack to end.
“We saw loads of plastic (body) bags and loads of dead bodies on the roads,” Ms McGann said.
“The people we were with brought us home.”