City and country poles apart by lunch

As shortlived as a smile, Irish snow rarely lasts beyond lunchtime, and so, while yesterday began as the best Monday ever for many children, come home time, the whiteness was gone.

That was the scenario in Cork City where disappointment replaced joy in a matter of hours.

Out in the county, however, in places such as Macroom and Dripsey, the snow stayed put. North Cork was pretty as a postcard, as was Wicklow’s Sally Gap, and other parts of the country equally enjoyed the more lasting effects of a fairly rare event. Little change is expected today.

Roads in Kerry are likely to remain in a hazardous state following sub-zero temperatures overnight. Up to 15cm of snow was reported in some parts of the Kingdom yesterday.

Kerry County Council crews were out salting some of the main roads last night, while motorists were being advised to drive with extreme care.

Following a heavy snowfall, the Conor Pass, in the Dingle Peninsula, and the road between Kenmare and Moll’s Gap were closed yesterday and it is uncertain if they will reopen today.

Conditions were also treacherous on sections of the Castleisland to Limerick road, especially at Glounsharoon, and on the N22 county bounds road between Killarney and Macroom.

Sections of the N86 Tralee to Dingle road were also slippery.

‘’It would be advisable for people not to do any unnecessary travel. Slush and ice will make road conditions difficult and extreme caution is required while driving,’’ said council spokesman Padraig Corkery.

Commuters in Co Cork also experienced difficulties, particularly in Macroom, Millstreet, Mallow, Ballyvourney, and Rockchapel.

Counties Waterford, Wicklow, Meath, Kildare, and Cavan had to endure icy and snowy conditions earlier in the day — with motorists advised to avoid the Wicklow and Sally Gaps.

Some Aer Arann flights from Kerry Airport to Dublin were delayed and some Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights were cancelled. Intending passengers have been advised to check with individual airlines before travelling today.

Schools in parts of rural Kerry were closed, with East Kerry worst hit.

The safety of those too old to play in the snow was also high on the agenda. Age Action Ireland was last night urging communities to ensure that older people remained safe and well in their homes during the cold spell. Spokesman Eamon Timmins appealed to people to check up on the most vulnerable, especially those living alone.

“Cold weather can kill and does kill in Ireland, making the winter a particularly challenging period for older people,” he said.

“If there is an older person living in your neighbourhood we would encourage you to call or phone them to check if they need anything.”

The outlook for today is equally polar, with Met Éireann forecasting scattered wintry showers of sleet and snow, most frequent near Leinster and south Munster coasts. Frost and ice will continue to linger in some inland areas, with highest temperatures of three to six degrees.

In fact, the cold spell is expected to continue until Friday when southerly breezes will herald the return of higher temperatures and the far more familiar grey skies and rain, to get the weekend off to the kind of start to which we Irish are more accustomed.

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