Huge clean-up operation under way as Ophelia leaves trail of destruction

A massive clean-up operation is under way across Cork City after Ophelia left a trail of destruction.

A view of the damage to the Derrynane Stand at Turner's Cross Stadium due to Storm Ophelia. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Hurricane-force winds gusting up to 155km/h at Roche’s Point and at Cork Airport battered the city, with roofs ripped from buildings, schools, and sports stadiums.

Several city buildings suffered extensive structural damage but low-lying areas of the city centre escaped flooding when high tide passed without incident around 4pm.

Cork City Council got reports of up to 70 fallen trees, falling slates and flying tiles throughout the day and French Church St, Paul St and Rory Gallagher Place were closed last night due to structural damage to buildings.

The gym at Douglas Community School on the southside of the city was blown off.

Aveen Boyce, who lives nearby, captured dramatic video footage on her phone of the moment the roof was ripped clear.

“I was just filming from the bay window of our bedroom when I heard a crunch of metal,” she said. “I thought it was a satellite dish at first and then turned to see it flying through the air.”

Most of the structure landed in Mona Lynch’s garden.

“We thought it was somebody’s shed,” she said.

Cork City’s title decider against Derry, which had been rescheduled for Turner’s Cross tonight, is to go ahead tonight at 7.20pm despite the roof of the stadium’s Derrynane stand collapsing as Ophelia raged.

The damage was too severe to allow for a detailed structural examination last night.

Extensive damage was also caused to the roofs of three homes in the Ardmore Avenue area of Knocknaheeny. The roofs of several caravans at the Traveller halting site in Ballyvolane were also damaged.

A motorist cheated death after their car was struck by a falling tree outside Blarney. A crane was also blown down on the Little Island slip road from N25, blocking a lane of traffic.

Almost 20 trees were knocked in the Centre Park Rd area, and several fell in Bishop Lucey Park, and in Fitzgerald’s Park, damaging the children’s playground.

Other fallen trees blocked roads, including the busy N40 South Ring Road, Centre Park Road, the Marina, and the Carrigrohane Road for a time, power lines were knocked, cutting electricity to several suburban areas, shops lost signs, and hoarding was blown down on the Lower Glanmire Rd and around the former Beamish and Crawford site.

Gardaí, the Cork City Fire Brigade and city council emergency crews were clearing debris from roads from early morning but they were stood down for safety reasons as the storm intensified around midday.

All departures from Cork Airport were cancelled until late in the evening when Aer Lingus and Ryanair planned to operate four flights into the airport.

The Port of Cork suspended all shipping and cargo handling operations throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Helping Cork’s Homeless, Cork Penny Dinners and the 3 Little Piggies Cafe were among those who reached out to help the city’s homeless as existing emergency shelters reached capacity.

Members of Togher Boxing Club adapted their facility last night to host more than a dozen homeless people as the city’s other shelters reached capacity.

Christine Chalmers and Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Fergal Dennehy, of Helping Cork’s Homeless, met several homeless people near City Hall around 4pm and arranged for their transport to the boxing club, where they were provided with a meal, a shower and bedding.

“We’ve spent the last 48-hours putting everything in place to take the overflow of people who can’t get into the other shelters,” she said.

“We don’t want to be bedding them down in doorways, which is what we normally do. But tonight, we are making an exception.”

And in West Cork, the quick thinking of a salvage expert prevented potential disaster in Castletownbere.

A mussel harvesting vessel broke free from its moorings at Dinish Island and began to drift across the harbour towards dozens of tied up trawlers.

Sean Harrington, who owns Atlantic Towage, spotted the incident unfolding and he responded quickly and managed to secure the vessel before it reached the trawlers.

UCC, which closed all campuses yesterday, will reopen today, with lectures starting from 12 noon.

Its Autumn conferrings will also go ahead, with some changes to the previously advised schedule.

The 10am conferring has been rescheduled to 12 noon, with the subsequent ceremonies all pushed back two hours.


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