In the run-in to last year’s festive season, the big chill wreaked havoc in Donegal. This year, it’s the big floods that are causing serious inconvenience, as many parts of the county woke up yesterday to some of the worst flooding in living memory.
Many parts endured high levels of flooding after the north west coast was battered by storm winds and heavy rain all day Tuesday and into yesterday morning.
Many residents awoke to find they were unable to leave their homes or unable to access roadways due to high levels of water that forced a number of road closures and also affected businesses.
Commuters faced long delays in and around Letterkenny as the Ballyraine Road by the Mount Errigal Hotel and the main Glenties Road out of Letterkenny were closed.
In the Conwal area one resident branded the situation “a disater” after the River Swilly burst its banks leaving local families stuck in their homes.
Charlie Harvey said access was completely cut off when the road flooded. The only access he and his neighbours had to leave home was to walk through the steep hills behind their houses as water continued to run down dangerously from higher ground.
One local farmer said it was the worst flooding he had seen in the area since the 1960s.
Also in Letterkenny, a number of houses on Lower Ard O’Donnell were flooded.
In Kilmacrennan, people living close to the River Lennon were also badly effected and many were stranded in their homes yesterday. According to one resident in Massreagh, Kilmacrennan, families could do nothing but look out at the floods outside. “We can’t leave the house today. I took a walk out this morning and the water was up to the top of my wellies before I’d even reached the road.
He added, “We’ve been using the top of the hedge across the road as a marker to see if the water levels are dropping but it hasn’t moved one bit since this morning.”
Householders at nearby Coitin were yesterday also stranded in their homes and across the river at Legnahoorey, residents were yesterday warning that if the water levels got any worse, their homes would be flooded.
Convoy publican, Manus Gallagher of thatched pub - Mannies Bar - said his cellar was left flooded in over a foot of water and that it is an ongoing problem he faces following heavy rain.
He claims flood water from local housing estates flow past his pub and the system is unable to cope with the deluge. “We get the brunt of it and we always have done since they started working on that street in 1998,” Manus stated.
Last night Donegal County Council gritters were due to salt roads around the county as temperatures were expected to drop below freezing. They will continue gritting this morning.
Farmers and landowners throughout the Finn Valley were yesterday counting the cost of the devastating rise on the River Finn on Tuesday night. Thousands of acres of land were submerged and livestock, mainly sheep, were washed away when river banks between Fintown and Lifford burst. One farmer commented: “It was like watching the Japanese tsunami earlier this year, water everywhere and bales of hay passing and sheep going down the river all day.”
The Finn overflowed at Navenny behind Finn Park while it was almost tipping the top of the Dreenan Bridge across town.