Limerick floods 1814

Limerick, Dec 1

On Thursday night, or at a very early hour on Friday morning, the most awful and terrific tempest from the south and west, that ever was remembered arose, and continued without intermission until between 11 and 12 o’clock yesterday — the river Shannon swelled to an unprecedented height, with a surf which caused it to overflow the country to an extent never before witnessed; there was no trace of the highest banks upon the river, and they are broken and prostrate every where we have as yet heard of — at the quays in this harbour, the several vessels drove from their moorings, and a large Norway ship, the Pax, a brig, the Caroline, and a sloop, the Elizabeth, were forced beyond Curragour Mills, near Thomond bridge, and with much exertion were saved from injury, by Mess Mallock and Graham, ship builders, with their men — the Messery, of Liverpool, at O’Neil’s quay, laden with rock salt, is thrown on her beam ends.

The falling of chimnies has caused several houses to be unroofed; Mr Bodkin’s family, in Bridge Street, were providentially saved, as the next chimney fell on the roof, which was blown in, destroyed the different rooms, and though a child slept in the attic story, and went through the two under floors, it was unhurt. Several trees have been torn up, garden walls blown down, and the whole of the parapet, from the House of Industry to the Revenue Building overturned. A new house in Glentworth Street was completely levelled with the ground. Thomond-bridge miraculously withstood the flood; the whole bridge was covered at one time, and the parapet presented the appearance of a wall built across the river.

We really fear that the accounts from the coast will be dreadful. Yesterday morning, between eight and nine o’clock, two sail boats were lost between Foynes Island and Ahanish, one was loaded with butter, and had nine passengers, all of whom were drowned; the other a turf-boat, the property of Mr O’Keefe, with three men on board, one of whom (Hurley) perished, and the other two were driven on shore by the violence of the waves, and were saved.

On Tuesday evening a large boat belonging to Denis Malcahy of this town, was driven on the rocks, off the shore of Kilkeran battery, the tide at the same time setting in with such rapidity that the boat filled with water, and one of the crew threw himself overboard and swam ashore, leaving two men and a boy on the wreck; when in this awful moment, one of the workmen belonging to Messrs Mackey and Ryan, plunged into the water and swam to the boat — made a raft of her oars and spars, to which he fastened a rope, and swam off to the length of it — the remaining crew clung round the raft, and in the presence of a number off shore, were towed in, and thus saved from a watery grave. Thomas Gleeson, a mason, was the person who so humanely ventured his life to save that of others, which Providence enabled him to effect.

Caledonian Mercury 24 December 1814. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.

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