From the Limerick Leader archives: Fergal Keane describes the coldest Limerick weather in a generation in 1982

Fergal Keane


Fergal Keane

COUNTY Limerick was thawing out this Thursday after the coldest weather hit the region in more than 25 years.

COUNTY Limerick was thawing out this Thursday after the coldest weather hit the region in more than 25 years.

And county secretary, Mr Pat O’Connor, called on householders to report any instances of flooding to the council without delay.

Two East Limerickmen lost their lives in the Arctic conditions when their car plunged into a dyke near Kilteely.

Mr Frank Berkery, 45, and Mr Thomas Deere, 53, both natives of Doon, were found in the six-foot deep ditch off the road at Coologue last Friday morning, 15 hours after they had last been seen alive.

It is understood that Mr Berkery, a garage proprietor, and Mr Deere, a CIE school bus driver, left Doon at 7pm on Thursday on their way to Kanturk to collect spare parts for a car.

A garda spokesman at Doon told the Limerick Leader that it was quite possible that the car, which was covered in snow when discovered the following morning, was in the dyke for anything up to 12 hours. Asked why the car not not been spotted earlier, he replied: “Because of the bad weather conditions which prevailed at the time, there were very few using the roads.”

Both men were highly popular in East Limerick, as reflected in the huge attendance at their funerals on Monday.

One of the areas worst hit by the weather was the village of Anglesboro, which was snowed in for two days by extensive drifts, reportedly as high as six feet in places.

A garda spokesman at Galbally said that the Anglesboro/Galbally road was completely blocked for two days and the village was marooned by snow drifts.

Gardai at Ballyneety reported one instance of a person being snowed in at Boherlode, but added that the problem had not been “too severe”.

Gardai at Cappamore and Bruff said that motorists had responded well to the warnings about the icy roads, although there had been a number of reports of minor skidding.

Road conditions in outlying parts of West Limerick were treacherous, with snow drifts of up to six feet around Knocknaboula, Foynes. Gardai at Foynes reported cases of farmers being isolated in holdings at Mount David, Knocknaboula and Shanagolden.

The worst evidence of snow drifts was at Shanagolden, where, although the village itself could be passed, motorists found it almost impossible to proceed to Knocknaboula.

“It’s pretty rough for the cattle with the snow so deep on the ground,” said Mr Tony O’Connor, a livestock farmer at Knockpatrick, Shanagolden. “This is the worst I can remember since 1947, when we were stranded up here for five weeks.”

Mr Maurice Danaher, 82, from Shanagolden, was busy clearing the ice from his doorstep. “The last time I saw this drinking pond frozen over was in 1963 – and it was fearful cold then,” he said. “I remember the big freeze-up of 1917 when it was so cold the poor birds were frozen – you could pick them up, they were so cold.”

The villagers of Askeaton had a startling surprise when they awoke to find the River Deel frozen solid for a mile below the town. Butcher Mr Tony Sheehan said: “I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m living here for 40 years.”