February 22: Storm brings out a spirit to gladden hearts

LONDONERS speak with pride about how the spirit of the Blitz could not be broken by Hitler’s bombs. Thankfully, Limerick has never experienced such a sustained period of bombardment, but for a few hours last Wednesday it felt like the city was under siege from a different kind of force: the Atlantic super-storm they called Storm Darwin.

LONDONERS speak with pride about how the spirit of the Blitz could not be broken by Hitler’s bombs. Thankfully, Limerick has never experienced such a sustained period of bombardment, but for a few hours last Wednesday it felt like the city was under siege from a different kind of force: the Atlantic super-storm they called Storm Darwin.

Gratifyingly, in the days that followed the trail of devastation around the city and county, the kind of spirit that sustained wartime London came to the fore. Countless committed people came to the aid of their neighbours and friends. Employees of the local authority pulled out all the stops in dealing with an unprecedented challenge, as did those deployed by the state agencies. Countless volunteers unconnected to any organisation came to the aid of those who needed help. Whether it was bringing a chainsaw to clear some of the hundreds of fallen trees all over Limerick, or offering assistance to the thousands left without power, or other kindnesses that made a difference, people stepped up in a time of need. Farmers left without electricity to power their milking machines were grateful to the friends who turned up with generators and a willingness to get stuck in. That was just one example of a community coming together in adverse circumstances and many more can be found in the pages of the Limerick Leader this week.

Many were left shaking their heads in wonderment at the speed of the response to an inconvenience such as a fallen tree blocking a road or a family’s driveway. Some minor miracles were performed all over Limerick.

For those directly affected, it is hard to underestimate a situation which sees families deprived of running water and electricity for days on end and those who endured the worst deprivation deserve all our sympathy.

But amid the ongoing concerns, we should look at the many silver linings in the dark clouds carried in by Wednesday’s storm. We may never have seen the like of it and the damage caused will run to millions, but Storm Darwin left Limerick unbowed.