The Aftermath of Hurricane Ophelia

Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland yesterday and while it was a baby compared to the monsters that ravaged the Caribbean and US it still did plenty of damage and left 3 people dead. Many areas were left without electricity or running water for most of the day. A day later and there are still areas without those basic amenities. Telecoms services were disrupted too as lines were cut and exchanges and mobile sites ran out of power. 30,000 people were without access to phone or Internet access. A red alert was declared nation-wide. Schools closed (for 2 days), public transport wasn’t running, shops and businesses didn’t open. There was a definite fear and expectation that this would be a big one. And it was. Gusts of 156kmh were recorded off Roches Point!

We were without power from just after 11am, then the mobile phone network, Eir, went down, except my wife’s phone was able to go online for minutes at a time throughout the day. Winds really picked up around 10am, and lasted until after 2pm with driving rain almost horizontal in the wind. Later in the day I walked around Blarney village and from the far corner of the square got a weak signal from a remote antenna and had just enough connectivity to get a few text messages.

Trees behind our home were knocked down by the wind, blocking most of the main Waterloo Road. Luckily the very tallest trees survived as they’re within reach of some of the houses!

Even this stop sign was twisted around by the wind, and mushrooms flattened too..

Two trees were knocked down in the village square, and someone had attempted to drive a car and caravan up that narrow road before getting stuck and abandoning their vehicle!

Power came back late yesterday evening, as did mobile data, but friends are still without power even now so it’s going to take some time before things are back to normal. Our satellite dish is broken, and it’ll be early November before someone can come out to replace it. Parts of my garden fence blew over too, but that was on it’s last legs anyway! A TV antenna ended up in our front garden, but I have no idea who owned it.

This morning there was a lovely sunrise, and the sky was a gorgeous mix of blue and soft orange. 🙂

Next weekend we can look forward to #StormBrian apparently. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as Ophelia.

The Swollen River Martin

A few photos of the River Martin in Blarney, swollen after the rains of Storm Frank yesterday. Not pictured are the broken garden fences I haphazardly repaired in torrential rain last night. At least the rain stopped this morning to let me repair the roof of our shed.

Cold tonight with clear spells and light winds over the northern half of the country with temperatures falling to between 0 and 4 degrees with some icy patches. But further south, cloud and winds will increase with rain developing and pushing northwards through the night (falling as sleet or snow in parts of Ulster towards dawn). Winds will be light variable at first then easterly and increase fresh to strong veering southwesterly in southern counties later in the night. (met.ie)

Ever wondered how climate change is going to affect Ireland? This post will be of interest to you.

In Ireland the average air temperature has risen by approximately 0.8°C in the last 100 years, with much of the warming occurring towards the end of the 20thcentury, all seasons are warmer. Some of the impacts can already be seen; the start of the growing season for certain species is now up to 10 days earlier, there has been a decrease in the number of days with frost and increase in the number of warm days (days over 20°C).
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Over the last 30 years or so rainfall amounts have increased by approximately 5%, and there is some evidence of an increase in the number of days with heavy rain in the west and northwest. Climate projections for rainfall have greater uncertainty than for temperature, they indicate that overall rainfall amounts in Ireland might decrease slightly, summers are likely to become drier while winters may be wetter especially in the west and north. There are also indications of an increase in the number of very wet days (days with rainfall >20mm).

These projections, applied to river flows, show an increased risk of winter flooding, an increased risk of short duration ‘flash’ floods and to possible water shortages in summer months due to higher temperatures and lower rainfall. The rise in sea levels will make low lying coastal areas more prone to flooding, especially from storm surges.

It warns that the changes will happen slowly so we’re not going to notice them year-on-year but it doesn’t look good.

Solving the mysterious light in Blarney

Back in 2013 local school children created a “flash mob” and danced in the village square in Blarney. Local photographer Pat Falvey was on hand to capture the scene on video.

Near the start of the video he noticed a flash of light coming from a woman on the right of the frame. You might have to watch the start of it a few times as it flashes by in about 1.5 seconds. Intrigued, I took a closer look.

Using this site I watched the video frame by frame. You can see an object appear on the right:

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In the next frame it’s after moving over a little bit.

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And again, it has moved.

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Using my advanced photography skills I cropped the location of the object to isolate it and zoom in:

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I thought I could see something there now but it needed further enhancement …

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OH WOW! I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was just a leaf but Blarney had been visited by the Starship Enterprise and nobody had even noticed! I was there that day and it had completely escaped my notice!

It was a seed actually. It was one of those seeds with wings. We used to call them helicopter seeds but they’re the seeds of the Maple tree apparently. You can see the seed flutter to the ground after a few frames.

Cows Loose on the River Martin

The river that runs through Blarney is the River Martin and there’s a nice walk next to it near where I live. There’s a field close by where horses and cattle graze from time to time but I don’t remember ever seeing the animals straying from the field.

You can imagine our surprise when we saw a group of cows walking up the river last night, and then jumping up the bank and off towards Waterloo on the public path. I wonder if they were going to the Waterloo Inn for a refreshing drink?

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My wife rang the Gardai who said they’d deal with them. Cars flew up the Waterloo Road at their usual speeds but thankfully we didn’t hear the crunch of metal or skidding wheels while we were down there…

Anyone in Blarney missing a dog?

Anyone in Blarney recognise this dog? My wife found him wandering around the park a few minutes ago. A woman she met said the dog had been around since last night.

He’s a very friendly dog but we’d prefer to hand him back to his original owners!

Blairs Inn Smile

Duncan of Blairs Inn was giving out free samples of their delicious beef stew along with samples from other local restaurants at the festival in Blarney today.

Delicious stuff, and Blairs Inn is a great place to go for a meal too. Only been there once but we had a great meal there. Recommended.

Patrick's Day in Blarney

We were originally going to be walking in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Blarney but our son fell asleep a few minutes ago, and it wouldn’t be fair on him to drag him out unfortunately. We did visit the “farmers market” this morning however and I took a few photos. They’re really only snapshots but I hope you enjoy them, especially if you have visited Blarney.

This is probably the few times in the year that you’ll see this many locals near Blarney Castle! 😉
Continue reading “Patrick's Day in Blarney”

Some people don't feel the cold

The weather reading on my desktop computer says -3C, that’s the temperature at the local airport I presume. It’s very cold out, but the sun is out and at least there’s no wind.

I took Oscar for a walk, I’m all wrapped up against the cold with a thick warm hat and over that a hoodie (yes, they do have a use!) and finally a light jacket to keep all the heat in. I dodged the ice and enjoyed the lovely sunlight melting away the frost on exposed surfaces. The footpath wasn’t too bad, Oscar was enjoying himself.

Half way down the road I bump into a neighbour. He’s dressed for a totally different season! Apart from his usual black jeans, he had on a nice shirt, but the top two buttons were undone exposing flesh to the cruel winter cold, and his one concession to that cold was a light black jacket, not closed of course. He hurried past, commenting that, “the sun is very bright this morning isn’t it?”

Amazing.