Starting it off with a bang- Part 1

by Alison, 10/01/2014

I can't believe its only been a week since our last post. New Years feels an awfully long time ago. 

We arrived home on the 1st of January, sleepy and happy from a great Christmas in Dublin and plenty of New Years shennanigans on Achill Island. Having spent the holidays eating, hanging out with friends and family, hiking in the Dublin & Wicklow Mountains and surfing in Achill we thought we were ready for all the adventures the new year had to offer.

So on the 2nd of January, the new year decided to challenge us. Another storm was headed our way. After a month of nearly weekly storms, we were getting used to laying out the towels, rearranging some furniture and putting down a couple of basins. Met Eireann again had issued a status orange storm warning and we thought we were prepared. 

Our first warning should have been the thud on the Thursday evening. During a storm or high swells the waves often smash on the prom and then hit into our home.  The sounds generated are generally a violent slap of water against the glass and a pouring of watering as it slides downwards but at one stage both of us thought we heard a more solid thud and skitter. Possibly a rock being thrown on the prom? Neither of us could tell and as we didn't hear any more we didn't think any more about it. 

We must be getting used to high winds as the howling wind didn't affect us until early morning. I went out on the landing and I could hear the sound of water thrumming down through the house. I looked in the living room and there was water half way across the floor. I started calling Ollie and continued to search. Downstairs the water was pouring through the light fitting. I was standing there in water up to my ankles.

We started getting buckets, basins, and mops, anything to try contain the mess. I was mopping downstairs and had just noticed the water streaming through the fuse box when I hear an explosion and an even louder expletive. Ollie had just seen the couch flow past him.  A piece of promenade had been launched at the glass, shattering it into thousands of pieces.

Now it was time to panic. Initially I couldn't even get in the door to see if Ollie was ok. The strength of the water and wind howling through kept it jammed. Once I knew he was ok, my next thought was- what do you do or who do you call when the brut force of the Atlantic enters your home? 

Following Ollie's lead, I threw on boots and a jacket. Prior to this I had been standing in my bare feet and stripy PJ's with water, glass and wind whipping by me. While Ollie was grabbing essentials, I tried calling our landlord. When we couldn't reach her my next thought was Mum. Yes, 28 and still figuring my Mum would know what to do. Turns out, living in Dublin she doesn't have much experience with storm breaches but I tried the local Garda station at her suggestion. Unfortunately they were unable to help. 

During this time the lights had been starting to act up. Certain areas of the house had blown and were starting to spark. Live electricity and salinated water, not a great combination. Luckily the fuse box which was starting to smoke, blew altogether. We then made a final dash for it. Thankfully both cars were still working and with Ollie up to his calves in sea water, he got the gate open.

We met the local fire brigade on the main street, who were lovely and offered to bring us to emergency accommodation. We had already decided to go to my office, to get our bearings so we said we were ok. However on the way we got a phone call from a very generous friend. At her house we found tea, toast, a friendly face and a warm bed. Not that either of us slept. We just waited for the sun to rise and the tide to recede. 

Tomorrow I'll give you a taste of what we found when we returned home.

I also want to say thank you to George Karbus for letting me borrow 3 of his beautiful photos. If you are interested in his work click here to see more of his work. Simply stunning. 


  1. You know there's good waves in a place when couches are surfing indoors ;-) It was a mad adventure and one I'm glad we escaped unharmed. No fun losing our home though.
    Also from me, thanks a million again to all you wonderful people who gave us shelter or offered it and helped us clearing our stuff. You're all fecking brilliant!!

    Ollie (currently in Turkmenistan)


  2. Cannot even imagine how it must have been for the too of you ,but i thank God you survived