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!! Ballina Chronicle; Apr 24, 1850; A Frightful Storm Hits Dublin

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, April 24, 1850 FRIGHTFUL STORM AND INJURY TO PROPERTY IN IRELAND On Thursday between the hours of three and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 13, 2006
      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, April 24, 1850

      On Thursday between the hours of three and four o'clock in the
      afternoon, our city was visited by a terrific thunder storm, accompanied by
      a perfect hurricane and fall tempest, the most fearful in its violence, and
      the most disastrous in its effects on property (considering the short life
      of its countenance), that has ever occurred in the memory of the oldest who
      witnessed it. In fact this terrible convulsion of the elements partook in a
      very slight degree of the characteristics ascribed to storms in these
      temperate latitudes. Its phenomena were rather those peculiar to the sudden
      snow gales of the Baltic, the fatal Mediterranean white squall, or the
      disastrous and the often unforeseen and unprovided for West Indian
      hurricane. The conflict of the elements burst upon the city with a
      suddenness and violence that smote the inhabitants with terror and dismay.
      We have taken some trouble to ascertain the principal facts attainable
      concerning this sudden visitation, both as to the very singular atmospheric
      peculiarities observed at its commencement, as also the extent of injury
      done in our city and its immediate vicinity, and it gives us no small
      pleasure to be able to state, that so far as we have yet learned loss of
      human life is not to be reckoned with in this latter category.
      The enormous size of the globules of hail was a subject of intense
      wonder, and even curiosity, scarcely repressed by this terror of the
      awe-stricken people. We ourselves saw hailstones fall near us considerably
      larger each of them than the largest grape-shot. But we have authority for
      stating that congealed balls of frozen fluid were dashed in through windows
      in some more exposed places, the size of each mass being nearly that of an
      egg. This enormous size of the hail-stones was not, of course, in general,
      and we have heard the greater size of some of them accounted for by the very
      natural supposition of several separate hail-stones being congealed together
      at a great altitude whilst falling. It is clear, at all events, that the
      hail was of sufficient size and driven with sufficient force to destroy the
      glass of an estimated fifth of the windows in the city.
      lying north and south, and its houses being so very high and close
      together, did not suffer so much as other parts more exposed. Several
      houses, however, suffered greatly, particularly those of the western side,
      on which the force of the storm struck obliquely. The upper windows of the
      Sackville-street Club, and of nearly all the splendid houses on the same
      side of the street were dashed to pieces. The traders and shopkeepers
      hastened to close their shops; all business was suspended; the streets were
      deserted, save under the Post-office piazza, where crowds, surprised by the
      fearful suddenness of the storm, shrank cowering in terror from the repeated
      flashes of forked and vivid lightning that heralded the deafening peals of
      thunder that seemed to split the very sky overhead. The windows of the
      Prince of Wales's and Abbott's hotels in Prince's-street, near the
      Post-office corner, were almost totally shattered and the glass in all of
      the houses, from the corner of Prince's-street to Mr. Chancellor's, near
      Carlisle-bridge, presented a scene of demolition and ruin. The hail as it
      fell congregated in enormous heaps on the pave, and at each point where it
      was driven by the fury of the wind; and as the congregated masses dissolved,
      the entire street became flooded with water. The crossings then became
      impassable in many places. The thunder was at one period absolutely
      deafening, and the drivers of the equipages assembled at the Rotunda flower
      show could scarcely restrain their horses from bursting away with affright.
      The animal attached to one vehicle, a one-horse phaeton, sprung away, and
      galloped with alarming speed down Britain-street, and turning up
      Dominick-street, ran against the area railings of Mr. Lentaigne's house,
      which were driven in by the concussion. The horse was severely hurt and the
      carriage broken.
      Such parts as faced the north and east presented in their entire extent
      a scene of desolation and injury to property - windows broken, and
      everything at all tangible injured or destroyed. In Mountjoy-square trees
      and shrubs were blown down, and at Summer-hill the houses on the side facing
      the storm all suffered. In some, the glass of the windows was literally
      blown out of the frame; in short the streets presented the aspect of what we
      read of a city after a siege.
      The Round Room of the Rotunda suffered fearful damages and the hail and
      rain found its way into the body of the room, the serious personal
      inconvenience of the large crowd which thronged it. The room had several
      inches of water on the floor, inundated from the garden.
      The Show Yard of the Royal Dublin Society was devastated. The temporary
      sheds were prostrated - the poultry coops scattered about and their
      gathered inhabitants sent flying abut terror-stricken. Leinster lawn looked
      to be a field after battle. A servant of Lord Plunkett's was so injured by
      the fall of the sheds as to be obliged to go to Hospital. Several trees were
      blown down.
      A great number of persons sought shelter at Johnston's the silk
      mercer's, in Sackville-street. The whole of these extensive premises are
      covered in with glass, the smashing of which caused the greatest
      consternation, and many ladies fainted with terror from the lightning. At
      one time a strong smell of fire increased the alarm which speedily subsided.
      The destruction amounted to about a thousand panes of glass.
      The Mansion House, the ancient seat of civic authority, experienced in
      an unusual degree the severity of the hurricane. The two fine old elm trees,
      in the lawn, near the statue which stood since the reign of Charles I, and
      contributed so much to beautify and ornament the building, were blown down
      by the violence of the storm, and in the space of a few minutes torn up by
      the roots and completely given asunder. The Mansion House itself received
      considerable injury, the roof being stripped, and almost all the windows
      A most extraordinary scene was presented in the Law Library of the
      Courts, at four o'clock, when the hailstones burst over it. There were sixty
      or seventy barristers writing in the inside room which is almost entirely
      lighted from the roof, when a sudden flash of lightning was succeeded by a
      shower of hailstones some as large as grapes. Instantly every pane of glass
      was shivered and the fragments dashed down on the learned heads. The wig
      proved itself a helmet, but notwithstanding this protection, briefs, books,
      and bills were instantly deserted - the narrow gallery afforded but little
      shelter. Some were protected under the old folios, spreading these
      capricious volumes over them, whilst others wrapped their gowns turbanwise
      round their heads, whilst the hail pelted in and the glass flew about in
      every direction; but when the storm passed over the destruction was visible,
      and many a forsaken wig had received the contents of folios of drafts which
      were wholly washed out and obliterated.
      In the course of the evening two patients were admitted into Mercer's
      Hospital, who had received injuries in consequence of the storm, one and old
      woman, whose temple was severely cut by a fall on the street, and the other
      a woman, who was crushed by the fall of a ceiling in one of the houses in
      the Liberty. Seven elm trees in the College park were prostrated, and a part
      of one was broken off.
      The destruction of glass will amount to several thousand pounds.
      GLASNEVIN - The storm appears to have raged with much greater violence
      here than it did on the south side of the city. The devastation it has made
      on the roofs of the conservatories is indiscribable; scarcely a whole pane
      in some of the houses remain. The roofs of the new range have not suffered
      nearly as much, but altogether the spectacle is a very melancholy one at
      present, and the damage done very extensive.
      Trinity College suffered a great deal of damage, a great deal of glass
      was broken, and several trees were blown down. In the squares also, or
      wherever else the houses were exposed to the fury of the storm, the amount
      of injury was considerable.
      In Aungier-street, the upper part of a house was blown down, and
      several in other streets, besides a large number of chimneys, &c. In one
      district, in the neighbourhood of the Meath Hospital, twelve or fourteen
      houses were completely unroofed.
      In portions of Merrion-square, Stephen's-Green, Nassau-street, and
      other streets in this district, a vast amount of damage was sustained by the
      smashing of glass, particularly in greenhouses in situations exposed to the
      fury of the gale. - We regret to stay that almost every pane of glass in St.
      Vincent's Hospital (Stephen's Green) was shattered to pieces. Some roofs of
      houses were more or less stripped of their slates, and the chimney of a
      house in North Frederick-st., corner of Molesworth-st, blown down on the
      flagway, but fortunately without personal injury to anyone. Houses in
      Bolton-street, Britain-street, Summer-hill, and places in that direction
      have also more or les suffered by the severity of the storm.
      However, it is needless to advert to the appearances presented by the
      several streets - the description of one is that of all. The effects of the
      storm were unparalleled, considering its short countenance.---Dublin
      Commercial Journal

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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