The amount of rainfall in Kilkenny has been about average for the month of October – but the problem is that most of it has just arrived in the space of three days.
“It has been pretty bad but it wouldn’t be a record over three days. We were lucky enough that the ground was still dry over the summer,” said Niall Dollard of kilkennyweather.com.
The website reported that 27.8mm of rain fell on Sunday followed by another 16.8mm on Monday and a further 24.6mm by yesterday (Tuesday) at lunchtime.
Until that point in the month, the amount of rainfall in Kilkenny “was running well below average”, he said, noting: “We had something similar in September, where it was dry but then all the rain came in the last days of the month.”
Residents in Graignamanagh had been preparing for the worst, filling sand bags and boarding up doorways in preparation for the river Barrow bursting its banks. Cllr Tommy Prendergast (Lab) said the Barrow didn’t burst its banks and that the Duiske river had nearly overflowed but had stopped rising. “It is fairly dodgy – another night of rain and both river will flood,” he said.
He noted that Graignamanagh was particularly vulnerable to flooding because the flood relief schemes have not been implemented. A number of issues have hampered flood relief works in Graignamanagh. Objections to a proposed flood defence wall along the River Barrow and the fact that the River Duiske is a salmon spawning river have slowed efforts to make both rivers safe, he said. “We’re worried about what will happen in the future but we’re thankful that the rivers have stopped rising for the moment,” said Cllr Prendergast.
In Thomastown the alarm was called off when the river started to drop. Cllr Michael O’Brien (Lab) praised the Kilkenny County Council staff, who he said had the flood prediction down to a science. “The council engineers know exactly what a one-inch rise in Kilkenny will mean for us down here in Thomastown and Inistioge,” he said. “Thankfully we’ve had no flooding down here despite the huge rainfall,” he added.
In the city, Cllr Andrew McGuinness (FF) said he was relieved that Lord Edward Street escaped flooding this time around, although he did get reports of flooding at Pearse Street. “Lord Edward Street has been flooding for years,” he said, noting that Kilkenny Borough Council had carried out works on the street in recent years and that he asked for further maintenance works to be done in the past few weeks. “We need to carry out that work to Pearse Street as well as the rest of the Butts,” he said.
Cllr Fidelis Doherty (FG) described the rain in the south of the county as ferocious. Cllr Doherty said that there had been bad flooding at Milebush in Tullagher and on a number of the secondary roads. “There are little ponds forming in all the dips on the secondary roads. I’m just looking for the council to keep the dykes at the sides of the road clear. If the dykes aren’t clear, they’re not of much use,” she said.
There was also flooding on the main road from Kilkenny to Castlecomer, and a tree fell on the Muckalee road on Monday night.
In Callan, where flood-relief works have recently been completed by the Office of Public Works (OPW), Cllr Tom Maher (FG) said the town also was lucky to miss the brunt of the rising waters. “There is absolutely no water in Callan at all,” he reported on Tuesday morning.
Because the past few weeks have been drier, the King’s River fortunately wasn’t tested on this occasion and was still contained within its banks.
“I am happy that we are where we are at this point in time,” said Cllr Maher, “and hopefully we can deal with whatever comes in the future.”