Springtime Wonderland

There was plenty of fun to be had for kids (and kids at heart!) when the long-anticipated snow finally fell across the North County last week. Having not properly snowed for years in the area, Ireland’s coldest winter since 1991 finally allowed hordes of our local youngsters to experience the thrill of building a snowman and having an estate-wide snowball war.

But the thick white blanket of beautiful snow wasn’t good news for everyone as many motorists were forced to spend many gruelling hours in the snail paced traffic on our country’s roads. Negotiating the icy patches proved a nightmare for many drivers, with plenty of locals sliding into ditches and embankments and with the number of crashes steadily on the rise.

The task wasn’t so easy for pedestrians either as the paths in most places were worse than the roads. Though it may have provided endless amusement to passing children, the common occurrence of locals falling flat on the ground was not the most enjoyable for the people themselves. Many people contacted this newspaper last Friday wondering why the council didn’t make the effort to grit the footpaths as well as the road. “The footpaths are a serious hazard” highlighted one Swords local, “particularly for the many children having to walk to school. Somebody could get really hurt.”

With Swords being one of the worst affected areas in the region, this newspaper was inundated with calls from residents in areas of Rivervalley and Swords Manor who were having to deal with treacherous road conditions. Speaking to the County Leader one resident from Rivervalley said “the roads in the estate here are really bad, the snow has completely frozen over and it’s like driving on an ice-rink. It’s ridiculous that these roads weren’t gritted while the council were doing the main roads. Cars are sliding all over the place…it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

The airport was also struck with disaster as almost all arrivals and departures were cancelled on Thursday between 12.00pm and 5.00pm. Hundreds of passengers were left stranded as the airport came to a standstill till the snow could be cleared. The airport was closed at 12.50 when the heavy snow began to fall in order for the runways to be sprayed. Any flights due to land in Dublin before 4.00pm were diverted to other airports. Friday wasn’t much better with Aer Lingus cancelling 12 flights into Dublin and Ryanair cancelling both nine of their departures and arrivals. Passengers on the remaining flights were faced with major delays as the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) fought to clear off the ice. A spokesperson for the DAA highlighted that the normal de-icing process did not work and that contractors were drafted in with the priority of clearing the runways and taxiways. Towards the end of last week the spokesperson also highlighted that further delays and cancellations into the weekend would depend on the weather. In total over 200 flights and thousands of passengers were affected.

But despite the knock-on effects of the frosty conditions, plenty of locals just threw in the towel, donned their winter woolies and joined in the fun!