The Irish weather service, Met Éireann, said an orange weather warning was in place across the country: “It will be extremely windy in the south and west this morning with stormy conditions around coasts and the risk of flooding”.
While most of the flooding and damage from overflowing rivers has been concentrated in the west and south-west, Met Éireann said the entire country will be affected by the storm later on Saturday before it passed across the Irish Sea towards Britain.
The UK Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for winds across a swath of Britain, including Wales and southern England up to the Midlands, which will remain in place until midnight on Saturday.
Winds of 60mph have struck the Welsh coast and gusts could reach speeds of 70mph later on Saturday.
In Limerick City, the river Shannon burst its banks. There was flooding around the Merchants Quay area of the city centre and affected buildings included the tax office.
Tributaries of the Shannon had also overflowed, with flooding reported in Mullingar, as well as the counties of Waterford and Kilkenny.
Meanwhile, in cities such as Galway and Cork, and towns across the west and south-west, flood defences had been set up and sandbags placed in front of homes and businesses.
The intercity rail network, including the Cork to Dublin line, were subject to delays of up to 30 minutes due to speed restrictions, the Irish rail service, Iarnród Éireann, said.
The storm was also likely to cause disruptions to ferry services between Ireland and Britain and mainland Europe.
One of Ireland’s top tourist attractions, the Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast in County Clare, had been closed due to the high winds. Woodlands and forest parks in counties Cork and Galway had also been shut.
The Irish Coastguard appealed to the public to stay away from the worst affected coastal areas. The spokesman Gerard O’Flynn advised extreme weather thrillseekers not to get too close to the sea or rivers.
“The timing is unfortunate. It’s bad winter weather, but hopefully won’t be as mad as Monday [when Ophelia struck],” he said.
The Irish government’s emergency committee said people should expect some power outages. The Electricity Supply Board said engineers were still working to restore power to homes affected by Storm Ophelia. A further 8,000 homes, farms and businesses, had been reconnected by Saturday, bringing the total to 356,000 customers. A further 29,000 customers remain without power.
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