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Friday 19 October 2018

History made as harbour freezes

History as harbour freezes The Slaney turns to ice at Wexford Bridge.
History as harbour freezes The Slaney turns to ice at Wexford Bridge.

Maria Pepper

Wexford RNLI volunteer Peter Scallan could hardly believe his eyes when he made his way through the snow to check on the lifeboat station house beside the Harbour front last Friday afternoon.

He was confronted with a sight he has never seen before - a frozen Wexford Harbour filled with huge ice-floes stretching half-way across to Ferrybank.

He was stunned by the scene and posted a video along with a water safety message which had been viewed by more than 125,000 people up to Monday afternoon.

'I didn't expect that. I just wanted to get the safety message across', said volunteer lifeboat helm Peter, who arrived at the RNLI station at about 7 am on Friday via the Crescent Quay which was completely frozen over.

'I was there to check the level of the tide as we work closely with the County Council and when I saw the harbour I couldn't believe it'.

'I'm old enough to remember the snow storm of 1982 but it was nothing like this. It didn't happen to this extent in 2010 either or in 1977.'

Peter said he asked volunteer boathouse manager Jack Higginbotham if he had any memory of the harbour freezing and he couldn't recall anything like it either.

Mr. Higginbotham is too young to remember the snow of 1947 but remembers 1963 well.

'I never, ever remember ice on Wexford harbour to this extent, in 1963 or any other year' he said.

Wexford RNLI volunteer crew who live in town monitored flood levels and cleared the slipway and paths into the station to allow crew to reach it in the event of a call-out.

Lifeboat helm Damien Foley spent his birthday saving a fisherman's boat from sinking as well as working with other town crew members including Acting LOM David Sherwood,Frank O' Brien, Ger Doran, Andrew Hairstens and Marcin Maksimiuk.

Some of the boats in Wexford Harbour and in Ferrybank sank under the weight of snow.

Wexford People

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