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40th anniversary of the great snows of Jan 1982


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭carltonleon

    Great days …. What joy waking up on the day we were due back to school to open the curtains to about 3 feet of snow …. Glorious!!!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 169 ✭✭teddybones

    I remember going back for day 1 of school after Christmas and then thinking as I left the childminders that it was super cold and grey and maybe it would snow. Next day we woke to a small drift against the door and it just kept falling from the sky. I thought it was so beautiful and was scared it would stop but it just kept coming and the wind blowing. The next morning we had a massive drift against the front door! There were 8 foot drifts. We were housebound! The electricity went for a week! We didn’t care. After the first few pairs of mittens and gloves were soaked through and put in front of the fire to dry we moved onto wool socks!! It provided me with the biggest and best bank of childhood memories! Nothing quite like it since! And sure now I spend every year hoping the weather will recreate it for my kids who are now both adults and have never had the privilege to experience such massive snowfalls. Maybe someday we will get a freak snowfall like that again! I just hope I am not too old to enjoy it!

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,001 ✭✭✭Elmer Blooker

    A show your age thread 😮

    I remember it and definitely the best snowfall of my lifetime (even I wasn’t born in ‘47)

    There was a similar snowfall in Jan 1987 but not as heavy and was a big let down as it thawed immediately.

    The December 2010 snow lay longer than ‘82 but nowhere near as heavy and didn’t drift.

    My location missed out on the ‘beast’ in 2018 but that was a let down too as it thawed immediately.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,471 ✭✭✭Jpmarn

    Never saw the same amount of snow at my home near Limerick since January 1982. I remember that there was a deep drift at the front road gate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 545 ✭✭✭Wine Goddess

    Massive drifts. Almost 12 foot high when pushed to the side of the road in Dundrum D14. Everything ran out.

    Had to queue in Quinnsworth for over an hour to do the shopping, fortunately it was within walking distance. Car could not go anywhere! Slipping and sliding.

    No milk so after 3 days we walked to Premier dairy/ the old HB factory in Nutgrove (now gone of course) to buy a load. I'll never forget how cold we were coming back....

    And how walking in deep snow is exhausting! Even aged 12!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,161 ✭✭✭ongarite

    Great archive VHS recording of the snow from my home place

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,001 ✭✭✭Elmer Blooker

    It was around this time on the Friday afternoon of the 8th that the storm really got going, it started at approx 9pm on the 7th and the first 18 hours or so saw moderate snowfall so nothing special and the temp around 0c. The easterly gale picked up and snow became very heavy and powdery as the temperature dropped below freezing and that’s when the serious drifting started as darkness fell.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,605 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    We had drifts at home in Dun Laoghaire that I've never seen since, I was a small child and where the drift gathered at the garden wall it was at my head. It was extraordinary for a low lying coastal location.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,351 ✭✭✭Littlehorny

    I'm from a smallish town in Meath and the whole place was cut off for at least a week, I was 10 at the time and remember the country roads just full of drifting snow about 9 or 10 foot high.

    The council were trying to clear it and were finding abandoned cars in the drifts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,201 ✭✭✭AllForIt

    I don't remember this but heard tell of it over the years. The link M.T provides says it didn't reach some parts of the west coast, where I was at the time, so now finally I know why!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,449 ✭✭✭✭sryanbruen

    Great photo shared to Irish Weather Online by Claire Brazil of the snow drifts in 1982 in Tallaght.

  • Registered Users Posts: 268 ✭✭bejeezus

    82 was talked about a lot when I was a kid. I was born in late 83 so my siblings remembered it. I enjoyed the beast from the east. Fun watching the animals experience it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 529 ✭✭✭Goldfinch8

    This quite special weather event is top of the pile for me when it comes to my favourite and indeed most memorable weather experience during my lifetime.

    I was a child growing up in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin at the time and as some of the other posters have alluded to, it was the height of some of the snowdrifts that still stick out vividly in my mind. I remember the easterly gale funnelled and drove the snow down between two rows of houses in our estate and it piled the snow up as far as the top of our front door as our line of houses were in the firing line. Quite amazing really to still think about it. I remember my mother setting off to work on foot and us all watching her set off into the elements as we were off school. She thankfully returned only a couple of hours later as work was cancelled early but I still have a memory of her figure defying the blizzard as she crossed the green in front of our house like Scott of the Antartic as she returned to a hero's reception at home.

    I remember after a couple of days, the bush telegraph had it in the village that a bread van was stuck out on the Naas dual carriageway near where the the Poitín Still pub is and it could not get into our village. Both my brother and I were commanded to get supplies and armed with a sled that my father made and that would have taken a few dozen huskies to pull, we went off in search of provisions and returned with 5 sliced pans that were literally bought out of the back of a lorry.

    Many cars were abandoned along the dual carriageway in towards town and I remember hearing stories of locals who had to walk for a few hours in the snow to get home after leaving their cars stuck in the snow.

    Living next to Casement Aerodrome, we were well use to the Air Corps coming and going overhead, but I do recall their alouette helicopters coming and going virtually non stop that week.

    Finally, as a child, I recall asking my late father, where all this snow had come from. He explained in great detail this wonderful scenario of the mild air coming in from the Atlantic and it meeting the cold air from the east and the battleground happening above us. My 10 year old mind was mesmerised by this and at that very moment a weather enthusiast was born!

    Post edited by Goldfinch8 on

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 16,626 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gonzo

    I'm 100% certain my love for weather began with the 1982 blizzard. I was only 8 at the time. From that moment on I was hooked to watching the weather forecast on BBC1 every evening during winter wishing for Snow. It seemed every school year I had at least several days off school due to severe cold and snow as well as frozen pipes. Secondary School started off with over a week off 1st year from the January 1987 blizzard. By this point my childhood mind decided that Ireland gets very decent winters and a few days off school each winter were basically guaranteed. 1988 and 1989 I can't really remember those years for snow but maybe we got a day or two off school but nothing major. I was near leaving cert during February 1991 and that was a very memorable blizzard/snow event. Little did I know then that this event was the final regular snow event in my lifetime. From 1992 to the present day snow events have been few and far between. I had no idea how lucky I was in the 1980s to experience such regular cold and snow.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,462 ✭✭✭Billcarson

    I was the same age as yourself during those events. January 87 i was in first year too. Like you i thought getting a few days off school was the normal every winter due to snow then the winters of the late 80s happened which a a bit of a rude awakening lol.

    Winter 88/89 ,I remember starting my mock inter cert in late feb which coincideded with brief cold snap with bit of snow about that was pretty much melted by lunchtime.

  • Registered Users Posts: 529 ✭✭✭Goldfinch8

    Like you Gonzo, I certainly believe that the snow of 82 was the start of my real passion for weather and of course the annual hunt for snow.

    I have never lost that childhood enthusiasm for watching snow falling.

    It was a real treat to be able to stay up for weatherview on BBC after Newsnight if memory serves me correctly. I was always hoping for two snowflake symbols under the cloud graphic that would be plonked over where we lived in the eastern part of the country. I was in college for that 1991 blizzard and that was a nice shot of snow alright.

    I am always conscious of rose tinted glasses and all of that looking back but they certainly felt like snowier times albeit by our own limited Irish expectations. Geography just makes it frustratingly difficult for the stars to align for us correctly.

    Anyway we live in hope, and it was a real treat to revisit this great weather event in this thread and to read other posters experiences of it as well as seeing what seem like rare photos or video footage of it. Makes one feel slightly old!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,810 ✭✭✭NickNickleby

    5:30pm on the Friday, I left O'Connell St driving home to Clondalkin. I think it had started to snow early in the afternoon, and so was a couple of inches deep on the road already. Had Mrs N, and a work colleague in the car. He lived out the back of Tallaght somewhere, so I said I'd drop him home. By the time we reached Naas Road Longmile Rd junction, the conditions were treacherous. A lifetime later, I turned onto the Belgard Road which was a couple of feet thick by then. Got as far as the Belgard Inn, and Tallaght man had to accept that we could travel no further. He headed off into the blizzard and vanished from view in less than a minute. Turned the car round and headed back over to Clondalkin. Eventually reached the small estate where we lived. Because there was no traffic going into it, the snow was about 3 feet deep. When I could drive no farther, I managed to pull my car over to the left leaving room for better drivers😎 to try to negotiate their way in. Walked the last 75 m or so, and turned towards my house. My house was slightly elevated from the road, and the snow reached the window sill. As I walked towards my front door, I tripped over the capping stone of the gate pillar.

    We had enough food in the fridge, but no coal. Word arrived next day that there was a coal lorry outside a house in a neighbouring estate about a mile away. Found a plank and some rope and MrsN and I set off. It was a lovely clear day, bitterly cold and beautiful to look at. We eventually found the coal lorry and got one of the last bags off it. As far as I can remember, the guy didn't try to gouge us on the price, so a decent skin. Balanced the bag on the plank, Mrs N holding it upright and me manfully dragging the rope. After about three quarters of the way home we discovered that the harder and more strenuous job was keeping the bag on the plank. Feeling very guilty, I changed places with her. I still feel bad now, remembering it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 499 ✭✭pcasso

    I was a teenager during the Snowstorm in January 1982, living in rural Co Meath.

    If I remember correctly there was some snow already on the ground on the Friday morning which had presumably fallen the night before, but not a significant amount.

    My Mam and Dad set out about one o clock to visit my granny who lived about twenty miles away and I think if the snow hadn't already started at that point, it did soon after. It just seemed to get heavier and heavier as the day went by and I spent my time looking out the window or waiting for the weather forecast on Cefax to refresh.

    My poor Mam and Dad got to within a couple of miles of my Granny's house before they had to turn the car around. I can't remember if it was because of the snow or a blocked road or something else but they got closer to her house than their own on the way back because they had to abandon their car at a shop and petrol station about four miles away, and finish the journey on foot. A journey that should have taken an hour took more than two and the snow had only probably dumped half it's load by then. Ironically my older brother, tried to drive home from work on the same road and had to abandon his van at the very same place my Mam and Dad did half an hour later and make the same walk home through the snow.

    The next day the scene outside was a site to behold. There was at least two feet of snow at it's most shallow all over the front garden with drifts accumulating around every object. An old car which had the drivers window left cracked open had a perfect pyramid of snow on the front seat about a foot high. Out on the road, which was a minor county road there was probably a couple of feet of snow in the centre with drifts to the top and over the hedges on either side, which must have been eight to ten feet high. Even down on the main road, the N2, the snow was deep enough to make it impassable for all but tractors and large four wheel drive vehicles.

    It took days for the minor roads to be cleared and even the tractors struggled to get down it.

    There must have been a good cold spell in the days afterwards as I remember the best craic was going out in the evening and using the hill on the road outside our house as a sliding run. (as distinct from a ski run😀) there must have been close to a full moon those evenings because with a snow covered landscape and clear skys it almost felt as bright during the night time as it did during the day.

    I have fantastic memories of that week and for me it is unsurpassed, even by December 2010 or the Beast from the East. I wonder if I will see the likes of it again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,678 ✭✭✭niallb

    The link in that first post is a mad coincidence.

    We were 13 at the time and when the snow hit went down to the very field in that picture at the back of Rathfarnham church with the slope heading down to the river. A school friend of mine was heading down the hill on a tray or something with a cigarette in his hand and ended up on the 6 o'clock news.

    He'd a bit of explaining to do to his dad who was the local doctor...

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