When a Category Three hurricane struck Ireland in 1839
The ‘Night of the Big Wind’ is still remembered all over Ireland
Many of the most thrifty and industrious husband-men, whose haggards were filled with unthreashed corn on Sunday night, found themselves without a sheaf of grain in the morning The poor, of course, as being the most numerous, have been the greatest sufferers. Tens of thousands of their wretched cabins have been swept away or unroofed, and many have become a prey to the flames. Trees, ten to twelve miles from the sea, were covered with salt brine. Such was the fury of the storm, that, had it lasted six hours longer, it is not the house that would have been prostrated, but whole streets and towns levelled.”
The Night of the Big Wind became part of Irish folk tradition. Many on the night thought the world was about to end. Some felt it was God’s wrath, others blamed the fairies.
In a strange modern day twist the storm inspired the Director of Armagh Observatory, the Reverend Romney Robinson, to develop the cup-anemometer, which remains the commonly used wind measuring device as of 2011.
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