The winter of 1947 will always be remembered in Ireland as the year of the Big Snow.

Starting at the end of February, the snowstorm continued well into the month of March, bringing the country to a standstill. The blizzards and snowdrifts are etched in Irish history as one of the most severe weather events the country has ever experienced.

The snowstorm began on February 23, 1947, and continued for several weeks, with the heaviest snowfalls occurring on March 1 and March 2. Temperatures plummeted to -15°C, and the winds were so strong that they created snowdrifts up to 6 meters high, blocking roads and making travel impossible.

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, was hit particularly hard by the snowstorm. The city came to a complete standstill, and all transport systems were shut down. People were unable to leave their homes, and food shortages became a significant issue. The government issued emergency rations, but supplies were limited, and many people had to rely on their own resources to survive.

The snowstorm affected not just urban areas but rural areas as well. Farmers were unable to tend to their livestock, and many animals perished in the cold weather. Power lines were downed, leaving many without electricity, and water pipes froze, leaving communities without water.

The Irish Army was called in to help clear roads and deliver supplies, and many volunteers worked tirelessly to help those affected by the snowstorm. The emergency services worked around the clock to ensure that people received the help they needed.

The Big Snow of 1947 had a significant impact on Irish society, with many people left traumatized by the experience. However, the snowstorm also brought out the best in people, with communities coming together to help each other in their time of need.

In the aftermath of the Big Snow, the Irish government invested in improving the country's infrastructure to better cope with extreme weather events. The experience also served as a reminder of the importance of being prepared for emergencies and the need for communities to work together in times of crisis.

Here is a radio documentary on the Big Snow in Ireland in 1947:

* Originally published in Jan 2023, updated in Nov 2023.