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the worst day

Check out this remarkable Pathé footage of the Great North Strand Floods of 1954

The Tolka reached ceiling height, and even swept away a railway bridge as the waters continued to rage.

EVEN THESE DAYS, the Dublin 3 area is no stranger to flooding.

However, nothing experienced in the area over recent decades can compare with what locals went through during the Great North Strand Flood — which happened 60 years ago this week.

Despite the scenes of panic and destruction, only one person — 70-year-old Brigid O’Brien — died on the night of the flood. Another elderly woman passed away from a heart attack several days later in hospital.

It had rained all day long on 8 December…. And as the waters swelled, the River Tolka eventually burst its banks in the early hours, that night.

Hundreds of locals were evacuated from their homes — some by boat. One resident later recalled how the water had reached ceiling height, as the flood continued to inundate the area.

As the Pathé announcer notes in this remarkable clip — a state of emergency was declared in the city. Dublin hadn’t seen flooding like it in around a century.

The Irish Press called it “the worst day following the worst night in memory”.

British Pathé / YouTube

The railway bridge carrying trains on the Belfast line was washed away by the Tolka waters at around 4.30am — and in the following months, trains on the northern commuter line terminated in Clontarf.

The structure was eventually replaced by a Bailey Bridge, which had been used by the Allied forces to cross the Rhine, after the D-Day landings.

Lord Mayor Alfie Byrne started a relief fund for those affected, raising thousands of pounds, and the following year the mouth of the Tolka was widened considerably.

Read: Check out more British Pathé news footage here > 

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