January 10 1839. For the last 40 years this country was not visited with so furious a Gale of wind, or one as generally and awfully destructive in its effects, as that which took place on Sunday night last. At about 10.15 we felt the first symptoms of it from the south and south-east from which it continued to increase in violence until past 12, when it blew a tremendous hurricane from the east; about 3.00 AM in the morning it chopped about to S.S.E. again for half an hour, after which it flew round ten points of the compass in as many minutes, blowing with terrific force from west by north where it continued until 8 o’clock when it shifted a point or two more northwards: it blew very fresh during Monday until the afternoon, when it lulled and a heavy fall of snow came on which continued all night and part of Tuesday. A strong frost has since set in.
On my Monday morning the town presented a frightful aspect; the shops were all closed as if death had visited the inmates of each; the streets were covered with broken slates, thatch and rubbish from the different chimneys blown down and the roofs taken of. An awful extent of damage has been done; windows broken and blown in; trees uprooted; roofs blown off; chimneys thrown down; floors forced in; cattle maimed and killed, and hay and corn blown away.
Providentially we have heard of no human lives lost, except one man who, living near the edge of the lake, went upon the roof of his house during the night to preserve it by putting weights on it, and he himself was blown away and perished in the angry waters. Mr. Marshall, an inmate at Eden, the residence of the George Rankin, Esq., narrowly escaped with his life, he having been but a few minutes left his room through the entreaties of Mr. Rankin, when a stack of chimneys fell through the roof: it would have crushed him to death! It would be impossible for us to enumerate in detail the losses sustained, but, we may mention of three houses have been blown down in the Castle lane. The large ballroom in their rear of Mr. Willis’s hotel, is in ruin, there is scarcely a pane of glass left in the front of the town hall, the roof and window of the Church have been much injured, the Roman Catholic Chapel is partly unroofed and the stone cross shattered to fragments; the greater part of the old distillery of the Messrs. Innis and Armstrong is level with the ground, and their brewery much injured; the massive lead sheeting and roof of the jail was rolled up and stripped off by the wind, like so much tissue paper; £2,000 pounds we learn will not repair the damage sustained by Portora Royal School. One of the lightning conductors, formed of a thick pole bound to an immense strong bar of iron, in the Castle barrack, was beaten to the earth like a twig. The sentry boxes were upset in all directions. There is not a house in the town but has suffered less or more from the effects of the Gale.
Hay and corn are mostly blown away and scattered for miles through the hills: their prospects are most melancholy, may God pity them and assist them under this awful visitation of his wrath. The Belfast mail, which left this on Sunday night, was upset three times, and we learn that the coach man had his thigh broken in two places. The Shareholder coach which left this for Dublin on Monday morning had returned the passengers and coach man expecting it to be blown of the road and into the fields. The mails due here have lost several hours every day since Sunday, the Belfast particularly. Nearly behalf of Kells is correct burned to the ground. Part of Navan was also in flames on Monday. Monaghan has suffered – a dreadful fire has added its horrors to those of the Gale, and the town is nearly depopulated: a party of the 38th marched from this on yesterday morning en route for it to protect the property of the unfortunate sufferers which had been saved from the flames. Up to the hour of going to press we continue to hear occurrence of the dreadful ravages that have been engender by the storm in all directions which has been one of the most desolating and awful in its consequences that ever visited us. The foregoing account does not contain a tithe of the damage which has been done. It would be impossible at present to estimate it, for none have escaped.