‘Floody’ from Clonmel

A number of years ago , on an unusually warm summers day , a young 5 year old boy was playing outside his home on the outskirts of Clonmel . Noticing that his neighbours door was open he decided to call in to see if anyone would like to come out to play . Not seeing anybody downstairs , as they happened to be in the back garden at the time , he decided to take a look upstairs to see if he could find anyone . Not finding anybody about,  he decided to amuse himself by going in to the bathroom and turning on the taps on the sink . He also turned on the bath taps and was further entertained by plugging the drains on both . He soon became distracted and made his way back down stairs , out the door and headed off to play elsewhere .

The occupants of the house were unaware of their unannounced visitor until almost an hour later when they discovered water dripping through the kitchen ceiling . A rapid inspection ensued and it was quickly discovered that the water , which was now flowing down the walls , was coming from the upstairs bathroom . Large chunks of plaster fell from the ceiling as the mopping up operation began both upstairs and down .

Meanwhile , the 5 year old boy , had found his friends and had been telling them about his little adventure in the neighbours house . The friends passed on the information to their parents and later that evening , as most of the neighbourhood were out surveying the damage , the culprit was easily identified .

His parents provided the punishment as a voice in the wilderness of a crowd of neighbours asked ‘ where’s floody now ? ‘ and a new name was bestowed .

That was over 20 years ago and to this day the young man is known locally as ‘Floody’ .

Over the past weekend , ‘Floody’ may well have been having flashbacks to his childhood as the town of Clonmel once more became engulfed in a deluge of murky brown river water .

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Our shop is right on the river , and the door from our workshop opens out onto a boardwalk right over the water . On Friday morning the river had turned a murky brown and had bugun to rise . By lunchtime the quay was being closed to traffic and the Gardai were attempting to get people to remove their cars . By 6 pm the water had begun to fill the road and was still rising .

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Saturday morning as I headed into the shop I was stopped on the bridge by 2 young civil defence ladies informing me that the Old bridge was flooded . Our car park on suir Island was still OK so I parked up and we opened for business .

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By lunchtime we were lucky to be able to get back over the bridge and through a flood on the upper part of the quay .

After lunch we were checking the level outside the back door regularly and saw it rise to within 4 feet of our shop .

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All afternoon , whenever we looked out the windows of the workshop , there was a constant stream of sightseers down to have a look at the floods . Cameras of every kind were in abundance , from RTE television to every amateur photographer and their nikons , along with mini camcorders and of course everyone was snapping away merrily with their camera phones too .

One very common sight was people standing on the edge of the flood smiling at their friends camera as they had their picture taken with the floods . Perhaps the local tourist office should market the flooding as a visitor attraction .

Then , yesterday morning , the skies had cleared and I met the group as usual for a spin . The  chosen route was ‘Ballymac’ , ie: Carrick – Clonmel – Dungarvan ( via Ballymac-arbery) and back to Carrick . This would be a challenge , not due to the terrain but rather the negotiation of floods around Clonmel . Suggestions were made and all were assured that once we hopped up onto the footpaths we’d be grand . The reality was quite a bit different .

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We managed to circumnavigate the floods on the davis road and the mall but we met our Waterloo at The old bridge . One rider suggested that we could make our way around the back of the grotto . We mounted the footpath and committed ourselves to making it through . The water became progressively deeper . We soon found ourselves with no option of turning around as water rose above our Bottom brackets . We were saturated as we exited the water behind the grotto .

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Now we discovered that due to work on the flood alleviation scheme the lane-way behind the grotto was completely closed off . Other options were searched out and if anyone in the area happened to look out their bedroom window they may have seen some multicoloured , sun-glass wearing apparitions which had nothing to do with the grotto,  staring back at them over their garden fence .

Left with no option we re-entered the water and returned to where we started from .  An earlier suggestion of a spin up the mountain road was then undertaken and normal service resumed as we proceeded on towards Clonea and back to Carrick before making the most of the tailwind home .

Today the quay is still closed but the water has gone down a lot so ‘Floody’ can rest assured that he won’t have to stand in for any photos with tourists in the near future .

Barry

www.worldwidecycles.com

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