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The ‘Night of the Big Wind’ in Ireland, 6–7 January 1839

Lisa Shields, Denis Fitzgerald


The notorious storm of 6–7 January 1839 is re-examined, and its effect on Ireland outlined. The countrywide damage as reported by contemporary newspapers and observers is described, source material is listed, and consideration is given to the social and cultural legacy of the storm. The meteorological situation of the night of 6–7 January has been reconstructed from the available data, and displayed in map form. A comparison with the recent storm of 9 February 1988 is made. The much greater damage caused by the 1839 storm suggests that there could have been thundery or even tornado-type activity in places at the height of the storm.

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Copyright © Geographical Society of Ireland | Home | Contact us | ISSN: 0075-0778 (Print), 1939-4055 (Online) | Last Update: November 10, 2021