Top 5 worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland, RANKED

Ireland is well-known for its rough weather, but it could almost always be worse. Find out about the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland below. 

Tired of the wind, the rain, and the chilly temperatures? We get you. However, the Irish weather in general really isn’t as bad as you might think.

While we do admit that the Emerald Isle doesn’t have quite the best record in terms of bright sunshine, we believe four seasons in a single day is a much better deal than continuous bad weather for days on end.

None-the-less, sometimes the weather hits us hard. And we mean really, really hard.

If you are not sure what we are talking about, look at the five worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland below – and think yourself lucky if you haven’t experienced any of them first-hand.

However, if you do have personal memories, we would love to read your stories in the comment section!

5. Hurricane Charley (1986) – bringing the greatest daily rainfall 

Hurricane Charley was one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland.
Two firemen on the Ballsbridge Bridge, Dublin, during Hurricane Charley. Credit: photos.of.dublin / Instagram

Originally formed in Florida, Hurricane Charley hit Ireland on 25th August 1986 and brought heavy rainfall, strong winds, and widespread flooding.

It was responsible for at least 11 deaths on the Emerald Isle, four of which were drownings in flooded rivers. One person even died of a heart attack while being evacuated. 

Winds reached 65.2 mph, and rainfall peaked at 280 mm in Kippure, County Wicklow, setting a record for the greatest daily rainfall in the country.

More than 450 buildings were inundated, two rivers burst their banks, and crops throughout the country were destroyed. The Dublin area was amongst the worst-affected parts in the country. 

Two months after the storm struck, the Irish government allocated 7.2 million Euro to repair roads and bridges damaged by the hurricane. 

4. Storm Darwin (2014) –  setting the record for the highest waves in Irish history 

Storm Darwin set the record for the highest waves recorded in Irish history.
Cyclone Tini (as the European windstorm was called) over Ireland. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

One of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland, Hurricane Darwin hit the island on 12th February 2014.

Darwin set the record for the highest maximum waves on the Irish coast, with Kinsale Energy Gas Platform recording waves of up to 25 metres. 

The hurricane caused extreme floods along the coasts, damaged thousands of buildings across the country, and 7.5 million trees were blown down – about one per cent of the national total!

215,000 households were cut off from power and the heavy storm caused at least five deaths. 

3. Hurricane Katia (2011) – the storm that blew up the Game of Thrones set

One of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland was Hurricane Katia.
Credit: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Hurricane Katia battered Ireland in September 2011, bringing 80 mph winds, massive floods, waves of up to 15-metres on the west coast, and transport chaos all around the country.

4,000 homes were left without power, trees and buildings collapsed en masse, and ferries, trains and bus routes were cancelled. 

Among the victims of one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland was the Game of Thrones crew, filming near the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge in Northern Ireland at the time. An outdoor marquee was blown into the air and trapped several people inside and injuring one. 

Hurricane Katia originated as a tropical storm on the west coast of Africa and was classified as a category four hurricane when it hit the US coast. 

2. Hurricane Ophelia (2017) – the most recent of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland 

Storm Ophelia is one of the worst storms in recent years.
The coast of Galway during Storm Ophelia. Credit: fabricomance / Instagram

When Hurricane Ophelia swept over the Emerald Isle on 16th October 2017, it was declared the ‘worst storm to hit the island in over 50 years’. 

Record winds reached up to 119 miles per hour at Fastnet Rock in County Cork, the highest wind speeds ever recorded on the island. Over 400,000 people were left without power, public transport came to a complete halt, and many schools were closed. 

Three people sadly died as a direct result of Hurricane Ophelia while some lost their lives falling off roofs, trees, and ladders when trying to repair the damage. 

1. Night of the Big Wind (1839) – a horrific hurricane that killed 300 people 

The Night of the Big Wind was one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland.
Credit: irishtimes.com

Infamously known as one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Ireland, the Night of the Big Wind saw a massive storm hitting the country on 6th January 1839.

The category three hurricane, which brought winds reaching well over 115 miles per hour, came after a heavy snowstorm followed by an extremely mild day.

As many as 300 people died, tens of thousands were left homeless, a quarter of the households in North Dublin were damaged or destroyed, and 42 ships were wrecked. 

At the time, it was the worst storm to sweep over Ireland for 300 years. 

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Astrid Hofer works as a freelance journalist for media outlets around the world, mainly writing about travel, lifestyle, and pop culture. When she is not busy listening to live music in one of her favourite pubs, taking cheesy sunset pictures at the beach, or cliff walking, she can usually be found over a mug of hot chocolate planning her next trip.