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Snow traps tourist buses in Sally Gap  Oct 30, 2008

Tourists had to be brought down from the Wicklow Mountains yesterday when sightseeing buses got stuck in heavy snow, according to local eyewitnesses.

Michael Lynham of Lynhams Hotel in Laragh, Glendalough, said he used his tractor to help with one incident which occurred near Roundwood.

“A bus got caught up there with 42 passengers from all over the world. It was heading from the Sally Gap to Roundwood,” he said.

“We went up with a tractor and a couple of jeeps. We took the passengers off in the jeeps and the tractor pulled the bus.”

Mr Lynham said nobody was hurt and the emergency services were not called. “They wouldn’t be needed. When you live around the Wicklow Mountains, you get used to this kind of thing,” he said.

Another incident involving a tourist bus occurred near the Glencree Reconciliation Centre, according to local resident Keith Manning. “I just happened to be going up behind them. I was going tobogganing with my kids, when the driver flagged me down.”

Mr Manning said there were 35 passengers on the bus. “I put five older people in the jeep and everybody else started walking initially. I went back and picked people up along the road.”

Some of the sightseers stopped at the Coach House in Roundwood, where employee Teresa Jameson said: “Around 40 came in for soup. Some were American, some were French. They were as happy as Larry, nobody was vexed. They were all in good spirits, these things happen.”

Tour bus companies contacted by The Irish Times said they did not have any information that their vehicles had been involved in the reported incidents.

A spokesman for the Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team urged people thinking about taking to the hills this weekend to be careful. “In the context of the poor weather conditions we are experiencing at the moment, anyone planning to go hillwalking should take precautions, ensure that they wear appropriate clothing and let people know when they intend to return,” he said.

Meanwhile, the wintery weather in Leinster and Ulster will be a “short-lived phenomenon”, according to the experts. Met Éireann meteorologist Gerry Scully said sleet and snow would be turning back into rain as temperatures continued to rise. Today will be a brighter, sunnier day with some showers.

“The west and southwest will be largely dry with the best of the brighter, sunny periods. The further west you go, the better chance you have of having a dry and bright day. By Friday, showers will be few and far between but still a bit on the cool side.”

Meanwhile, some 20,000 motorists have been left facing major disruption in Cork after a stretch of the Lower Glanmire Road in the city collapsed into the river Lee yesterday during construction work by a contractor working for Iarnród Éireann, writes Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent, in Cork.

The section of roadway near the Skew Bridge in Tivoli collapsed into the River Lee at about 11am yesterday when Ascon was carrying out work to broaden the roadway to link it with a new bridge being built over the Cork-Cobh railway line near Bellevue Villas.

It is understood piling work was carried out in the river to support a broadening of the road to accommodate the bridge and, in the course of excavating material inside the piled area, 30 metres of quay wall collapsed.

Snow traps tourist buses in Sally Gap
Local people ferried the tourists out of the mountains in 4x4 vehicles / Photograph by Garry O'Neill

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