Belfast Telegraph

Film recalls killer Belfast hurricane of 1839

By Linda Stewart

A devastating storm that claimed more than 300 lives and destroyed parts of Belfast is being brought back to life 175 years on.

The biggest storm ever recorded here battered Ireland in 1839, bringing hurricane force winds and leaving death and destruction in its wake.

Using dramatic reconstructions and special effects, a new documentary recalls the fear and suffering felt in almost every village, town and city.

Specialist interviews with climatologists, folklorists and Met Éireann reveal how the storm made the headlines in the newspapers of the day and how stories of that terrifying night became engrained in Irish folklore for generations to come.

More than 300 people were killed on one night, Belfast suffered severe damage and sea fish were found six miles inland in the aftermath of the tempest. The Oíche a Gaoithe Móire documentary, by Lagan Media, will be broadcast on January 6 on both RTE One and BBC NI.

"It was the worst storm in 300-500 years and still, to this day, has yet to be paralleled," a Lagan Media spokeswoman said. "It left severe damage to Belfast and Dublin in particular, and destroyed the mansion homes and demesnes of the very rich and the thatched cottages of the poor alike."

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