Belfast Telegraph

Cool-headed Selina tells how she dealt with a Mini drama as waves rushed in

By Michael McHugh

A social worker who drove to safety as waves broke around her during Storm Eleanor said God would protect her.

Social media footage showed Donegal woman Selina Callaghan motoring along the surging waterline in her Mini towards safety and a car park exit.

The 28-year-old said she was "cool, calm and collected".

She had been celebrating the new year with friends in Galway on the west coast and was watching the growing swell from the promenade at Salthill on Tuesday night.

She said: "Yesterday was like a walk in the park, fire is much more harmful than water, you just need to respect the water and it will respect you."

Irish authorities had issued their second highest alert.

Winds of up to 100mph wreaked significant damage and caused flooding on the Atlantic coast.

Pictures from Galway city centre on Tuesday evening showed cars ploughing through high water and business owners struggling to protect their properties.

Rescuers waded through knee-high water.

One car bobbed in the high coastal waters and drivers attempted to reach safe ground.

Ms Callaghan, from Kerrykeel near Letterkenny, only returned to the country 10 weeks ago after spending five years in Australia.

She and a couple of friends were in Galway for the celebrations and were watching the storm nearby. They moved their cars to the back of the car park as the water came closer.

"It happened that quick, by the time we parked there, literally the waves were coming, the water was getting deeper and deeper, nearly coming into our cars. The panic stations were on for my friend. I was like: 'Just relax'."

She said she was not afraid. "Only by the grace of God, I get through everything. I was at the beach because the beach is my favourite place in the world. I love the beach because it makes me calm, I feel close to God.

"I know that he will look after me, I don't need to fear."

She said she knew exactly what she was doing. "I would not put myself in a risky situation, I am literally heading out of a risky situation, I am not putting myself at any form of risk."

Belfast Telegraph

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