What is snow…? Winter Storm Emma shuts down Ireland

Posted By: MatthieuSt.Amour
Posted On: March 11th, 2018
Attending: Limerick Institute of Technology

Growing up in Vermont, I am no stranger to snowstorms. Throughout the long Vermont winters, sub-zero temperatures and multiple feet of snow become the norm. Through my 22 years of living in Vermont, I have never been affected by a snowstorm more than this past week in Ireland.

Winter storm Emma came through and hit the entire country of Ireland. It brought up to 40 cm of snow in some places, which is about 16 inches of snow for my American readers. People went crazy!!! It was a respectable amount of snow, but very much a run of the mill snowstorm in the Northeast of the United States. The biggest difference between the two areas is the way storms are dealt with. The problem in Ireland is that they aren’t prepared for these kinds of storms, as this was the biggest snowstorm in the past 30 years. Ireland has limited salt, no (few) snowplows, and even shovels are scarce. The entire country shut down for 3+ days.

My family and I traveled to Dublin on Wednesday, right before the storm started. We had planned the trip well in advance and looked forward to doing some site-seeing in Dublin before heading back to Limerick on Friday. We were able to make it to Dublin before the snow started a little bit Wednesday evening. Then the snow started again Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning. All of Dublin was shut down for Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately. the storm kept us around the hotel for most of the day because many of the tourist attractions were closed. However, it wasn’t all bad because it allowed me to spend some really good quality time with my family. It was so weird to walk around Dublin with no one walking around, no one driving, and everything shut down. There was even a stretch during the night when the power went off everywhere. It reminded me of a mix between the movies “The Purge” and “I am Legend” (both great, but scary movies). It wasn’t the trip to Dublin that my family had in mind, but it was a really fun 3 days with a lot of stories.


Since the eastern part of the country was getting hit really hard, Dublin was one of the areas with the most snow. We tried to head back to Limerick on Friday, but all of the buses and roads were closed. We tried again Saturday but all of the buses and trains to Limerick were still closed. So we had to get creative because I had a game the next day. We ended up getting a bus to Galway and then a bus down from Galway to Limerick. This ended up being about an 8-hour journey, when Limerick is only around 2.5 hours away from Dublin. This was an interesting end to a pretty chaotic 3+ days. It was great to witness one of the biggest snowstorms in Ireland’s history.    

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