February 9th 1988 was a momentous day in the history of Bundoran as the town woke up to the havoc wreaked by an overnight storm which was the catalyst for many of the improvement works that we know today, and indeed the beginning of the notions of Waterworld – Ireland’s Premier Indoor Aqua Adventure Playground.
Met Eireann said “The first half or the month was wet and windy. Westerly winds were dominant and on 1st and 9th and major storms passed close by the northwest of the country, causing record low pressures. Both storms wreaked havoc over the country bringing down telephone and power lines causing widespread disruption of road, rail, air and sea transport”. Read the full Met Eireann report here
Major structural damage was caused all around the coast line of Bundoran from the Main Beach to the Thrupenny Pool, the Swimming Pool, West End Car Park and the Lifeboat Station.
The bathing boxes on the Main Beach were completely destroyed and would soon be demolished to create the seating area which exists to this day. Buildings at the Thrupenny Pool were demolished and never replaced. The doors of the Bundoran Rescue Station (now Bundoran Lifeboat Station) were smashed by the force of the sea, carrying the rescue boat out of the station and across to the Main Beach where it was found upturned, beyond repair, the next morning. The schools closed that day as residents came to terms with the damage that had been done.
The town swimming pool was never to be opened again following the damage from the storm, however what was a germ of an idea soon became a reality and on June 3rd 1991, just three years later, Waterworld opened its doors to the public.
It could be said that the storm resulted in some positive changes for Bundoran. Either way, the 9th of February 1988 will always be remembered.
Check out our gallery of the damage with these pictures courtesy of Joe Mc Nulty.
Here’s how the damage was reported locally.