I Lived Through the Floods of Dublin: A Survivor’s True Tale of Survival Against All Odds

(This blog entry was found among the debris in the Irish Sea after the floods of Dublin on 23-24 October 2011. This entry is repeated verbatim minus pictures, because they’re mostly naked pictures of Jamey, and no one wants to see that.)

It began with a single drop of rain.

I had gone my first two days in Ireland with nary a rainfall. I skipped through the cobblestone streets of Clontarf, blowing kisses to milkmaids and spouting limericks in all directions.

And then came the rain.

I walked out the door of my castle hotel on Sunday morning to discover a moist substance falling from the sky. Knowing not what it was, I grabbed the nearest Irishman and insisted he tell me what it was.

He told me, and I apologized for the nuisance. We then exchanged pints of Guinness and went on our way.

The skies had opened, and the rain was relentless. I traveled to Dublin city centre by bus. Before I got off the bus, the driver grabbed me by the sleeve and said with a haunted look in her eyes, “Don’t go out there, lad!”

“I can handle it,” I told her. “I can handle a little water–I dilute my orange-mango juice with it at every dinner.”

She pointed to the fare box. “I mean, don’t go out there until you pay the fair. Elevensies halfsies is the fare.”

(All Irish currency is measured by how cute it is to say the numbers. For example, a penny is 1/100th of a Euro, while 10,000 Euros is pronounced with the sound a kitten makes when it stretches after a nap.)

By the time I had my midday tea, the rain was coming down at an angle. The normally crowded streets of Dublin were…well, still very crowded, because this was nothing out of the ordinary for them.

But for me it was a sign of doomsday.

With only my Oxford peacoat to protect me, I stripped down to my Irish loincloth (like an American loincloth, but shaped like a shamrock) and ran through the streets. I just barely caught the bus back to my castle hotel, which I stormed like you would any castle hotel (through the sliding glass doors).

I was home safe. But not for long.

You see, outside the waters were rising. Gaelic beasts of yore were rising from their slumber, tasting the toes of humans on the tides.

I knew I had to act, and fast. It wouldn’t be safe in my completely, absolutely safe castle hotel for long. I had to make a run for it.

So after sleeping in (it’s my vacation, after all), I dressed properly and  ventured into the heart of Clontarf (which basically consists of a grocery store and a few quaint shops). I stocked up on chocolate and fish and chips and headed to the wharf.

The time had come. With the help of a number of Irish Rovers and Irish Setters, I pieced together a crude raft out of former Cranberries singers and corned beef.

I tested my weight against it. “She’ll hold together,” I said while looking wistfully at the sea. “Oh, she’ll hold.”

One last piece was needed: The sail. So I threw my peacoat onto one of the Cranberries and lifted it aloft, leaving me flapping nakedly in the wind.

“Set me afloat, boys!” I cried, and the Irish Setters nudged the raft into the sea with their little noses.

I turned to the shore and raised me hand to salute the Irish soil that I had called home the last few days. Then I turned my eyes and heart to the sea, calling out to the wind, “You shall never take me! This day is mine, and I shall survive!”

(Jamey’s journal was discovered a few days later just a few yards from where he set sail. His last words were scribbled in the margins: “Corned beef was a bad choice.”)

For more of Jamey’s “true” tales of survival, click here.

11 Responses to “I Lived Through the Floods of Dublin: A Survivor’s True Tale of Survival Against All Odds”

  1. Jill says:

    Aha! So you did find some setters!

  2. Anne Riley says:


  3. Katie says:

    You had me smiling and chuckling pretty good until the part where you made a raft out of The Cranberries. At that point, I lost it completely and couldn’t stop laughing. I came far too close to peeing my pants. Well done, Mr. Stegmaier–you win this round. I tip my hat to you, lad!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I should give Trev credit for thinking of the Cranberries. He reminded me that they were from Ireland before I left, and I wanted to work them into a blog post. They seemed to fit perfectly here. Plus, Coldplay wanted nothing to do with my raft.

  4. T-Mac says:

    Irish disasters just don’t sound so bad when you insert the names of their people and places into the story. I checked out the link at the top of your entry, and the second paragraph reads,

    “A major rescue operation is underway in the Wicklow Mountains after a man was swept away near Ballysmuttan Bridge, close to the Sally Gap. Members of the Glen of Imaal and Dublin-Wicklow mountain rescue teams are at the scene.”

    How could anything bad happen in the Wicklow mountains, near Ballysmuttan Bridge, or to the members of the Glen of Imaal? It all sounds like something from Lord of the Rings.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Trev–I know! I read this last night while looking for a photo for the flooding post: “In the city centre, there is flooding in Inchicore, Kimmage, Ballyfermot, Kilmainham, Harold’s Cross, Dolphin’s Barn, Donnycarney, Harrington street, Harcourt road and South Richmond street. Carysfort avenue in Blackrock is described as almost impassable due to severe flooding while heavy rain is also reported in nearby Monkstown and in Tallaght.”

      Dolphin’s Barn! Inchicore! Donnycarney! Surely these are places where people dance in the streets in unison when it floods, not take to higher ground.

      • Red says:

        My friend’s uncle is the hurling trainer for Black Rock. And Kilmainham has a famouos Gaol (read “Jail”) where James Connolly was executed for his role as one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in April of 1916.

        You’re visiting a land populated with men and interred with legends.

  5. Sarah says:

    Ah, but that’s exactly the problem! The rescue operations have far less to do with the amount of flooding, and far more to do with the fact that the drunken Irishmen dancing in the streets of Donnycarney wearing nothing but shamrock loinclothes eventually need to be saved from themselves.

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