Gerry Larkin discovered eight out of 10 cattle dead after being struck by lightning in Ballintemple, Moneygall.
© Odhran Ducie
Gerry Larkin discovered eight out of 10 cattle dead after being struck by lightning in Ballintemple, Moneygall.
A ferocious thunderstorm in Moneygall last Sunday evening resulted in the apparent sudden deaths of eight cattle who were struck by lightning.

The cattle, eight in-calf heifers, owned by local farmer Gerry Larkin were sheltering under a bush when the lethal bolt of lightning hit at around 6.30pm.

Mr Larkin discovered the calamity the following day when he went to see his stock at a farm he holds on a long-term lease at Ballintemple, Moneygall.

Ferocity

Gerry, aged 68, said he had never witnessed anything like the ferocity of the thunder and lightning in the area before.

"It was unbelievable. We appeared to be in the eye of the storm.

"The lightning actually frightened me it was so ferocious and the rain that fell - it was a deluge,"
Larkin, a married man with two children, told the Nenagh Guardian.

He said the storm lasted about 10 minutes and everything got back to normal as he milked his herd of cows at his home farm at Foxboro, Moneygall.

But little did he know then the devastation that awaited him when he went next morning to the leased outfarm two miles away in Ballintemple at around 10am.

"I found eight of my in-calf heifers lying dead where they had been sheltering under a bush," he revealed.

"I was stunned and shocked. It was a gruesome picture to see the cattle that I had reared from calves dead and lying on top of each other.

"It just seemed that they had been struck down where they were standing."

He added: "Some of them were due to calve in early September, so the financial loss is huge."

He said the dead heifers were each worth at least €1,500.

"I bred them specially down along a family line of up to five generations, so they were very high-quality cattle."

Survival

Two heifers that Larkin had kept in the same field managed to survive, possibly avoiding the lightning bolt completely.

Larkin, who is well known in the world of north Tipperary soccer as divisional treasurer for 20 years and fixtures secretary, said he would now be contacting his insurers to see if he would get compensation for his loss.

"I'm not sure about compensation, as there has been some talk that a bolt of lightning is an 'act of God', so I'm not sure about it," said Gerry.

"This has hit me financially, but with the good bit of health I'll get over it.

"Having them removed from the farm is going to cost me €130 a head, so that's more costs."

He added: "I'm going to miss the cattle because they were so quiet and docile as I reared them from birth. Finding replacements will be difficult."