Lanesboro native
recalls hurricane horror

It’s probably fair to say the past nine months has been a whirlwind in more ways than one for Longford emigrant Peggy Murray.

It’s probably fair to say the past nine months has been a whirlwind in more ways than one for Longford emigrant Peggy Murray.

Like thousands of others, the Lanesboro mother of two awoke last August to find her husband, Barry’s business - The Kilkenny House restaurant - standing in 12 feet of water.

Faced with a $300,000 bill from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and just days before its third anniversary, the business teetered on the brink of closure.

None of those thoughts, in truth, ever entered the minds of the New Jersey based couple as they, together with the help of a close-knit Cranford community rebuilt the Irish themed establishment.

“The first day after there was just water everywhere,” Peggy recalled earlier this week. “The whole business was destroyed, the basement, refrigerators, office and all the food was gone.”

Apathy soon turned to resolve, the sort of tenacity which led to the business’ shock re-opening just six weeks later.

Having secured an SBA Disaster Loan, the funds helped pay contractors as repair work was carried out.

That, in reality, formed only part of a story, perhaps more commonly seen in Hollywood blockbusters.

“I have my own job, that is true,” said the pharmaceutical employee.

“We have a saying that I would never want Barry behind my desk and he wouldn’t want me behind the bar. This (recovery) showed what can be achieved with goodwill and community support.”

This week, the bar was officially awarded the SBA’s Phoenix Award, an honour which Peggy put down to old fashioned hard work and unwavering doggedness.

“The day after (Hurricane Irene) Barry walked down the street and a person handed him $100 just like that,” she added.

“Now, so many people have used the example of Killkenny House to rebuild their own operations. It’s just fantastic, it really is.”