A number of cattle were killed in multiple incidents involving lightning in a weekend dominated by stormy weather.

Ciaran Lynch was passing by a field in Co. Westmeath when he saw three store cattle killed in an incident on Saturday evening (May 15).

Taking to social media, he gave an account of what happened.

“Passing this field yesterday evening at 5.20pm in north westmeath and across the ditch I saw an intense white small fire along an Esb pole and stay wire,” the Farm Accounts Ltd manager said in a follow-up post on Facebook.

“Unfortunately a number of nice store cattle lost their life instantly.”

Speaking to Agriland about the incident, Ciaran said: “I noticed this really intense white fire – against the pole it looked like it was about 2ft in size. It travelled up the pole and down the stay wire back to the ground.

“This all happened in four or five seconds,” he explained.

“It actually physically threw the cattle into the air – it threw them a good 18in or 2ft…enough that you could physically see them off the ground.

“They were stone dead by the time they hit the ground as they all landed on their sides. You can see the puff of smoke [in the photo] – that was the immediate aftermath.”

The incident occurred close to Lough Lene lake, near Collinstown, between two hills.

A spokesperson for the ESB told Agriland: “ESB Networks can confirm this incident in north Westmeath which unfortunately led to the loss of some livestock.

“Once the incident was reported on Saturday, our crews mobilised quickly to make the site safe.

“ESB Networks also visited the site this morning and continue to liaise with the farmer. The root cause of the incident appears weather-related and the chain of events leading to the loss of livestock is under investigation.

Meanwhile, meteorological service Carlow Weather also highlighted that seven calves had been killed by a lightning strike near Tullow, Co. Carlow, on Saturday.

Alan O’Reilly of Carlow Weather warned: “This highlights the risk of lightning and we could see more thunderstorms tomorrow.

“Please be aware and take care,” he added.

The past weekend was dominated by stormy weather, with a number of Status Yellow weather warnings issued in recent days.

A similar incident occurred last year in Moheen, near Kilkee, Co. Clare were nine cows were killed by a lightning strike in June 2020.