As part of a series of events being organised by the Dice Bar and others in Smithfield, I’ll be doing a few walking tours of the area this weekend, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The one hour tours cost €6 but include a pint (or a coffee/soft drink) in the Dice. All details are below in the poster, it’d be great if people can share notice of these events. This is being run by the Dice, just pay at the bar.
Dalymount Park, fresh from getting a pre-season lick of paint in the bars and corridors, got a lick of paint outside this weekend too as it played host to a selection of Dublin’s graffiti artists. Two-Headed Dog, Kevin Bohan, Marca Mix, Debut, Iljin, Tommy Rash, Kin Mx, Panda & Elroy and CJ Macken amongst others were involved in Dalymount’s first ever Spray Jam, with paint provided by http://www.vinnybyrne.com/ . Most are pictured below, a couple didn’t come out right, but I’ll get them again on Friday when Bohs play their first home game of the season.
The front gate and the side of the Jodi are the stand-outs in my opinion, but that’s not to take away from the other superb pieces. A long time patron of Dalymount said of the below, and I can’t but agree: “It’s the first thing a foreign or domestic visitor will see as they enter the Mecca… It’s what we’re all about, it’s a statement of intent and something to be proud about.” I’m not sure who owns what, so I’ll just put them up as I took them. Gratuitous dog shot at the end.
An attempt to collate a chronological list of all the major incidents in Dublin during the conflict in the North. If I have missed any, please leave a comment.
5 August - The UVF plant their first bomb in the Republic of Ireland, damaging the RTÉ Television Centre in Donnybrook. No injuries.
27 December – The UVF plant a bomb at the Daniel O’Connell statue on O’Connell Street. Little damage was done to the statue but the blast smashed windows in a half-mile radius.
28 December – The UVF detonate a bomb outside the Garda central detective bureau in Dublin. The nearby telephone exchange headquarters is suspected to have been the target.
3 April – Garda Richard Fallon (44) is shot by members of Saor Eire during a robbery of the the Royal Bank of Ireland at Arran Quay.
26 March – A bomb damages an electricity substation in Tallaght. An anonymous letter claimed responsibility on behalf of the UVF.
2 July – A bomb damages the main Dublin-Belfast railway line at Baldoyle. Gardaí believed it was the work of the UVF.
13 October - Saor Eire member Liam Walsh (35) is killed in a premature explosion when himself and another member Martin Casey were planting a device at a railway line at the rear of McKee army base off Blackhorse Avenue in Dublin. His funeral was attended by over 3,000 people.
17 January - Daniel O’Connell’s tomb in Glasnevin Cemetery is damaged by a Loyalist bomb. No injuries.
8 February - The Wolfe Tone statue at St. Stephen’s Green is destroyed by a Loyalist bomb. No injuries.
25 October - Saor Eire member Peter Graham (26) is shot dead in his flat at 110 Stephen’s Green in an internal feud.
30 December - PIRA member Jack McCabe (55) is killed in a premature bomb explosion in a garage, Swords Road, Santry. McCabe had been active in the IRA since the 1930s.
2 February - The British Embassy on Merrion Square is burned down in response to Bloody Sunday. A British-owned insurance office in Dun Laoghaire and Austin Reeds outfitters on Grafton Street are also petrol bombed. The Thomas Cook travel agency along with the offices of British Airlines and the RAF club on Earlsfort Terrace were also attacked.
28 – 29 October – A 12lbs bomb is planted in Connolly Station, Amiens Street by Loyalists but dismantled by the Irish Army before it went off. They are also responsible for leaving firebombs in bedrooms in four Dublin hotels (Wynns, The Gresham, The Skylon and The Crofton).
26 November – Loyalists plant a bomb outside the rear exit door of the Film Centre Cinema, O’Connell Bridge House injuring 40 people.
1 December - Bus driver George Bradshaw (30) and bus conductor Tommy Duffy (23) are killed and 127 injured in the first Loyalist car bomb planted in the Republic close to the CIÉ Depot at Sackville Place off O’Connell Street. A second car bomb exploded 7 minutes before causing massive damage to Liberty Hall and many injuries.
20 January - CIE bus conductor Thomas Douglas (25) is killed and 17 injured in Loyalist car bomb in Sackville Place off O’Connell Street. The car used in the bombing had been hijacked at Agnes Street, Belfast.
3 August – Cashier James Farrell (54) is killed by the IRA during during an armed robbery while delivering wages to British Leyland factory, Cashel Road, Crumlin.
31 October – The IRA use a hijacked helicopter to free three of their members from the exercise yard of Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. On of those who escaped was Séamus Twomey, then Chief of Staff of the IRA who was later recaptured in December 1977.
17 May - Three no-warning bombs explode in Parnell Street, Talbot Street, and South Leinster Street during rush hour. 26 people and an unborn child are killed. Over 300 are injured. Italian restaurant owner Antonio Magliocco (37) and a French-born Jewish woman Simone Chetrit (30) are amongst those killed.
8 June – Tens of thousands attend the funeral march of PIRA volunteer Michael Gauaghan from Co. Mayo who died on hunger striker in Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight.
22 March – The funeral of IRA member Tom Smith, shot dead during an escape attempt from Portlaoise Prison on St. Patrick’s Day, is attacked by Gardai. Three people, including a press photographer, are injured.
11 September – An off-duty Garda, Michael Reynolds (30), is shot dead in St. Anne’s Park by two Anarchists Noel and Marie Murray, former members of Official Sinn Fein, following an armed robbery at the Bank of Ireland, Killester.
2 October – Official IRA member Billy Wright (35) is shot by members of the organisation in his brother’s hair salon on the Cabra Road. He died in hospital on 19 October. He was targeted after he made a statement to Gardai, implicating a prominent member of the Official IRA, about an armed robbery in Heuston Station that occurred in September 1973.
28 November – Two Loyalist bombs at the arrival terminal at Dublin airport injure eight and kill John Hayes (30), an Aer Rianta employee.
3 Beresford Place, behind the Custom House on Dublin’s Northside, boasts an interesting history. As a hotel from the 1930s to the mid 1940s, it was a popular meeting place for gay men in the capital. This predated 1950s and 1960s gay-friendly pubs, Rice’s and Bartley Dunne’s, and was several decades ahead of gay community centres, the Hirschfeld (1979) and pubs, The George (1985).
For the last seventy years, the premises has been managed by the St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) to provide a “friendly location for visiting seamen.”
The always informative Archiseek website tells us that Beresford Place:
…is a short curving terrace of five houses built on an axis with the central dome of the Custom House. The terrace was designed by James Gandon in 1790 but was much simplified from his designs in execution but still shows James Gandon’s vision for the setting of the Custom House. Much dilapidated externally the interiors are relatively unremarkable. The terrace is named after the Rt. Hon. John Beresford who as Chief Wide Streets Commissioner was responsible for bringing Gandon to Ireland.
The Hotel Beresford at 3 Beresford Place was first opened in 1931 by a Ms. Mary Cahill. It offered a “most comfortable and up-to-date” stay with excellent catering and moderate terms. In 1940, the hotel was taken over by a Mrs McKeown from Co. Longford.
I’ve come across two brief mentions of the Hotel being a rendezvous spot for Dublin’s small and underground gay community.
Paul Candon in a history article, published in Gay Community News (February 1996), quotes an elderly gay man who said that in the 1930s “the popular social meeting place for men at this time was a hotel called the Beresfort” (sic).
The same person also pointed to the significance of the opening of the Parisian-style Pissoirs around the city for the Eucharistic Congress in 1932. These public toilets were widely used as a cruising spot for gay men for the next number of decades.
David Norris has commented on this activity and even specifically referenced the above public toilet in his 2012 autobiography A Kick Against The Pricks:
There was a hugely active sexual life in Dublin in the 1950s and 1960s but it was concentrated in public lavatories, because that was where society corralled gay people. I find it hard to imagine that nobody seemed to think it extraordinary to have a queue as long as you might see outside a cinema along Burgh quay, at the corner of Capel Street bridge and Ormond Quay, every weekend evening.
The second Beresford Hotel mention comes from To Live the Impossible Dream: The Life & Times of Liam Ledwidge (1997). Author John Farrell remarks on a scandal in the early 1950s, that “destroyed many a career”, when a number of gay men were arrested by the authorities. He said that the “gents” concerned were known as “the Beresford” and that they used to “stand across from the current Liberty Hall”.
If you knew where to go, it was possible to drink around the clock in 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Dublin.
When regular pubs closed at 11pm, still-thirsty revelers could travel to ‘bona-fide’ pubs on the outskirts of the city. A ‘bona-fide’ house utilised a legal loophole, dating back to early coaching days, that allowed a genuine ‘bona-fide’ traveler three miles (five in Dublin) from his place of residence to drink alcohol outside normal hours.
Some creative drinkers would send a letter to “themselves” using the address of a friend who lived the required distance away from their desired pub. They could then show the letter to the publican to give him some piece of mind. During a police raid, the publican would try to hide those who shouldn’t be there in his living quarters or rush them out a back door so they could attempt a getaway.
In a piece entitled ‘The Irish “Bona Fide Traveller” Nuisance”, The Sacred Heart Review (13 September 1902) noted:
Travelers, tramps and tourists are common the wide world over, but the so-called ” Bona Fide Traveler ” is peculiar to Ireland. Under the curious laws which govern or misgovern Ireland, it has been decreed that when any person “travels” three miles to a “public-house” on a Sunday he is entitled to all the drink he can buy, even though the Sunday closing law is in full force there. Thus a man living in the town of Kilronan can not legally enter a public-house to secure a drink, but let him walk or ride to Knooknagow, three miles away, and he can have all the drink he wants…
The United Irishman of recent issue, discussing the new Licensing Act, complains that it does not deal with the bona fide traveler scandal, and says:— ” Blackrock and Dunleary on the average Sunday night are a blot on Ireland. We heartily sympathize with the real bona fide traveler. But seventy-five per cent, of the people who travel down to Blackrock and Dunleary on Sunday evenings after seven o’clock do so for the purpose of indulging in the luxury of treating one another to drink … The bona fide traveler has become a standing joke in Dublin, and it was not, perhaps, too presumptuous to hope that the absurdity of men leaving a Dublin public-house at seven o’clock on a Sunday evening, stepping on a tram-car, and a few minutes later descending at the door of another Dublin public – house, invested with the rights of travelers, should have been considered. We have witnessed in English towns, it is true, scenes more degrading than we have witnessed in the streets of Blackrock and Dunleary on Sunday nights, but it is no excuse for an Irishman to make himself a bonham because an Englishman makes himself a hog.
There was at least one ‘bona-fide’ on each main road out of Dublin. They included Lamb Doyles (Dublin Mountains), Widow Flavin’s (Sandyford), the Dropping Well (Dartry), the Deadman’s Inn (Lucan), the Swiss Cottage (Santry), the Igo Inn (Ballybrack) and The Goat (Goatstown).
Throughout the years a number of late-night revellers, staggering or driving under the influence towards the bona-fide, were involved in deadly accidents. This was one of the main reasons for the Government abolishing the law in 1960.
If you wanted to keep on drinking after the bona-fide closed, you could travel back into the city and visit one of the ‘kips’ around Capel Street or Parnell Square. A ‘kip’ was a brothel-cum-speakeasy that sold whiskey or gin from tea cups till the early morning.
One of the City’s most famous ‘kips’ was the Cafe Continental at 1a Bolton Street near the corner of Capel Street which was in operation from the 1930s (?) to the mid 1960s. It was run by the legendary madam ‘Dolly’ Fawcett (often misspelled as ‘Fossett’ or ‘Fosset’). Annie Elizabeth, originally from Wicklow, married William Fawcett who was rumoured to have been a former Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) officer from the North who was discharged because of his relationship with her.
The Fawcett family also ran another ‘kip’ called the Cozy Kitchen on nearby North King Street.
Ostensibly an innocent late-night cafe, the Cafe Continental was a haven for late-night revelers who often carried clandestine “Baby Powers,” or miniature bottles of whiskey, which they tipped into their cups of coffee. ‘Dolly’ also served up ‘red biddy’ (mixture of red wine and methanol), poitín and water-down whiskey.
It was a popular place for ladies of the night and they’d often find clients there. So Dolly Fawcett’s would be better described as a ‘prostitute pick up-place’ as opposed to a brothel in the traditional sense of the word.
The Irish Times (7 Oct 1944) ran a front page piece about a journalist’s visit to an “all-night drinking den”. My bet would be that it was Dolly Fawcett’s.
Dolly, who lived over the Cafe Continental with her family, passed away at home on 12 March 1949. Her funeral, which took place after mass at the Pro-Cathedral, attracted a large attendance. She was highly regarded in the area for her numerous charitable acts.
Ireland has a long history of pirate radio, something I’ve looked at before in an article for Rabble that can be read here. This brief article looks at a number of political pirate radio stations that operated in Dublin, many of which were operated by the republican movement as a means of spreading propaganda.
There is no denying that pirate radio was always taken seriously by the authorities in Ireland, even when it lacked a political bent. Radio Milinda, which operated from North Gloucester Place, was raided by almost 100 Gardaí in December 1972, becoming the first pirate radio station to be raided by the authorities and prosecuted. It was not a ‘political’ station, indeed in an interesting history of the station that is available to read here, one of its founders talked about how the emphasis was very much on music, both in terms of charts and classics:
So many wonderful things happened to us in the “Milinda Days”. We met so many wonderful people. One who comes to mind straight away was James McGuinness who lived across from us in the Diamond. He had the most wonderful collection of records and I remember doing a four hour special on the life on Glen Miller thanks to his record collection. At the weekend the house was full of people who just wanted to sit around, listen and chat.
Pirate radio was often utilised in the North during the conflict there, in particular by republicans. Among the most celebrated examples of this is Radio Free Derry, which broadcast during the Battle of the Bogside in 1969. In the south, pirate radio often offered a means of countering the Section 31 legislation, which was designed to keep republican voices off the airwaves and off television screens. In 1987 for example Gerry Adams conducted a 75 minute interview with a pirate radio station in Limerick, something that was condemned by the authorities as a breach of the legislation. Even before that legislation however republicans were utilising pirate radio across the Republic.
In 1936 a reference was made in several newspapers to “the mysterious pirate radio station in the Free State”, with the Leitrim Observer noting that “Many listeners in the Free State heard the stations unknown announcer deliver a speech in which there was a denunciation of recent Government decisions. The speaker said the station had been acquired for the purposes of the Irish Republican Army.” In late 1939 a republican named Sean McNeela was sentenced to two years imprisonment for his involvement with an IRA pirate radio station which was broadcasting from Rathmines, and raided by state authorities while on air. Sentenced for “conspiracy to usurp a function of Government”, he died on hunger strike, along with Tony Darcy, in 1940.
Dublin has long prided itself on its literary heritage and history, and perhaps no work has put Dublin centre-stage in quite the same way as Ulysses. Many of the locations from Ulysses are still with us today, while others are no more. Nelson’s Pillar was lost in rather dramatic fashion, but others have just been lost to redevelopment and the changing city.
The Ormond Hotel on the quays featured in the work, with Joyce setting Sirens (Episode 11 of the work) at the hotel, with Bloom dining there. The hotel has fallen into total ruin in recent years, and not too long ago the plaque connecting it to Ulysses vanished from the front of the building, something which set alarm bells ringing for many. The front of the building has attracted quite a bit of graffiti in recent times, including the rather mad ‘I <3 SCALDY MOTS', which was there for some time and based on a quick glance online attracted more than a few camera shots.
Plans for a massive redevelopment of the site have fallen through. The Independent has reported that:
A €15m plan by investors including AirAsia boss and Queen’s Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes to demolish the capital’s Ormond Hotel to build a new hotel on the site have been shot down by Dublin City Council.
Mr Fernandes and shareholders in Monteco Holdings had wanted to construct a new five and six-storey property with 170 bedrooms in what would have been one of the latest plays by foreign investors in Dublin’s resurgent hotel sector.
But a number of well-known individuals and organisations voiced concerns over the plans by Mr Fernandes, including Mannix Flynn, Ciaran Cuffe and the James Joyce Centre.
My thanks to Luke Fallon for permission to reproduce his illustration below on the site today: