The New Versions: Bibby, Moylett, Kiang & Byrne in 1978. Credit - Irishrock.org

The New Versions: Bibby, Moylett, Kiang & Byrne in 1978. Credit – Irishrock.org

Thirty-three years after its release, a rare and essential Dublin New Wave single has finally made it online. The New Version’s ‘Like Gordon of Khartoum’ was released by Mulligan Records in 1981. It has somehow evaded a digital airing until now. Thanks to the uploader.


The New Versions (1978-82) were:

- Ingmar Kiang (aka Iggy Kiang) on Vocals and Guitar
– Johnny Byrne (1956-97) on Bass
– Regine Moylett on Keyboards
– Paul Bibby on Drums

Ingmar Kiang, son of Chinese-born Irish astronomer Professor Tao Kiang, was a Trinity College student when he co-launched “Dublin’s first mobile Punk Rock disco” in early 1978 with his pal Mark Ryan who worked in a “Grafton Street hamburger restaurant”. Presumably the recently enough opened McDonalds or Captain Americas?

Ryan & Kiang. Credit - The Sunday Independent (8 January 1979)

Ryan & Kiang. Credit – The Sunday Independent (8 January 1978)

Fed up with 70s disco music, the pair launched a DJ night called Snots in TCD’s New Library offering Punk/New Wave and 1950s Rock n Roll. They told the Sunday Independent (8 January 1978):

We’re in it for the fun, we don’t charge in … We toyed first with calling our disco Scabies until a girl friend of mine came up with Snots. [Our posters say] ‘Snots will be appearing under your nose’.

Regine Moylett with her sister Susan launched their ‘New Romance’ punk/new wave clothing store in the Dandelion Market in July 1978. Their brother John (aka Johnny Fingers) found fame as keyboard player with The Boomtown Rats while another brother Pat was the original drummer with Berlin and later became their manager.


Originally a trio called Sordid Details, playing their first gig supporting U2 and Revolver on 17th March 1978 in the Project Arts Centre, the band added Moylett on keyboards and changed their name to the New Versions in the summer of ’78.

During their four year careers, the band played all the main live music venues in Dublin, supported a number of touring bands and were part of one of the first New Wave tours of Ireland with fellow Dublin band Berlin.

They appeared on the definitive Irish Punk/New Wave sampler ‘Just For Kicks‘ released in 1979 with ‘Tango of Nerves’.

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(Image Credit: Thanks to Garry O'Neill, 'Where Were You')

(Image Credit: Thanks to Garry O’Neill, ‘Where Were You’)

In October 1966, young teenagers grabbed national media attention by demonstrating on the streets of Dublin against the hugely negative attention that was being brought onto ‘Beat Clubs’ by the press and authorities. A part of the popular ‘Mod’ youth culture of the period, these were clubs were youngsters danced away to the popular hits of the scene. Amidst scare stories that these emerging popular youth music clubs were attracting drug users and trouble makers, a small determined band of teens paraded down O’Connell Street and other city centre streets with placards proclaiming “WE ARE NOT DRUG ADDICTS”, WE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT” and “THIS IS 1966 NOT 1906″. One placard even proclaimed that “IT’S A MOD WORLD.” Teenagers handed a petition with 2,500 signatures on it into Leinster House for the attention of the Minister for Justice

The Sunday Independent noted that “onlookers who watched yesterday’s marchers were left in little about about how the city’s teenagers feel about the accusations which have been levelled against them both by the Garda authorities and in Dail Éireann.” To the paper it was Dublin’s “most colourful and possibly most enthusiastic protest”, with “mini skirts and trouser-suits, long hair and beards: blasting loudspeakers, chanting teenagers and screaming motor cycles.”

The issue of Beat Clubs was raised in the Dáil on more than one occasion in the 1960s. On one occasion a Fine Gael TD, Paddy Harte, asked a government Minister to clarify just what ‘Beat’ and ‘Beat Clubs’ meant. Unsatisfied with the response, he stated “obviously the Minister does not know. He is a square.”

The media interest in teenagers and the places they congregated in the 1960s and 70s makes for interesting reading material today. In 1970 it was reported by the Sunday Independent that “”fifty teenage girls from Finglas are to boycott a Dublin Beat Club were they dance six times a week and spend about £2 each, because the club has banned Dublin’s newest cult, “girl skinheads.” One of the girls told the press that “we go with boys who are skinheads and weirdos, but we are definitely not looking for rows because we got our hair cut like this.”

Sunday Independent 19 April 1970.

Sunday Independent 19 April 1970.

The Four Corners of Hell was the colloquial name given to the junction where New Street, Patrick’s Street, Kevin’s Street and Dean Street met in The Liberties, Dublin 8.

In the shadow of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this crossroads was infamous for having a public house on each corner and the immediate area after closing time was legendary for its rowdy crowds and punch ups. Revelers from rival neighborhoods or families would pour out onto the streets when the pubs shut and would settle old scores and new disputes with their fists. Famed local cop Lugs Brannigan and his men based out of nearby Kevin Street Garda station would often have their work cut for them. Its heyday was from the 1950s to the early 1980s.

Illustration of The Four Corners of Hell. Credit - Sam (CHTM!)

Illustration of The Four Corners of Hell. Credit – Sam (CHTM!)

The cross-roads is almost unrecognisable today now due to the demolition and road widening that occurred in the 1980s.

The shaded buildings were demolished. Credit - Irish Times (13 May 1985)

The shaded buildings were demolished by the council. Credit – Irish Times (13 May 1985)

The four pubs were as follows:

1. Kenny’s
2. Quinn’s
3. O’Beirne’s
4. Lowe’s

Arial shot of the Four Corners of Hell, nd. Credit - 'Growing up in the Liberties's' FB page

Arial shot of the Four Corners of Hell, nd. Credit – ‘Growing up in the Liberties’s’ FB page

1. Liam Kenny’s on the corner of 49 Patrick Street and 9 Dean Street. Status – Building demolished and currently the site of a 99c store.

In the 1920s, the pub was run by a F. Martin and was known as Martin’s Corner. In February 1921, he was robbed at gunpoint by a man who made off with £10.

Publican Joseph Cody took over the premises around 1950. He had previously ran a pub at 21 Braithwaite Street in the nearby inner city area of Pimlico.

The Irish Times (12 January 1949) reported that two local men late one night the previous August had produced a pistol, forced themselves into the bar, asked for a dozen stout and whiskey and then shot and broke a bottle of wine and a mirror. Christopher Dunne (32) and Laurence Tierney (26), both of New Street, were found guilty of being in a possession of a firearm without a certificate. Dunne was sentenced to six months hard labour while Tierney was given a suspended sentence of nine months and bound to keep the peace for three years. The duo were found not guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, conspiracy and armed robbery.

[The aforementioned Christopher Dunne was father of career criminal Christy 'Bronco' Dunne Jr. who along with his brothers were chiefly responsible for flooding the city with heroin in the late 1970s and 1980s].

On 5 October 1949, landlord Cody was fined £12 for having opened his pub during prohibited hours on April 10th (Good Friday) last. Twelve men were found on the premises by police. On 3 January 1951, now based in Dean Street in the Four Corners of Hell, Cody was again fined (£1) for allowing two women to drink in his bar after closing time.

On 21 November 1953, William Jackson (24) of Dowker’s Lane off Lower Clanbrassil Street was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for having stolen £7 from a cash box in Cody’s pub. Two others, Patrick Dandy (24) of Oliver Bond House and Thomas Claffey of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin were sentenced to 12 month’s imprisonment each.

On 14 September 1954, Kilkenny-born John Kelly (40) with an address on Cork Street was sentenced for four months imprisonment for assaulting Joseph Cody. The publican was shoved down the stairs, kicked repeatedly and received two black eyes in the attack.

On 9 August 1955 it was reported in The Irish Times that Mrs. Breda Cody, landlord Joseph’s wife, was brought before the District Court to “answer a complaint that she had taken a widow’s pension order book in exchange … for intoxicating liquor … and had failed to return it”. She was bound to be of good behaviour for two years. His husband was fined 10- for opening his premises on Good Friday on which the incident involving the pension book occurred. The family were going through a difficult patch. Mr. Cody admitted that:

… they were unable to make ends meet … (and) unable to pay a mortgage on the premises … They had not even a home now and were allowed by the purchaser of the premises to leave their furniture temporarily in them.

As far as I can tell, Liam Kenny took over the premises in 1963 and it was known as Kenny’s thereafter.

Liam Kenny's, 1970. Credit - Dublin City Photographic Collection.

Liam Kenny’s, 1970. Credit – Dublin City Photographic Collection.

In the mid 1980s, a large area of Patrick Street and Dean Street was taken over and demolished by the Council using compulsory order. Patrick Street was to be widened and lands to the west of Patrick Street to be used for housing and development purposes. After years of stalled building work and planning objections, the seven-story apartment block ‘Dean Court’, comprised of 200 apartments in eight separate blocks, was put on the market in 1994.

The shop front where Kenny’s once stood was a Chartbusters video rental shop and is currently a 99c discount newsagent.

Where Kenny's once stood. Corner of Dean Street and Upper Patrick Street. Credit - myhome.ie

Where Kenny’s once stood. Corner of Dean Street and Patrick Street. Credit – myhome.ie

2. Quinn’s on the corner of 50 Patrick Street and 31/31A Upper Kevin Street. Status – Demolished, replaced by pub (now closed) and apartments.

P. Kenna, Tea Wine & Spirit Merchant 50 Patrick Street Dublin. c. 1900. Credit - @OldDublinTown

P. Kenna, Tea Wine & Spirit Merchant 50 Patrick Street Dublin. c. 1900. Credit – @OldDublinTown

This pub was previously known as P. Kenna’s (see above), Kiernan’s (c. mid 1900s – 1920s), Cahill’s (1930s), Brannigan’s (mid 1940s) and Hamilton’s (late 1940s).

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This weekend sees the inaugural Street Stories Festival happening in Stoneybatter and Smithfield. There’s a wide variety of talks, walks, gigs and more taking place over the weekend, beginning tonight and carrying right through to Sunday. The majority of the events are free to attend and below we’ve listed a few we think are particularly interesting, along with the information on venues and times.

Tonight sees it all begin with David Jazay, a photographer and film maker, talking about photographs he took in a Dublin before the Celtic Tiger. Jazay took many photographs of Dublin life in the late 1980s and early 1990s, showing a city that would witness huge change in the decade ahead. From shop owners to long-since redeveloped streets, the images mostly compromise Dublin’s inner-city areas.

Tonight in the Cobblestone, 7.30pm.

William Gallagher of Martin+Joyce's Butcher shop, Benburb Street (David Jazay)

William Gallagher of Martin+Joyce’s Butcher shop, Benburb Street (David Jazay)

Tomorrow there are a wide variety of historical talks, covering both local history and the larger picture. At 12.30PM Liz Gillis, author of ‘The Fall of Dublin’, will be discussing the North King Street Massacre in 1916 in The Cobblestone. Brian Hanley is talking at 2.30PM on Dublin in the First World War, with that talk taking place in The Generator, Smithfield. 2.30PM also sees archaeologist Franc Myles discuss ‘Smithfield Through The Ages’ in The Cobblestone. One of the very first meetings hosted by the local history society, Myles packed the pub out before on the theme of Smithfield’s early development and history. At 4.30PM Las Fallon will be talking about ‘Dublin Fire Brigade and the Irish Revolution’, revealing that some firefighters were in the business of starting fires and not stopping them during the revolutionary period! That talk takes place in the Elbow Room, at 32 North Brunswick Street.

The Four Courts ablaze in 1922.

The Four Courts ablaze in 1922.

On Sunday two walks have been organised to coincide with the festival. Firstly, there is a walk looking at the role of women in the Irish revolution leaving from the O’Connell Street Spire at 2pm. At 4pm, the ever-entertaining Alan MacSimoin will be taking people on a walking tour of historic Smithfield, covering everything from Vikings to film stars and back again.

More information on the festival and the wide variety of talks taking place can be found here.

To give an idea where the venues are, this map should come in handy. They are all a handy stroll from one another.


King Billy on the chain.

The office of the Lord Mayor have an official page over on Facebook, which I recently stumbled upon. It reminded me of something I’d wish to look at briedly on the site before, which is the Lord Mayor’s chain. It is photographed here on  our current Lord Mayor, veteran republican Christy Burke.

What people tend not to notice is the presence of a certain William III on the chain, better known to us today as King William of Orange. The current Lord Mayor’s chain of Dublin was completed in 1698, only eight short years after the Battle of the Boyne and within the lifetime of William. The previous Lord Mayor’s chain showed Charles II upon it, who commissioned the first Lord Mayors Chain for the city.

The original Lord Mayor’s chain, according to W.G Strickland, was taken by Sir Terence McDermott, Lord Mayor of the city who who fled to France during the religious wars of the  late seventeenth century. What became of it remains a mystery. Bartholomew Van Homrigh, the Lord Mayor of Dublin following William’s victory at the Boyne, was first to wear the William III chain, and it  was valued at the time at £1,000.  A Dutch merchant, Van Homrigh expressed his hope that “in everlasting memory of the great services of William III to the Protestant inhabitants and as a mark of his royal grace and favour” William would bestow  such a chain upon the city.

Thanks to Póló for this image showing clear detail of William III.

Thanks to Póló for this image showing clear detail of William III.

Kathleen Clarke, widow of 1916 leader Tom Clarke, made headlines in Ireland and further afield by refusing to wear the chain during her time in office. Dublin’s first female Lord Mayor, Clarke objected to the symbolism of the chain. Clarke also removed a portrait of Queen Victoria from the Mansion House, stating that “I felt I could not sleep in the Mansion House until  she was out of it.”  During her time in office Northern unionists asked the city of Dublin, perhaps tongue-in-cheekly, to hand over both the William city chain and the portrait of Victoria. Perhaps they were unaware that the words ‘Erin Go Bragh’, or ‘Ireland Forever’ in English, are inscribed on the Belfast Lord Mayor’s equivalent, but that’s a story for another blog….

Archive footage of Clarke speaking has been uploaded by RTE to YouTube:

Dear, Dirty Dublin.

My thanks to Luke Fallon for providing these images, we’ve posted some of his images before on the site (for example the Croppies Acre memorial) and it’s a nice dimension to the blog that looks at Dublin today and not just the historical city.  Included here are some recent events in the city, such as the demolition of the Charlemont Street flats and the All City Tivoli Jam, along with images of life in the city.

Charlemont Street flats demolition.

Charlemont Street flats demolition.

A posing dog.

A posing dog.

Theobald Wolfe Tone memorial, Stephen's Green.

Theobald Wolfe Tone memorial, Stephen’s Green.

Liffey boardwalk.

Liffey boardwalk.

Stephen's Green.

Stephen’s Green.

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A curious feature of The Irish Times in  the late 1970s was the frequent appearance of advertisements paid for by the North Korean state, detailing Kim Il-Sung’s thoughts and ideological positions on a wide range of issues. The advertisement below, which declared Let Us Smash The Two Koreas Plot and Peacefully Reunify The Country! is a typical example, showing a picture of Kim Il-Sung alongside a message read at “the 30th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”

The Irish Times, 22 February 1979.

The Irish Times, 22 February 1979.

Kim Il-Sung’s face would have been a regular sight for readers of the paper, appearing sometimes on a monthly basis.  The advertisements referred to him by a variety of titles including ‘Great Leader’ and ‘Comrade’. The first reference I found to these advertisements was within The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party. In the book, Sean Garland, a leading figure in the Official Republican movement, talked about visiting North Korea and informing authorities there that “putting full-page ads into The Irish Times of Kim Il-Sung’s thoughts was a waste of money because nobody fucking read them.” Curiously, The Irish Times itself reported in April 1976 that “after spending a fortune on propaganda material extolling its economic achievements in recent years, North Korea is now virtually bankrupt….the propaganda mainly took the form of advertisements, many of them in western papers.”

The Irish Times, 16 February 1978.

The Irish Times, 16 February 1978.

The Irish Press wrote about the advertisements in April 1976 calling them “indescribably boring”, and noting that the advertisements were “carefully camouflaged to resemble the paper’s own editorial matter.” Readers of the Dublin-based newspaper saw only the same official state portraits of Kim Il-Sung. In the North Korean media, it was common practice to reprint these Western advertisements as if they were news reports and not paid content. Certainly, they are some of the most unusual advertisements to ever appear in Irish newspaper history.

An interesting comment followed us posting this piece on Facebook. It was highlighted there that in the 1970s the library of Trinity College Dublin was presented with a series of books on Kim Il-Sung by the “State Central Library of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” Images of the books have been posted to Facebook by DH History, the history society of the university.

A gift to TCD from the DPRK. Via www.facebook.com/duhistory

A gift to TCD from the DPRK. Via http://www.facebook.com/duhistory


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