Archive for February, 2014

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.

Funeral of Liam Walsh (Saor Eire), O’Connell St, 1970. Note two revolvers. Photos were in possession of the late Paddy Browne

Funeral of Liam Walsh (Saor Eire), O’Connell St, 1970. Note two revolvers. Photos were in possession of the late Paddy Browne

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.

Pieces of the statue of Theobald Wolfe Tone on St Stephen's Green, 1971. Credit - Irish Photo Archive

Pieces of the statue of Theobald Wolfe Tone on St Stephen’s Green, 1971. Credit – Irish Photo Archive

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.

Michael Gaughan's IRA guard of honour passes Daniel O'Connell statue, 1974. Credit - corbisimages.com.

Michael Gaughan’s IRA guard of honour passes Daniel O’Connell statue, 1974. Credit – corbisimages.com.

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.
22  June – Christopher Phelan stabbed to death after he came upon the UVF attempting to place a bomb on the railway line near Sallins on June 22 1975.
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.

Funeral of IRA member Tom Smith attacked in Glasnevin, 1975. Credit - Coleman Doyle via Shane MacThomais.

Funeral of IRA member Tom Smith attacked in Glasnevin, 1975. Credit – Coleman Doyle via Shane MacThomais.

Funeral of IRA member Tom Smith in Glasnevin, 1975. Credit - Coleman Doyle via Shane MacThomais.

Funeral of IRA member Tom Smith in Glasnevin, 1975. Credit – Coleman Doyle via Shane MacThomais.


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Three lads drinking. nd.

Three lads drinking, nd. (Credit – Jacolette blog)

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.

'In a Dublin All-night Drinking Den'. The Irish Times, 7 Oct 1944.

‘In a Dublin All-night Drinking Den’. The Irish Times, 7 Oct 1944.

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.

Longford (XXX) & The Irish Independent (15 March 1949)

Longford Leader (19 March 1949) & The Irish Independent (15 March 1949)


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The Irish Times, 17 April 1958.

Radio equipment and arms seized by Gardaí in Dublin. The Irish Times, 17 April 1958.

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.

The death of McNeela is reported in the press, 20 April 1940.

The death of McNeela is reported in the press, 20 April 1940.


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Image Credit: Broadsheet.ie

Image Credit: Broadsheet.ie

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 ❤ 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:

Credit: Luke Fallon.

Credit: Luke Fallon.

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Noel Lemass, Captain of the 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade IRA, had a short but eventful life. He fought in the Imperial Hotel during the Easter Rising of 1916 and was wounded while taking dispatches to the GPO. He later played an active role in the War of Independence (1919-1921) and joined the occupation of the Four Courts after taking the anti-Treaty side in the Civil War.

Noel Lemass in uniform. Credit – http://irishvolunteers.org

Noel Lemass in uniform. Credit – http://irishvolunteers.org

In July 1923, two months after the Civil War had ended, Noel was kidnapped in broad daylight by Free State soldiers. Three months later, on 13th October, his mutilated body was found on the Featherbed Mountain twenty yards from the Glencree Road, in an area known locally as ‘The Shoots’. It was likely that he was killed elsewhere and dumped at this spot.

There are many amusing anecdotes of his military career in the Witness Statements. One of my favourites is from Andrew McDonnell (BMH WS 1768) who was an officer with the Irish Volunteers and then the IRA in Dublin from 1915 to 1924. He said Noel Lemass had the:

the distinction of being the only man in the Dublin Brigade ever to commandeer a tram. Always looking for action, and willing to go anywhere to take part in a scrap, I mentioned to him once about an attack coming off, on the Naval Base, Dun Laoghaire. This was something that appealed to him, and it was arranged that she should be in Dun Laoghaire, about 10.30pm, on a fixed night. He was then attached to the 3rd Battalion. The day arrived, and Noel made frantic efforts to contact me – could we wait for him until 11 p.m. as a dinner dance, or some such, would delay him? 11 p.m. it would be, but not later. We were at the spot, on time. No sign of Noel. A tram came along, very quickly, and off stepped noel, complete in dinner jacket, coat and white scarf …

Lemass revealed to McDonnell that he had:

boarded the tram somewhere about Mount Street, going upstairs. As it got further out, passengers got fewer and fewer, until Noel was along on top, and, to this mind, progress was very slow. Slipping down the stairs, on to the driving platform, he told the driver to keep going, and fast. He did and Noel arrived on time, with the help of the conductor, who happened to be Jack Luby of the Dalkey Section.

One can only imagine the sight of Lemass, alighting of a near empty tram, decked out in dinner jacket and white scarf and ready to join an IRA attack on a British Naval Base in Dun Laoghaire.

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1977 Dublin pub reviews

I came across two reviews of pubs in the city from magazine ‘In Dublin’. Both from 1977. This issue (no. 34, Aug 1977) reviewed:

– Mulligans, Poolbeg Street
– Davy Byrne’s, Duke Street
– Kehoe’s, South Anne Street
– Grogan’s, South William Street
– Dohney and Nesbitt, Baggot Street
– Toner’s, Lower Baggot Street

Pub review. In Dublin 1977. (Credit -  David Denny2008)

Pub review. In Dublin 1977. (Credit – David Denny2008)

Later in the year, issue (no. 40, Nov 1977) reviewed:

– Bruxelles, Harry Street
– The International Bar, South William Street

Pub review 2. In Dublin 1977. (Credit -  David Denny2008)

Pub review 2. In Dublin 1977. (Credit – David Denny2008)

Nearly forty years later and all those pubs are still there. Most of them probably haven’t changed that much. Except for the price of course.

I also stumbled upon this lovely photo of O’Connell’s on South Richmond Street in Portobello. One of my favourite pubs in the city. At a guess, I’d say it was taken in the 1960s.

J. O'Connells, Sth. Richmond St. (Credit - whiskiesgalore.blogspot.ie)

J. O’Connells, Sth. Richmond St. (Credit – whiskiesgalore.blogspot.ie)

Also this snap of Doyles, then called The College Inn with The Fleet attached, on College Green opposite Trinity. It’s a great shot with red car flying past and yer man in the sheepskin jacket waiting to cross.

The College Inn (now Doyles) in 1978, College Green. (Credit - dublincitypubliclibraries.com)

The College Inn (now Doyles) in 1978, College Green. (Credit – dublincitypubliclibraries.com)

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