Posts Tagged ‘Dublin Life’

“The pirate buses used to go around to all different routes. Oh, they could go anywhere they liked. They weren’t confined to one route – a free-for-all! There was no bus stops, anybody could just put up their hand and stop you anywhere. Oh, they’d cut one another’s throats.” (George Doran in Dublin Street Life and Lore, Kevin C. Kearns)

Prior to the Dublin United Tramways (Omnibus Services) Act, 1925., Dublin’s streets were akin to the high seas with privateers commanding routes at will in their ships (buses) with names adorning their sides such as the Whiteline Bus Co., the Blueline and Excelsior Bus Company and the Old Contemptible Omnibus Company. The act empowered the Dublin United Tramways Company to ‘provide and maintain omnibus services in the city and county of Dublin’ and was to spell the end for the private (or as they became known, pirate) bus companies as one by one they dropped off or were consumed by DUTC. The act was in part a response to the marauding pirates who, free from regulation were a law onto themselves. Their presence was seen as an affront to the city’s traditional tramlines, and a perhaps a signal of the demise of her once famed tram system.



The pirates had several tricks up their sleeves and at all times were on the make- their goal was to pick up as many customers as possible and free from the constraints of the electric lines required for lighting and moving the carriages used on the tramways, were better able to navigate Dublin’s streets. Because of this, the buses were known to slowly drive along lines, delaying trams and allowing their colleagues to race ahead and poach customers. In response, tram drivers would sandwich buses front and back and refuse to move until they had emptied.

The pirates were notorious for their ill behaviour- not just against the tram drivers but also among themselves. In the words of  tram driver William Condon, “Oh they were a desperate gang. They wore their own clothes, no uniforms. And they’d blow their horns at one another and hurling words and shaking their fists at one another. The attitude in the pirate business was, ‘I’ll do it my way,’ and rough language.” (Dublin Voices: An Oral Folk History, Kevin C. Kearns.)

The Old Contemptible Omnibus Company formed in 1924 and was owned by a Kathleen Gilbert of Clontarf. Its initial route ran from Eden Quay to Abbeyfield in Killester,  “primarily to serve the ex-servicemen’s housing estate built there in the aftermath of the first World War.” (Irish Times, April 4th 2016.) Their drivers tended to be veterans of the war and their fantastic name stems from military lore, with survivors of the British Expeditionary Force post WWI dubbing themselves “The Old Contemptibles” due to a dismissive quote by Emperor Wilhelm II.  Their routes would later expand to Philipsburgh Avenue, Howth and Dollymount using 26-seater and 32-seater buses manufactured by Guy Motors in Wolverhampton.

contemptible bus in Fairview

An alleged Contemptible Omnibus in Fairview

The Old Contemptibles weren’t the only soldiers on the road, with the same article stating “after the end of the Civil War in 1923, some ex-servicemen used their demobilisation gratuities to buy a small bus, taking advantage of the lack of regulation to compete with each other and with the tramway company and railways.”

The Company was not averse to the ill feeling between the privateers and the DUTC, with both appearing in Dublin Circuit Court in April 1927 pursuing counter claims against each other for an accident that happened the previous October. Reading from the Court Notes, it appears a ‘Contemptible’ bus and a ‘DUTC’ bus were involved in a collision near Liberty Hall, as they both looked to be racing for the same spot on the road. “On behalf of the tramways company it was submitted that as their ‘bus emerged from the archway, the ‘Contemptible’ bus was obviously making for the same archway, and was only about 50 feet away. The tramway ‘bus came to a stop without any danger or trouble, but the other driver made no attempt to avoid it and crashed into it. The driver of the ‘Contemptible’ ‘bus was, it was stated, on his wrong side and was not going for the proper arch at all.” (Irish Times, April 8th 1927)

In time, the DUTC would vanquish Dublin’s pirates, little by little buying out the myriad of companies and it would be over 80 years until their descendants in Dublin Bus would relinquish control of their routes to privateers again.


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There was once a stage where I’d go out at least once a week with my camera, but the long dark winter nights never did anything for my productivity or enthusiasm and as such, I’ve failed miserably over the last couple of months. Now that the evenings are getting brighter, its time to get back on the horse (read ‘bike’) and get the camera out again…The snaps below were taken over two nights, one recent, the other not so recent.

The Docklands is a great place for a wander with a camera. Its less than five minutes cycle from O’Connell Bridge, but its a world away. I’ll hopefully have another piece up next week from the area around the port itself. Below, I never noticed that you could see Lansdowne Road from the Liffey before. I took this at the time, and then on a bus the other day with Donal from this here parish and he saw it and said “that’s a great snap…” Well, here you are. A bit grey but…


Apologies for the quality of the below snap, it was taken from the other side of the Liffey and daylight was starting to fade. For the sheer size of the piece its worth a look, must be at least thirty foot long. Sam has previously published a series of articles on Dublin graffiti artists, and the entry for UEK can be found here.

003 copy

Below is a close-up of the sign you can see in the distance in the first image. A strange little area this, with locks and little bridges over docks off the Liffey. Looks like a great place for undisturbed midsummers drinking all the same…



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Its been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Normally I take a load of snaps in one afternoon and pick out the seven or eight that stand out the most. I haven’t done so in the last while but I have managed to cobble together a few pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks for a post anyways.

Below is a picture I took whilst putting up flags pre-game a couple of weeks ago, I think against Sligo. Obviously I’ve photoshopped it ever-so-slightly, but I like the contrast between the pitch and the dark clouds on the horizon. Arty.

Dark clouds over Dalymount

Below is a mad spot on the way home from work the other day. Anyone who can tell us where this is wins a date with your choice of CHTM! author at a venue and date of your choosing. You’re paying though.

There's a car under there somewhere


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It really seemed to be one of those catchphrases in the run up to the visit. The visit would lead to euro notes growing on trees and coins spewing out tourists arses. Well, having had an English tourist sleeping on my couch for the last few days, I can tell you that the QEII visit was far from “great for tourism.” While he got some cracking shots of Dublin City’s landmarks, most were marred with lines of luminous jackets in front. He got little sleep due to the incessant buzz of the Garda helicopter hovering low across the city, awoken early by Garda spotters / snipers taking postion on the roof above our living room window, and found the welcoming atmosphere of Dublin City somewhat dampened by the presence of 8, 000 Gardai, pockets brimming with overtime cash.

I could bore you with stories of how it took me two hours to get from one side of O’Connell Street to the other, or of getting stopped and searched twice within the space of a minute, or of my flatmate being refused entry to our street, but as they say, a picture paints a thousand words. Cheers to, again, English tourist Alex S for all the snaps.

The view from the window.


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Still without my camera, Canon have stolen it from me and holding it for a ransom I just can’t afford right now. So the camera on the phone it is, I’ve started taking pictures, and a simple thing like not actually having a camera at the moment isn’t going to stop me.

Good yokes are back in town

These Philo posters have been appearing all over town recently, someone said they had something to do with Whelans? Either way, the above gave me and Donal a laugh after our recent Crackbird feast.


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Excitement has been building up in the CHTM! extended family over the last week; not just amongst the League of Ireland affecionados but amongst a few others who have not yet made the pilgrimage to Dalymount on derby day. A couple of them will be popping their LOI cherry, while some more are returning after long absences; such is the draw of Dublin’s El Classico.
The last time I wrote about this particular fixture was during last season’s title run-in, one post praying for a victory and then another celebrating a hard fought win with a sore head. A new season, and everything / nothing has changed, depending on how you look at it. Rovers have arguably the best squad in the League, while Bohs hopes this season rest on the shoulders of youngsters like Flood and Fagan. A big ask for a young squad, but their performances this season have put the smile back on a few faces- they’ve been giving it socks each game, something you expect from a Bohs side, but didn’t always get last season.

Be there

Crowds this season are up, with Sligo and Derry drawing the guts of two and a half thousand a game and Rovers getting their usual “full house.” One thousand tickets have gone to them for this game, and I expect a crammed Jodi Stand for Bohs. With Rovers in the shed, the proximity of both sets of fans is going to make for one hell of a game. While the pull of this game is understandable, hopefully those making their trip to Dalymount for the first time, or for the first time in a while, realise that football in this country isn’t going to survive unless there are heads coming through those gates week in, week out. (A few quid spent in the bar or the club shop wouldn’t go astray either…) What should be a tight, and tense affair may go some way to attracting people back. My heart is already in my mouth, and I truly can’t wait to get up to Dalymount on Friday. Derby day is always special, lets hope this one is no different.

Come on Bohs.

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We… well I, was thinking about  launching an April Fools prank on here tomorrow to see how far it would spread (if it spread at all,) but these things rarely work well, and if they do, its the elaborate ones that do and I’m far too hungry to think of one of those. It got me thinking though of pranks that have been played out in this city. Below is my top five:

Save the Park!

5) Save the Park, 2006. In 2006, more than 250k listeners to the RTE radio programme “Mooney goes Wild on One” were informed of impending government plans as per a report entitled “Amended Programme for Rail, Integrated with Luas; First Official On- line Report” to build a dual carriageway with ten metre high screening walls down Chesterfield Avenue in the middle of the park. It was announced protestors had arrived to demonstrate the abominable plans. Pity they didn’t cop the abbreviation of the report spelt out APRIL FOOL.

"Like icebergs it was. Icebergs floating down the canal."

4) Icebergs on the Grand Canal, 1968. Not an April Fool this one, but an October one. October 1968 to be precise. JayCarax has an interesting piece on this here, that I’d only be doing an injustice in trying to re-hash for this piece. Just think of your average “Fairy Liquid in the fountain” trick times twenty.


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The Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band. Brilliant, as always.

Big Jim Larkin, outside Dublin Castle. The Sun made for a beautiful day.

Always come prepared!

Paddy's Day & Buckfast. Chance of a fist fight? With a t-shirt like this, most likely.

Banama Republic surely!!


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We have a few posts on here about Dublin’s Nitelink, including one of my favourite DFallon posts ever,  about his travails in Leixlip at silly o’clock in the morning having fallen asleep on one (if you haven’t read it yet, do so.) In the last couple of months, we’ve shared scary news of an impending cancellation of the service, set up a Facebook page to save it, and broken news of its current status.

Dublin Bus- Never change a crappy system.

So, when I saw the above stickers on Henry Grattan Bridge, I couldn’t help but grin and get the camera out. I don’t know how long the stickers have been about but what I do know is I WANT ONE.

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From the people that brought you this:

Mary Mediatrix, our favourite Dublin shop

I now give you this:

Any vote for Labour is a...

I wonder if the people who run this shop know of the existence of the ULA. God forbid if that lot ever got in…

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Out of boredom and/or chronic procrastination (bills to pay, things to sort out,) I went for a stroll around the city this evening with the camera; its surprising the things you see in this city that you don’t notice unless you’re looking for them. Below is Georges Street Arcade, the place where I acquired my first studded belt, in my mind, it made me punx and I still wear it to this day, ill fitting as it is.

The Arcade- like diving into the past

Now you’d think that our comrades in Fade Street would flock to Dylan Haskins like scenesters to an overpriced Dubstep night in The Academy but not so. They’re all voting our Mannix.

Fade Street are voting Mannix

Just another victim, Waterstones bookshop closed it’s doors for the last time a couple of weeks back with the loss of 46 jobs. It wasn’t somewhere I shopped too often, I prefer Chapters myself but a pity all the same.

And another one bites the dust... Waterstones


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I’d love to say I took the pictures below but alas, I’m just not that good. They belong to a bloke I’ve only ever known as Janer who I met whilst serving my apprenticeship with the punks. I came across the images when working on another project recently; I’d thought his specialty was gig photography but when I browsed his albums on pix.ie, I came across some stunning pieces of social photography which Janer has kindly given me permission to reproduce here.

Meet Trixie and Duke

The Reader

Amien's Street pint on Stephen's Day

 Its a hard thing to capture Dublin properly, but scrolling through the albums, be they pictures from gigs, reflective moments in pubs or images of Dublin streetscapes, Janer does a good job of it. 

Christy sneaking in a quick pint

Dusk on St. Ignatius' Road

Wednesday Pints


These images were all taken from different albums on Janers PunkRock profile, which can be found here.  Cheers to the lad for letting me stick these up.

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