“Our Dublin of today is very much a product of past experiences and a sharing of our history is very important to Dublin today.”
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Eibhlin Byrne.
On the night of 30-31 May 1941 four high explosive bombs were dropped by German aircraft on the North Strand, killing 28, injuring over 90, and destroying 300 houses.
Were you an eyewitness to these events? Or perhaps you have stories or anecdotes, which have been passed on to you by older friends or relatives? Your memories are history. Dublin City Archives wishes to collect and preserve them for future generations of Dubliners. Add your experiences to the history of the North Strand Bombing by submitting your story using the submission form below or alternatively by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Peter Mulvany, co-ordinator of the Trinity College Dublin War Memorial Project:
I have recently become aware of a batch of Luftwaffe photographs showing area of Dublin City and County in July August and December 1940. The Liffey Dockyard photos are relevant to my family, as on the 24 Dec 1940, the date of the photo taken by the Germans over the dockyard, my father was working in the dockyard all day until very late that Christmas Eve. No doubt there are other families in the Dublin North Inner City and further afield who would not have seen these photos and will hopefully be of some help and inform the wider debate. With that in mind, I now have a new webpage online with some background and various links to sources, see Irishseamensrelativesassociation.com/Northstrandbombings1941 and a slideshow of photographs. These photos have been redited to enhance the picture and make it easier to view. The slideshow buttons on bottom of the page can adjust to full screen if required.
These Luftwaffe aerial photos show Dublin City and County, including the Liffey Dockyard, North Strand and Trinity College Dublin. The markings in black have been done by a Luffwaffe photographic imagist and are very accurate which was not normally a practice of the Germans. In many cases Luftwaffe aerial photographs taken over the UK were unreliable and imprecise because the Nazis had no backup eyes on the ground intelligence to establish as to what was what. In contrast, the Dublin photos are very accurate indeed which suggest that the Nazis had other info to inform their Dublin maps.
Michael Carrick was 11 in 1941, and living in flat at 155 North Strand Road. He tells the remarkable story of how he and his family climbed through rubble to safety after the bomb destroyed the front half of their entire building, killing the Foran couple in the basement flat below them. He also vividly recalls the events in the days and weeks after the bombing when the family were cared for firstly by the nuns, and then by the Irish Red Cross in Mespil Street. His family were later rehoused in Cabra West.
NSB_01: 153-164 North Strand Road, highlighting the destruction caused to the street where Michael lived.
My family lived in the Fairview area of Dublin near the North Strand. I was one of eleven children. When the bombs fell on the North Strand my Father George Murphy was the ARP leader of our area. He told of horrific casualties on that night. He pulled many people out of the bombed buildings. Everybody was in a state of shock. He told of many heroes helping people and putting their own lives in jeopardy. Many others provided food and shelter to the survivors. There was a lot of fear in the area, as people thought we would get bombed again. My father made the family go in the arch that divided our houses whenever planes would go overhead. For years after the war my brothers and I would play with the helmets and gas masks left from that time.
My mother, Nancy Dowling, was back in Dublin (she had moved to England in the late 1920s) and staying with her sister in Buckingham St Buildings when the bombing occurred. She had given birth to my sister Anne, a few weeks earlier in the Rotunda. Three elder children were evacuees back in the north of England. My mother had left London to escape the Blitz and have her fourth child in relative peace. On the night in question she had gone to the pictures leaving her new-born child in the care of her sister. During the film she thought she had heard thunder outside but when she left the cinema she realised that the Luftwaffe had followed her to Dublin. She hurried back to Buckingham Street and was relieved to find that the bombs had fallen elsewhere. More than that she was relieved to discover that although the windows of the flat had been blown in the bottle of milk she had left cooling in a saucepan of cold water on the windowsill was still intact!
My Name is Thomas Heffernan. I was born at 60 Railway Street in November 1933. In April 1940 my father died and shortly after my mother, 2 sisters and brother moved to 63 Summerhill facing Quinn’s Pork Shop. When the bomb hit the houses at the corner of North Circular Road opposite Duggan’s Chemist, the whole house shook and glass crashed. Everyone started to scream and cry, roaring and shouting and someone shouting “put out the lights, get out of the house, its going to fall”. I was crying and wanted my communion suit. My grandparents lived in St. Joseph’s mansion and whilst we where going down Buckingham Street to take shelter in their house, the glass was still falling out of the windows in Buckingham Street. We had to walk down the middle of the Street, my Uncle Tommy appeared and helped my mother with the children to safety. There was more screaming when someone shouted Alborough House was bombed – St. Joseph Mansions was know then as Alborough House. My mother was really upset because that is where her parents lived. We now know that in actual fact it was the North Strand. That morning May 31st 1941 I made my Holy Communion at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Gloucester Street. I remember meeting loads of people that day, one lady in particular Mrs. Rice gave me a half crown which was a lot of money then and she said “God Bless yez only for yez we would have been all bombed”. Hector Grey started his business on the North Strand bomb site.