Mairead King was 5 at time of bombing, and living in Sackville avenue, with her parents, brother and three maiden aunts. Her mother was in Rotunda Hospital on the night of the bombing, having given birth a few days previously. Mairead recalls her family’s actions on night of bombing, and her own childhood upset at the destruction of a doll at Gallagher’s Provisions Shop near Five Lamps. She also discusses the Small Profit Shop on Ballybough, how her family coped with rationing, and attitudes to the allies and the Germans during the Emergency.
[Audio version available]
My name is Mairead King (nee Dunne). I was 5 and half years old in May 1941. I lived with my parents, three aunts and brother Denis, then aged 2 and a half, at 6 Sackville Avenue, Ballybough, near Croke Park. I was asleep in my Aunt Esther’s bed that night and the noise of the bombing woke us all, except Denis. It was terrifying – we were used to the drone of aeroplanes flying over, but that night the drones were much heavier and sounded nearer. I can still hear them in my head.
When the noise died down the family knelt down and said the Rosary.
Next morning there were bricks, stones, shrapnel and broken glass all over the streets and in the basements of houses. The shrapnel knocked a lump of granite from our windowsill and the gap was still there when we moved out in 1958, as Dublin Corporation purchased the houses to build Ballybough flats.
My mother, Kathleen, was in the Rotunda Hospital after the birth of my brother, Colm.
During the bombing all the mothers with their babies were brought down to the basement of the Rotunda and next day my father walked to the hospital and brought my mother and baby Colm home in a taxi.