I remember the night very well. I was ten years old and living with our family on St. Ignatius Road, Drumcondra at that dramatic time.
I was sleeping in one of the bedrooms in the front of the house with my two older brothers when my father entered the room and told us to get dressed as the city was being bombed and within minutes we heard loud explosions coming from somewhere down past the end of Dorset Street, down by the Canal.
This was at the height of “the emergency” with the black-out being strictly enforced by the ARP, the LDF and the Gardaí, when concrete air raid shelters were built in populous areas -there was one at the end of road and many lined along Dorset Street. They were forbidding looking structures that were, unfortunately, used as public toilets by drunks and vagrants.
The seriousness of the situation was not, however, without a Chaplinesque stroke of humor when our local ARP recruit climbed up the gas lamp posts on the road to extinguish the dim flames only to be followed by the local LDF member climbing back up to re-light them.
Well, we didn’t have to vacate the house but stayed on to watch the searchlights scanning the skies for airplanes.
The next morning Radio Eireann informed us that it was German bombers that attacked us and that the North Strand was leveled and to stay away from the area as there could be un-exploded bombs hidden in the rubble.
Regardless, my brothers and other kids from the road did walk down the North Circular Road and, what never seems to be mentioned, there was a huge crater in the center of the NCR close to Great Charles Street and the Christian Brothers School.
The crater was cordoned off and unpassable so we went back to Russell Street and walked to the Canal and down to Charlville Mall from where we could witness a little of the activity taking place on the North Strand Road but it was days before we could eventually get close enough to witness the terrible damage that occurred.
One thing that I distinctly recall was the gaping hole in the roof of the North Strand Cinema where a large chunk of shrapnel had landed. I noticed the outline of the repair work on the roof for many years later and wonder if it still exists.
These are my recollections of that very tragic occasion.