Personal Stories

Owens/Nolan Family Story

Story of Owens/Nolan Family contributed by Anna Fox

My mother Lillie Owens was 20 at the time of the North Strand Bombing. This is account of what took place that night from what I can remember my mam telling me. My mam Lillie Owens was visiting her friend Joan (I don’t recall her last name) who was married and had a baby girl. When the bomb went off my man left Joan’s house to run home to 8 Synnott Street to make sure her own family were safe. In the house at that time were my great grandparents Anna and John Nolan, their two daughters who were single  Margaret and Alice Nolan, my grandmother Kathleen Owens (nee Nolan), and her children Anna (17) Marie (5) and Pat (3). When Lillie arrived at the top of her street she could not believe the destruction she saw to her home and homes all around there. The roof had caved in, the walls were out. She did not know what to do and did not know where any of the family was. She walked to Marino, 44 Brian Road to my dad’s family (my mam was dating my dad Joe Fox at the time). My grandmother Mrs. Fox could not believe the sight she saw when she saw my mam. My mother’s face was black and her clothes were full of dirt from the smoke. Mam said while walking to Marino she stopped to help a man that was injured and tore some of her clothing to wrap around his head. My dad offered to walk back with my mam early that morning to the house and to find out where the family were. Lillie was concerned on the walk back to the North Strand would her bike would be still there. It was her means to get to work and support the family (my granddad had passed away the September before and the only income for the family were from Lillie and Anna). Thankfully the bike was still there. Lillie was advised she go in to the house as long as she could picked up something with ease, but if she had to move something to get something then, she had to leave it where it was. My mam said my grandmother’s sewing machine was embedded in the wall. Where Pat and Marie slept their little beds were covered in glass. My mam still did not know where any of the family was. She did find out at some stage they were in a convent and all safe. My mam found out later that day her friend Joan was killed in the bombing and her husband and little girl survived.

My aunt’s account Maire Owens.  Marie and Pat were in bed asleep when she heard a loud noise and part of the ceiling falling in on her bed. My grandmother jumped up out of bed and I’m not sure if in shock she put the kettle on. The next thing, she knew she was told to get out.  My grandmother stood outside and then realised Pat and Marie were still in the house. A fireman (don’t know who he was) went back in and carried both Marie and Pat to safety. My aunt remembers standing at the top of the stairs with Pat and crying “ Mammy Mammy don’t leave us”. God Bless the brave soul who went back in to get them. The sewing machine, a mirror and a statue of our lady and Jesus Christ survived and all moved to Cabra. Anne John and Alice Nolan to 10 Dingle Road, and Kathleen Owens and family to 62, Dingle Road.

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