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.
Listen to Michael’s story here:
Date of Interview: 23/06/2011
Name of Interviewee: Michael Carrick (MC)
Name of Interviewer: Marc Redmond (MR)
Place of Interview: The Lab Foley Street.
Name of Transcriber: Eileen Gogan
Review Completed: Ellen Murphy 07/11/2013
MR: This interview is taking place on the 23rd June 2011 in the Lab on Foley Street. Present are Michael Carrick, and the interview is being carried out by Marc Redmond on behalf of Dublin City Archives. Michael, good morning thank you very much for coming in, can I ask you your date of birth Michael?
MC: Yes my date of birth is the 5th of June 1930
MR: and what age were you, you were about 11 in 1941
MC: In 1941 the day the actual bombing happened I hadn’t reached my eleventh birthday. I didn’t reach it for about five or six days afterwards. So I was ten but then I was eleven, six days afterwards which is always…
MR: and you were living at home at the time
MC: I was living at home yes.
MR: And what did your parents do? What did your father work at or….
MC: Well my father died in 1929 and on the 17th of December 1929 so I was born six months afterwards and so therefore my father was dead, God rest his soul and my mother, well she had to rear us, as you can understand in 1930 it wasn’t too easy. But she worked at various things. Any money any way she could earn the money, cleaning or doing things like that going, you know that sort of thing
MR: And how many of you were in the house.
MC: now I’ll tell you there was first of all my mother and my aunt and there was my two brothers, Seamus, Philip and myself. That was in it, that’s who was there. Now when you say the house, it was actually 155 North Strand was a, a tenement house and in actual fact we had a floor above basement. We had a whole floor if you can picture it at that time, them houses.
MR: ah ha
MC: and we had, there was two rooms in the front. It was one room divided in two one was a kitchen, the other was we say at that time they used to call it the parlour.
MC: and the back room was what we would call the sitting room- bedroom because in actual fact, it was the only room that had a fire, well no there was fireplaces in the other in, in the other room but in the back room there was a fire place so therefore we slept in there, and we actually ate in there. Now there was a kitchen and if there wasn’t many of us we would eat in the kitchen or something else, when I say kitchen as I say a room divided off
MR: Yes yes
MC: the big room, divided in two and the landing there we had a landing. Now that was who was in the room and how it was I was ten coming onto eleven and my other brother was , just the one older than me was about eleven or twelve, I say twelve yes a little older and then I’d a brother about, who was six years older than me that would make him about sixteen, seventeen.
MR: What do you remember about the night of the bombing?
MC: the very night of the bombing?
MR: the very night of the bombing?
MC: Well first of all I’ll start of Friday night was the night, as far as you know the bombing really
MC: I know Saturday morning is the day but what I remember as, I was next door with missus…with my mother and the man next door Mr. O’Reilly was getting, made a bike up for my brother, my brother. In them days you got a three speed on it and that sort of thing, it was great. So he made a bike. I remember them looking down the North Strand saying lovely night isn’t it? Real quiet and all that. Which it was of course at that time. This about ten o’clock but I thought it was very late, but it was probably about ten and it was bright. So we all then got in went down the stair and maybe got a cup of tea or something like that, and then we went to bed. I don’t know what time we went to bed at because it could have been eleven o’clock. Maybe me mother was up doing ironing or something like that, ’cause it was the Whit Weekend
MC: and getting things ready for the Whit weekend, coming up to the Whit weekend. So then I was in bed there was three of, there was a double bed, three boys, naturally enough myself and my two brothers we slept in the double bed and say we were over in that corner there, over in a corner, and next I was only as I say I woke up because my other brothers out of the bed and my mother was out looking up at the sky. And I, they were saying that plane is going around a long time, which it was apparently. This was about shortly after twelve, I don’t, I wouldn’t know the exact time, but it might have been about quarter past, half twelve, you know that way. And the plane was going around all the time. Now I’m after, will I just tell you this? The house we lived in, there was an attic in it which I’ve only “—-“ there was two rooms below that, the Forans lived in one room and the Quinns lived in the other. And when you came down into the hall, the McFalls had the hall flat, and then you came down to us.
MC: Now the reason I’m telling you that is ’cause it has significance when the bomb does drop because in actual fact, my mother and my aunt, my aunt Fanny she was looking out, they were looking out the window and I was very nervous because God I didn’t know what was going on. This is the middle of the night as far as I’m concerned. Well you can understand ten year old,
MC: eleven o’clock is the middle of the night so I then, they said oh this that plane, there’s a few of them and the search lights are flashing all over the place, and these anti-aircraft guns eventually started off you know you could see the, well I didn’t see it cause I wasn’t looking out I was too nervous. But my mother saying look at that, them guns flashing. So, so she said no, all right get back into bed, everybody into bed, back into bed. So me two brothers, Seamus and Phil that was my brothers names, you know but, we all got back into bed covered down and we weren’t, we were hardly in, back in bed. So obviously it must have been two, near two o’clock, just gone two at this time, when I didn’t hear a bang but a shudder. Do you ever sort of, the whole house shook
MR: Yes, Yes
MC: everything shook, like the bed shook, everything shook. And naturally enough me mother screamed out. I was the youngest by the way and she said Seamus, Phil, Michael and I didn’t, I was a bit slow in answering and they got a bit panicky they thought there was something wrong with me. And me Aunt Fanny came over, she was my aunt, now she was my mother’s sister. And I must tell you this point, she helped to rear us
MC: because you could understand my mother had me in June 1930
MC: and at that time, I don’t know, well I suppose you hear about things were very bad
MR: Yes, Yes
MC: and there’s one thing about it, which I did credit me mother for, I know it’s nothing to do with the bombing but, she kept us out of homes because in that time if you were, if you were, for any reason at all they’d put you away in an orphanage.
MR: Yes, Yes
MC: I often read about it, thanks be to God I wasn’t put away in an orphanage, but I’m only telling you that as incidental
MR: that’s, that’s, Yes, Yes
MC: So my mother, my aunt Fanny came over and picked us up, out of the bed you know, and, I’m all right, I said I’m all right, you know, I’m all right. Now at this time, naturally enough it must have been total chaos every where but in our house, the smell of gas and by the way we hadn’t, we didn’t have the gas in for long about a year or so. That’s the amazing thing about it in these houses you cooked on the fire.
MC: the smell of gas and the smell of plaster, like we realised years later, working at the, I worked in builders, that they used to use las(?) and plaster at that time
MC: and naturally enough it was all blown all over the place. We didn’t realise at this time, we’re in a back room and just another little incident I’ll tell you, you can ignore it. About six weeks beforehand me mother decided that we were getting to, my brothers and all that were getting to big to be sleeping in the back room, so she put us in the front room. And thanks be to God for some reason or other she says “ah no I won’t leave them in there” she took us back into the back room. Lucky enough because we didn’t realise at this time the whole front of the house had been cut like as with a knife, and it was all down, we used to call the area
MR: oh yes down in the
MC: I suppose a basement the whole, half the house was gone down and I didn’t know at this time we didn’t find out for a day or two after, Lord rest them, Mr and Mrs Foran was killed, now she
MR: oh right
MC: now I tell you I was down with, Mr Foran, I suppose it was fifty-three I think it was, and his wife was forty-nine, modern day language that’s comparatively young
MC: I used to think he was an old man, when I found out and he had a daughter, if only I could remember the daughter’s name. I can’t remember. I know she had a sister Maisie but that’s beside the point. Foran was the name and they had a grandson Sean Foran I remember him ’cause I used to play with him now, he was about two or three years younger than me.
MC: and then as I say the smell of gas, the smell of, oh it was desperate it was absolutely, nearly overpowering, you know, and thanks be to God, I often say it to this day, well my mother said it too. We couldn’t see much you know cause it was dark, naturally enough it was dark, only for the light from the moon or something, but we were looking for matches. At that time we used to light the gas, do you remember the old fashioned…?
MR: Yes, Yes
MC: you mightn’t remember , I don’t mean to insult you (laughs) but
MR: ah no
MC: but the gas, we used to light the gas, you’d have naturally enough you’d strike a match, you’d have, we’ have… there was a mantel on the gas stove you know you lit it and it went “PHEE”, you pull a cover over it, a lamp standard
MC: you know a glass cover, and what’s it, and then this is, we didn’t find the matches and thanks be to God we’d have probably blown ourselves another bit up in the air. So we start getting out the door and there was a landing if you understand, if you understand now, the, our kitchen was to the left, our kitchen was and the front room the parlour as I call it which had all the best furniture you know, it used to be, at Christmas my mother would light the fire and friends would come down and all of that, uncles and all that, we’d sit in there and that sort of thing, that was around to the left but, we couldn’t get, it was blocked off, like you know?, we said what’s wrong there? There you know, but what it was naturally you don’t realise at the time the whole house was after collapsing. And the front of the house, thanks be to God the back of the house didn’t come in. I’ll tell you another thing, there was up at the very front not the attic, but at the front of the house was the Jenkinsons lived there.
MC: and they were friends of ours and they only moved out I think in 1940 I often thought God Bless us what would have happened if they had have been there then, you know, God it would have been terrible. Right to get back to what I’ve been saying, the night of the bombing, we walked out onto the stairs and there was one flight of stairs up and then a sort of a about three steps into what you’d call a big hall
MC: now the hall was about I estimate, I didn’t estimate at that time naturally enough you know by, but I estimate, it was very long the hall there were steps from that wall to there, a little bit further. It was about 15 feet long now, if not more. When we got up, there was no hall there, there was no hall because as you could look out…
MR: you could look out onto the street?
MC: look out onto the street. Yes, and in actual fact we lived facing William Street, now when I say facing…when we’d be going out in the morning you’d be looking up William Street, we used to go over to William Street to mass.
MC: and at that time, there wasn’t there was a lot of traffic, the North Strand was always busy for traffic but we’d cross the road there, you’d have to wait until naturally there was no traffic. Trams and buses came up and down North Strand. So we were looking up William Street and I saw a big fire [tender] coming down the street, don’t know where it was after coming from but a big fire [tender] and it must certainly say my reaction at the time as a child, “God says I look at all these people”. There was firemen, police men, ARP men, men just helping and they came in and helped us across the debris. There was sort of planks of wood on the, now when I say planks of wood, they weren’t put there they were probably after falling down and everything else. And they helped us across the debris. And the whole lot of us and, they held, they brought myself and my brother. I don’t know where my other brother went but he obviously turned up in the end. We brought over to the ambulance. Now they weren’t ambulances you’d see now-a-days with doors on them or anything, you know the ambulances you see the big ambulances with two doors. There was a canvas thing at the back…
MR: open, open back
MC: so yea,yes open back, you got in and you sat like this along the, so they put me brother in and they said there’s no room for this lad. Which I often think back you know that’s how people get lost and mixed up and displaced and all that.
MR: Yes Yes
MC: So a lad took me he said I’ll take this lad down he’s full of blood, which I was of because my Aunt Fanny was after being cut with a lump of plaster from the roof, ceiling.
MC: you see, she must have been pouring, she must have been pouring, at that time. So he took me down to… before I go off when I saw all the people that was there to help us, the helpers at that time now really it was amazed so quick getting down to the North Strand
MC: like they were around and they were, the police and all and different people helping and there was a fire. I looked across the road at Fitzpatrick was a butcher [see Maeve Mooney’s Story] and Jordan was there too, now I don’t know where, I can’t remember exactly where Jordan was, Fitzpatrick, and Diffney’s was a shop but Fitzpatrick was blazing, the shop was blazing away, now I can only say that I always remember that. And we heard subsequently to that that the unfortunate there was two men killed or something, all right some of the Fitzpatricks were killed .So I was taken down to a house in Buckingham Street, I was brought in and when they saw all the blood on me they thought there must be something wrong, so the lad….. he went off and got a doctor, and the doctor came back and he looked at me, you know, examined me and all that he started asking me questions, and then I said well my Aunt Fanny picked me up and I think she was after getting a belt of plaster or something like that. He said that’s what must have happened because I was, literally now by the way at this time you understand I know I’m going back and I have to, as I think of things but in actual fact we were in our sleeping attire.
MR: Yes Yes
MC: Pyjamas, and I was taken down there in any case and the lad that got a doctor he was looking after me. He looked at me and examined me and all that and he said no he said the doctor, he’s quite alright there’s nothing wrong with him. It’s just blood all over him but it’s not his own blood I can see that, so that’s all right then my sister and my, her husband they were only married at 1940, Christmas, Stephen’s day 1940, they came down and collected me, like I don’t know what time it was, after dinner, so I don’t know what time it was. And took me up to a house, up to I think my sister’s house or something and then eventually I was reunited with all the family down in William Street Convent. Now, they were very good I must give credit to the nuns. They were very good. They were giving us all soup and things like that and a dinner like, looked after us and they had one big classroom with all the people sitting in there you know. So that was the end of them, well it wasn’t the end because in actual fact we start then hearing the stories about how many people was killed. There was people on the right hand side Mr. Murray was killed, now he wasn’t very old. People in our house, Mr. and Mrs. Foran, Lord rest their soul. We didn’t hear this now for about a week or so, maybe, and on the left hand side of us there was Fitzpatricks, now not the same Fitzpatrick of the butchers
MC: there was a different Fitzpatrick. There was a husband and wife, I think she was only in her thirties, the man wasn’t much older, I don’t think he was and anyways. And they had one, two little babies, three, four, children and the poor unfortunate woman, the woman was killed. And then a little young fella five years of age was killed and the infant. She only had had the child about six or seven weeks and he was he was killed. And that’s, and then there were other people killed down the other, we were hearing about different people being killed. Everything was gone just like that because in actual fact, everything in our front room, what you call it everything that we had that was any way decent in the back room, we had naturally enough the table and chairs and the beds and in the kitchen then everything, all the utensils, everything was gone. When I say gone completely gone. So that’s, well I suppose that sums up what actually happened and what really happened after that of course, we went to Mespil Road.
MC: and the funny thing about it but my uncle, came down while we were in the North Strand and I tell you my uncle came down, not the North Strand, William Street School, my uncle came down and said, that was my fathers brother, he said come on I’ll take yous up home which he did got a taxi and brought us out to Killester he lived there, but my mother’s nerves was getting at her she couldn’t stick the house, quietness and all
MC: So she had to go back in and then we were taken to Mespil road. I suppose she wanted to be with the crowd or something, I don’t know but we went to Mespil road, and in Mespil road now that was a place where they used to garage the ambulances
MC: you know Red Cross and things like that, and we got beds, you know, there were beds on the ground, there were camp beds
MC: they were raised a little bit off the ground, maybe about four inches and we were sleeping there and getting our dinner there, get our dinner there, but I, funny thing about it my aunt, that was full of blood she, when I went in to see her in William Street, she had all a big bandage on her head you know, so I think she must have went back the day after or something got it off, got a patch on the head you know, so she kept on going on to work strange it may seem, Like you know you say to yourself you know people give up work, no she kept on going to work, kept on going, more power to her, she kept on going.
MR: straight back into it?
MC: oh got straight back into it Yes, I have to say naturally enough she was a great woman. Well of course I, the two of then me mother and me aunt they were great women. It’s only when I think back and think how they reared us and looked after us, took care of us I know its nothing to do with the bombing what I’m telling you now
MR: no but that’s, that’s ..
MC: but I tell you they looked after us and cared for us.
MR: Can you remember in the days and the weeks after the bombing was there much talk about whether there was going to be another one or?
MC: Yes well there was, naturally enough a funny thing about it, you were wondering, I wonder what’s going to happen now, or will this going to happen again will it come over again. That was going on all right you know, but I around I don’t know what date it was, I know on the 5th of June which is my birthday by the way, well I’m after telling you that (laughs). I was in Mespil Road cause I remember my aunt bought me a cake and a bottle of lemonade (laughs) one of the best birthdays I had I suppose. To be alive and all that. So there was talk and we wondering what will happen and all, this type of thing. But then that subsided if you understand me you know. And it, we started off getting back to normal and then we were, taking, we got a house in Cabra West
MC: I remember seventeen or nineteen year old, and we went to Cabra West naturally enough. And as I say me brother used to say, we were, we were, what do you call these people? These, displaced, these countries …. refugees
MR: Refugees, Yes
MC: Refugees in our own country, you know and, we were refugees and now we had a table and four chairs for the kitchen, and we had a bed but
MR: nothing else
MC: nothing else, no lino on the ground nothing, the only thing naturally enough when we went out there, there was water and there was electricity and things like that but then eventually, in a, after a while, somebody gave us chairs or something. I remember well a woman often, she used to call it around the back, lived in Shamrock Cottages, and overall then we started getting back, well as near normal as you possibly could if you understand. I think my brother he was sixteen about, he was working I think he was working in the Phoenix Laundry, you know. Well I think, I suppose there’s more to tell you about talk and all that sort of talk and then we started hearing about the people that was killed and the various things like that you know, and naturally enough as a ten year old you don’t realise, well at least I didn’t anyway, but I don’t think people realise at ten or eleven the enormity of people being killed.
MC: Especially when you think they’re old, I thought they were all terrible old, you know and the poor, I remember the little child next door. God Bless us and save us, cause we, I remember, that poor child I remember the woman had a child but, he was killed, that little child was killed. Now I remember the little thing happened to me too, crowd that I pal with, all the pals and that they used to live around the back, well what we call the back, they lived in Shamrock Cottages, Shamrock Terrace and all that, you know
MC: and a priest came in one day and he looked, he was after giving absolution or something to a fair-headed little fella as he said himself, then, they thought it was me. Which (laughs) which obviously (Laughs) it wasn’t. But that only lasted for about a day, then they saw me coming down, I came down around the. So they didn’t build houses on the, on the side of the North Strand and they left the North Strand there for ages, now when I say, I don’t mean just a year or two years. It was going on for ages, the hoarding was around it and the site was covered up. I often wonder what did they find when they start building the thing and digging up the site. But in the mean time another thing too of course was the men, now the people, the lads that worked, helping people out. Now they did dig up people out of the rubble, I mean Mr. and Mrs. Foran was dug up lord rest her soul dead, but Sean Foran, he was only a young fella he was taken out alive, and his aunt was taken out alive. And there was other people taken out alive, down, down further on you know. Now I’m running out of steam because I’m trying to think about things but we used to go around the back and there was a people called, Henry, Mrs. Henry Lord rest her soul and Mr. Henry. I used to pal with the young lad, Liam, Liam. And she used to bring the lads in for a cup of tea. I’m not codding you, you know they all helped out, everybody helped
MC: so I, I, is there any questions you’d like to ask me? That
MR: what kind of talk was there in school, among your school mates after?
MC: Well you see I didn’t go back to William Street School, ah sorry I was going to Lawrence O’Toole School at this time. And what happened then we went to Cabra west, I started going to Cabra School.
MC: so it’s just that they were all a bit amazed, looking at us you know young fellas from the bomb and all that you know
MC: but it’s like you know to be honest about it, they, the, the young lads that I saw and all afterwards, they were amazed to see us and all of that sort of carry on. But I don’t honestly know what the talk was in the school you know. In the school that’s Lawrence O’Toole’s I was going to.
MR: and do you remember things like before the bombing, like issuing gas masks, or that type of thing.
MC: oh yes that’s right
MR: and what was that?
MC: well I’ll tell you this real quick it doesn’t matter. But we’d been in England in 1939, in September. Now actually we were visiting these people over there. And by the way the war started on the 3rd of September, you know that, I’m not going to tell you something that you don’t know. But we went to England actually the war was on and we had to go down there. There we were made go down and get gas masks. Cause they were expecting, over there they were expecting, and I used to see the barrage balloons, now that’s English now back home in Dublin your talking about yes. They gave us gas masks. We had to go round to Shamrock Terrace I think it was, there was a place down there, the Corporation owned it, now I call it the Corporation, call it Civic Offices, the Corporation. And they issued us with gas masks.
MR: and did you have relatives in England, living in England?
MC: Did I? Yes there was cousins of me mother’s and things like that, Yes
MR: and were they working over there at the time?
MC: ah they were working over there Yes. They’d gone away years beforehand and that you know.
MR: so did they ever come back with goodies like tea and that type of thing?
MC: Well people, I knew people that was in England, they used to come back and they’d have a pound of tea squashed, (laughs) squashed together, or stuck into they’re back pocket or something like that you know. Ah Yes they’d come back with that. Course I’ll tell you the truth we were sharing, I know tea was important and we had no fruit here, you know you couldn’t get an orange or,
MC: any sort of fruit, other than apples, you could get maybe a few cooking apples
MC: but you couldn’t get, you couldn’t get anything like the fruit you know that’s supposed to, protect you and all that
MR: and did people follow the course of the war as it was going on, on the radio or?
MC: oh yes, because we had radios.
MR: and you would have probably heard the likes of Lord Haw-Haw on the radio as well.
MC: Yes Lord Haw-Haw you’d hear them coming on the [An Cogas arus] you’d hear the Irish news coming An Cogas . You’d hear the news ten o’clock, it used to be coming on at ten o’clock every night as far as I remember and we’d be all around the box listening to it, you know and in 1940, well I’m not going to start talking about the war, it’s been, I suppose your sick listening about the war but, 1941 and 1942 was very bleak.
MR: Yes .
MC: there was a bit of a turn in 1943 and when I say a bit of a turn there was a slight turn. And I think the biggest turn came, December the 7th 1941 when the Japanese you know bombed Pearl Harbour.
MR: Yes .
MC: well as everybody knows, Churchill said we’re saved, well that’s a fact. He was so delighted, not that pearl harbour was bombed but he’d know they’d been in the war and they’d been working together. Things were bleak enough now I’ll tell you, true it was. Well as from a child you’d be listening to all your elders talking about it, things oh, what’s this now the Grass, what’s this now the Hull I think it was that of a big ship was sunk and the Grass field was sunk. .
MR: Yes , Yes, Yes.
MC: now I don’t know what, I don’t know the Hull I think was sunk first but, then there was the grass field. But them sort of things we’d hear about you know .
MR: Yes , Yes, Yes.
MC: and you’d hear Lord Haw-Haw he’d come along and “good evening” or “hello”. He used to be speaking to the English mostly. I met a man years afterwards that had been in England and he said he was a great source of information in a sense that he lived on roads and he said they’ll be down that way , the bombs will be falling there tonight (laughs). I know all this is nothing to do with the bomb.
MR: no that’s fine, at that time was there any, when people were talking about the bombing after it happened, was there speculation about, was it, whether it was the English or whether it was the Germans or? .
MC: oh yes there was speculation yes.
MR: what was that like? Did people know? .
MC: well I used to listen, well I’ll tell you the truth, naturally enough, my uncles and all that they came over, they came over and they were talking and they were saying this and, some of them would say “aaahh it all depends on what side your bread is buttered” (laughs) .
MR: (laughs) .
MC: now when you think, oh the English done that, cause they made them do this and they made them do that, and in actual fact I think anybody that thinks about it, realises as I say the bomb the, planes were going over for a hell of a long time in the air on the Friday night / Saturday morning.
MC: it wasn’t a case of you heard a plane coming “drrrrr” (makes noise of plane) bang and all.
MC: no that plane, there was planes flying all over all the time. And they, it stands to reason, well of course now naturally enough in hindsight you could say but even at that time we used to say ah no sure what it was, they were German planes and they dropped the bomb to get the weight off them cause they wanted to get back out of there.
MC: you know and there was a this was a huge big bomb, it wasn’t a bomb it was I always remember at the time being told that, well around shortly afterwards, it was a land mine, you know well I suppose you would have read about it and know more about it than myself, but it wasn’t a, there was speculation then you know and then you’d have other people saying “ah no they the English got a plane and they done it up as a German plane sent that in”, well I’ll tell you if they did (laughs) they did they flew around Dublin long enough before they made their mind up to drop the bomb.
MC: And of course the unfortunate thing about the North Strand- not, well yes I suppose, there was railway tracks on the strand and there was cobble stones, now when I say cobble stones they were the real old fashioned stones – last forever – providing a bomb didn’t hit them, but down came the bomb and it hit the, actually when it hit the ground it must have hit the tracks and there wasn’t that much of a crate. Now you might think people would say “oh it was a big, big huge”, it wasn’t. There wasn’t that much of a crate, there was a crate alright, no doubt about it. But the bomb had exploded up.
MC: if it had a gone down into the ground it would have it would have gone out and it wouldn’t have been so affected. But that’s what I think; this is my opinion, by the way I’m not an authority on .
MR: and you’re talking about the area there around Newcomen Bridge, Shamrock Cottages all around that yes.
MC: Yes Newcomen Bridge I’ll give you an idea. I lived in one hundred and fifty-five, one hundred and fifty-three, one hundred and fifty-four, one hundred and fifty-five. And then there was one hundred and fifty six, seven and then down. The bomb dropped, I suppose about five houses down now I’m trying to be fair, I don’t want to start saying it dropped outside my house
MR: Yes, Yes .
MC: I heard a fella saying it dropped outside facing William Street it didn’t face, it didn’t drop facing William Street. Say that’s William Street there.
MC: our house is, the bomb dropped there, more nearer down to Clar.. .
MR: the bottom of Clarendon Street there.
MC: Clarendon Street Yes.
MR: where the flats are now,.
MC: where the flats are now, you know. But Clarendon Street. William Street used to come down that way and Clarendon Street down this way so the bomb dropped there, nearer to Clarendon Street now to be fair. But naturally it caused devastation. And naturally when we went down then the next day, or not the next day, my mother and that went down. They had to go into the house and get any old stuff they could salvage.
MC: which they, well they got the bed and, and they got a little wardrobe I think it was and table and chairs, the Corporation was shifting us you know, you put them up in a Corporation car and went up to Cabra West.
MR: and did you have to get any, any, anything like clothes or anything from the Corporation, did you loose any stuff like that?
MC: No, I’ll, I’ll, tell you what they were doing, I’ll just tell you what they do. They had a place over in Nassau Street. Now as you say did we get any clothes? Well the clothes we had, by the way, a funny thing about it. I was after making my confirmation that March.
MC: and I had a suit in the wardrobe. And I, when I was in this house, the Henry’s house where there was a lads coming in having a cup of tea, they were working on the house. I said to will you get a suit for me? I thought I was the only (laughs) , but fair play he got the suit, he got the suit and I think a shirt or something like that, things like that. But that’s like that’s about all we had. But then they had the place in Nassau Street where you could go over and they gave you a shirt or a pair of pants and shoes and things like that. Now I’m not going start bragging that they gave us tremendous amount of stuff. Well they hadn’t probably got it, but we got a few things like that. God almighty.
MR: and did you ever go back to the North Strand years later? Did you have many friends that you went back to see there?
MC: Well I, no. when you say did I go back I did have an awful lot of friends down there, young lads, they were only children now don’t forget this and I went back alright. Well the funny thing about life, it’s not the same you can never go back. You can go back, it brings back memories, it doesn’t bring back the people that was there at the time, under the same conditions you know like. No matter how nostalgic you are, you can only remember, quite honestly you have to live with your memories. It’s better to live with your memories than to go back and try recreate them because you can’t. Well I’m thinking of that for lots of reasons and other things too.
MR: and do you remember there was a glimmer man called Mr. O’Brien?
MC: Mr. O’Brien, was he on the North Strand?
MR: Yes he worked in the gas company.
MC: Yes I know well I’ll tell you like you see, when we lived on North Strand in the house we all had a knock.
MC: we had four knocks, the others had.
MR: aright, yes a secret knock on the door.
MC: so you wouldn’t open the door (laughs) .
MR: if you thought, in case it was the glimmerman.
MC: if somebody gave a false knock, or if somebody, if we were in the house and somebody knocked four times
MR: you’d know it was
MC: We’d look around. Well who’s that? If such a person will go down, now don’t stir, don’t stir. Well you wouldn’t stir, naturally enough as your gas depended on it. My sister Ella, it doesn’t matter I was going to say, me sister was caught one time using the gas, like that, but she had a young child she had to. But that’s beside the point. .
MR: what happened in that case did they cut her gas off?
MC: No they didn’t fair play to him. He said I won’t do anything this time, but he, don’t let it ever happen again. You had to light the fire and heat the bottle on the fire (laughs) not joking. Funny thing about life you know, people nowadays realise, don’t know, this is nothing to do with the bombing but when you realise the hardship, well now not the hardship because don’t forget this, where we lived on the North Strand and the family the way we were all situated, me mother, my aunt and my three brothers and by the way me sister had lived there just be, up to Christmas.
MR: Yes, .
MC: we were all a very happy family.
MR: Yes, .
MC: it was, unbelievable as a matter of, cause I often think back when; I do often say ,it just ended like that “puff”. Everything was gone that we had lived for, like if you understand me.
MR: Yes, .
MC: ah shocking, but what were we saying about
MR: do you think that for some of the kids at the time, all the running around and in the days after and down in Mespil Road that it was, were they scared or was it all a big adventure?
MC: No do you see, a funny thing about children now I’m not saying all children, I was a bit nervous of course now I’ll tell you that, but no we weren’t , I didn’t find we were actually scared or anything like that. I’m only talking about myself. Cause don’t forget about this, the people that was, maybe the people that was living in Shamrock Cottages and all that them young lads and they were all young lads, young children now.
MR: Yes, .
MC: from about well they were about fifteen or sixteen, they might have been scared but we were over in Mespil Road and we hadn’t got much time to think of it then we were shifted down to the Cabra west.
MR: Yes, .
MC: and in the sense that everything was moving sort of all fast and we didn’t have time to think of it you know. .
MR: Yes, .
MC: now I’m not saying we did often say “God I wonder will there be a bomb”. I remember walking up the Cabra Road one day and I saw a plane coming down, going “ZZZZRUUP”[makes plane noise] an RAF plane but not that it makes no difference I don’t care who bombed you (Laughs) you don’t want that to happen.
MR: (laughs) .
MC: but no I don’t think they were scared, I know you’ll have people saying “oh yes the children were”. I’m only giving you my opinion and how we felt, we didn’t feel scared. We were a bit apprehensive about I wonder will they ever come over again. You know, cause naturally enough, you don’t want it. .
MR: Michael I’d like to thank you for coming in this morning, that was that was fantastic, got some fantastic information there and I’ll conclude the interview now, .
MC: thanks very much.
MC: thanks very much, for coming in it was very, very interesting stuff, very, very interesting. All of it was very interesting.
MC: I’m delighted that I got somebody to listen to me and it’s on record you know. Thank you.
END AUDIO INTERVIEW HERE
MR: well it’ll be on it’ll be permanently now in the Archive down in Pearse Street
MC: God bless
MR: God bless, when both of us are gone it’ll still be down there
One reply on “Michael Carrick’s Story”
Mr O’Brien named above was Francis and he was my Wife Sandra’s Grandfather, who was her Mother’s Father. He lived on Ossery Road and he was The Glimmerman, his job was to ensure people did not use the gas on the glimmer when there was not enough gas pressure to properly light the stove and could cause a blowback that would explode right back to the Gasometer in Ringsend so it was for safety but of course people could not and would not adhere to the warnings. He continued to work for the Gas Company up to and including the day he went into Jervis Street Hospital where he died 11 weeks later at the age of 72. He was a well known member of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade as a District Officer and there is a Memorial plaque in his Honour and we have the Letters given to him in recognition of his lifetime work even back to the ship that he served on as a Medical Orderly on the Pembroke.