I was born on 17th March 1941 so I was about two and a half months old when the North Strand was bombed. We lived in 3 Waterloo Avenue which is the cul-de-sac just beside the Church of Ireland and School on the North Strand. We were about 600 Meters away from the point of impact. My parents had been hearing the various aircraft over the city for probably about an hour and a half. At one point my father went to the hall door with me in his arms to look out to see what was going on with what would have been the one remaining aircraft. Just as he did so the bomb dropped and of course shook the house and did some ceiling damage. I think that being downhill from Newcomen Bridge reduced the effect on our house depite our relative proximity. So I am a witness and survivor. For all my years of going to school at North William St and St Canices and O’Connell School on NCR I walked across what we called “the Bombed area” a bumpy packed clay expanse with lumps of stones protruding and with very little growing on it.
The Browne family were all killed on the night of the 31 May when the bombs fell on the North Strand. Harry Browne had gone out to join the Local Defence Services after the first bombs fell that night. At around 2am, when he heard the German plane return, he decided to rush home to be with his family. He got as far as the door before a bomb detonated on the street- his body was found with the knocker of the door in his hand. His wife, mother and four children were all killed in the blast. In this interview, below, Harry’s niece, Thelma McGlinchey, and her brother-in-law, Sean Dunne, speak about the tragedy.
Marc McMenamin’s report on RTE’s The History show on the North Strand Bombing also tells the story of the Browne family.
Listen to the Browne Family story:
“SORRY LADS, HAVE TO BE HOME BEFORE HALF PAST EIGHT.”
It had been a balmy summers evening, the Friday of the Whit Weekend. We were playing football on Sandymount beach, and my team were not impressed about my departure. I walked home and was sent sent straight to bed before 9 o’clock, so as to be bright and cheerful for my very special day tomorrow. My mother woke me at 6.15 – 2 hours earlier than originally scheduled! She explained she had been awake all night with the noise of our windows shaking from what she thought was an earthquake. But upon listening to the first radio news bulletin of the day at 6.00 a.m. she learned that bombs had been dropped on the North Strand, 7 kms from us. The date was 31st May, 1941 – the day of my First Holy Communion.
Maura Clarke, Brendan Roche, and Vincent Roche are three siblings, whose father ran a barber’s shop on the North Strand Road in 1941. The shop was completely destroyed on the night of the bombing, and it was nine months before Mr Roche was to re-open a new premise in Kimmage, after receiving a small sum of compensation. Brendan and Vincent discuss their memories of visiting the North Strand area in the aftermath of the bombing, and salvaging shop furniture from the ruins.
Listen to the Roche Family story here:
Duration: 47:20 mins
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: