Remembering the 34 people who lost their lives on this day 49 years ago in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

Paddy thought he was above and beyond politics, wine women and song, and a bit of rough and tumble, he was man’s man. Until history came calling in the shape of devastating bombs. I included this chapter in my novel Across The Water for those English readers who thought the British were always the good guys.

                                             Chapter Eighteen

Dublin, May 17th, 1974 5.30 pm

   The train rattled and wobbled its way along the coast; Paddy looked at the sea. The ever-present sea, even inland, its waves were felt in the half-empty villages, in the faces of old men whose sons were off to earn a bit. It filled the songs and poetry because it had taken from every family. More potent than politics, it outlasted everything; its pull a constant, leading people to new lives, death, or exile, most never came back.

   The train clattered through the villages and towns of Greystones, and Bray, eventually it sliced its way through the overcrowded city, houses, bridges, and walls built within inches of the track. They resented the space the train took and so built right up to its face. The colours were reddy browns and greys, bricks and slates. The passengers were the usual mix of hope and endurance. You could see the hope of youth turn line by line into faces of endurance.

The spring afternoon was as moody as Paddy felt; he walked out of Connolly station. Why do they celebrate failure? He knew the answer before he asked: because there are so few victories. Paddy looked at the name she had written down – The Shelbourne Hotel – Stephens Green. He was convinced she only invited him because she thought he would never show up to a party in Dublin.

He left through the main entrance. The station’s Italianate central tower looked out of place on Amiens Street, busy with shoppers and commuters, the hands of the station clock marked 5.28 pm. Dublin was busy and the streets were full. Women and workers, everyone had a purpose. He looked up at the unusually blue sky.

   ‘Av ye got any change, mister?’

Paddy looked down at the boy, around ten; his big eyes darted around ready to move on to the next mark if this one went nowhere.

   ‘Do ye know The Shelbourne Hotel?’

   ‘I do, mister, av ye got change?’

   ‘Here, you can have a shilling, if you get me there.’ Paddy dug around and produced the coin.

The boy snatched at it.

   ‘Not so quick, when we get there.’

   ‘Right ye are, follow me. A shilling now, you promised.’

    ‘I know yeah, a shilling.’ The boy’s hair was curly and uncontained. He wore jeans and a blue anorak underneath Paddy could see a thick woolly jumper.

   ‘Come on then, what are yeh waiting for?’

   ‘Alright, take it easy.’

   ‘What are you doing out here asking for money, shouldn’t you be at home?’

   ‘Nothing there mister, me mam’ll be out at her mates, have you got a fag?’

   ‘No, I haven’t. What about ye da?’

   ‘He’s in the jangle.’

   They walked side by side, the little fella chest out, arms swinging, commanded his space on the street.

   ‘What’s the jangle then?’

   ‘The old jingle jangle my da calls it.’

    ‘What’s that when it’s at home?’

   ‘Mountjoy, he’s doin a year.’

   ‘What for?’

   ‘I dunno, summat or other, that he got caught for, that’s why yeh usually go.’

   ‘True enough.’ Paddy agreed.

   ‘What’re ye doing there like? It’s a posh place, so it is.’

   ‘Meeting a woman,’ Paddy winked at him.

   ‘Ahh going see ye tart are ye?’

   Paddy clipped him round the head. ‘Ye little bastard, what do you know about such things?’

   ‘Hey hands off, I’ve had me share, don’t you be worrying about that.’

   ‘How far now?’

   ‘Couple of minutes mate, straight on across the river now.’

   The boy’s presence suddenly made Dublin brighter; the troubles just something to be walked through, head up, chest out, the Dublin way.

   Then the world stopped. The air shook with sound, faces gaped and grew wide with terror. Ahead the street disintegrated. In the flash, colours and shapes dissolved, cars and people and glass and bricks were flying through the air in pieces. Paddy was on his back, for the longest time he looked up at the blue sky in silence. Slowly at first, then all at once, the sky disappeared in swirls of smoke and dust, the silence that burst his ears was now replaced with low deep moans broken with shrill cries. Someone helped him up, he didn’t know who. The boy was not beside him.

   He walked through the devastation, the blood in the gutter was not his, the leg on the sidewalk was a woman’s, the headless body, a young girl. A handbag, a platform shoe. No boy. A man with a large piece of metal through him moaned. Paddy stumbled on, the dust and smoke and glass and bricks and bodies had now settled on the ground, scattered like confetti at a wedding.

He walked on passing the blackened centre, some people were standing motionless, others laid where they were blown, some blown together, some blown apart. But no boy. People rushed to help, alarms and bells began to take over from moans and cries, and then again, the air shook and sky roared and again somewhere close by the street and the people in it were confetti.

Justice For the Forgotten was formed in 1996 with the aim of campaigning for truth and justice for the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of the 17th May 1974

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About Me

Thanks for visiting my page. The aim of this page is to let you know what I am working on and allow you to tell me what you think.

I was born and raised in Speke Liverpool, although my parents first lived ‘Under The Bridge’ in Garston, and all my family goes back to Wicklow in Ireland.

The Liverpool Mystery series will be four novels, three books; Under The Bridge, The Morning After, and Fire Next Time are finished. Under The Bridge will be published in Feb 2021 and I hope at least one more will follow later in the year. I am writing The Wicklow Boys now, and I hope to finish it next year.

My writing like my blog is about the lives of working people and how they relate to society as a whole.

My collection of short stories The One Road is available below click to see details.

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