Walking Tall


Corporation Buildings off Corporation St (James Joyce Street), Dublin 1, circa 1960s

Dublin historian and author Terry Fagan, of the North Inner City Folklore Project, tweetz:

“I interviewed Dave, the man in the photo walking inside Corporation Buildings.

In the late 1930s at the age of 12 he got summoned to court and sentenced to two and a half years in Artane Industrial School, his brother John got 7 years. They couldn’t attend school, they had the scabies.

His story would make a great movie, events in Artane Industrial School and what happens when he comes home, to find his mother died. He ends up in India in the British Army, refused to shoot people rioting, went to prison.

Back home, his father is a broken man, he’s taking to drink, his wife is dead, his family is destroyed. Events get worse, he turns Dave away from the door.

Dave is walking the streets broken-hearted over John, the brother he left behind, asking round the neighbourhood did anyone see him. He was told he was sleeping on the streets. Dave knew not to look for him until nighttime.

After spending many nights going in and out of tenements with a candle calling out his brother’s name, he met a friend who said to him:

“I hear you’re looking for John, did nobody tell you, John died and is buried in a pauper’s grave.”

Dave was in shock. His friend offered to put him up in his house, knowing he had money from the Army.

Dave (left) with Terry Fagan

After spending all his money with him, his friend told him “sorry, you have to leave, the wife is giving out.”

Then one rainy night Dave made his way to the tenements on Sean McDermott Street [Dublin 1] and bedded down alongside other down and outs.

Morning time came, he was getting up, he tipped the man beside him to move and when the man turned around, it was his brother John. The pal who had told him otherwise was getting into him for his money.

All Dave had left from his army days was a watch. He took John to the pawn office and pawned it and gave him the money to buy a boat ticket to England.

Dave, John and his sister met with me in the Folklore Office and told me what happened to them, how their lives  have changed. It does not end there.”

More as we get it.

North Inner City Folklore Project

Thanks RC


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11 thoughts on “Walking Tall

  1. Gooch

    Terry has an incredible amount of stories on Twitter. Most are heart breaking unfortunately.

    1. White Dove

      Stories like this need to be told.

      Thank you Terry for your great work in getting them out there. I hope Broadsheet will continue to highlight and feature your stories, and maybe even do some interviews with you and the victims of these terrible tragedies and injustices.

      You can be damn sure this is still happening, albeit hopefully on a smaller scale. Even if it isn’t, victims have the right to be recognised and recorded as part of our history.

      1. Truth in the News

        The National Library and National Archives have a duty and a responsibility
        to record and document everything about the huge mass of the poor who
        were the victims of official Ireland and their smug consciences, whats worse
        its was not our Colonial Masters who did this, it was the self righteous Cosgrave’s
        and Dev’s that stood for and delivered this outrageous policy

    2. Cú Chulainn

      Well, there are two ways to read that story. As a young man, I found myself standing on Joyce st. It was rough in a way no where in modern Dublin can compare, a passerby remarked that there were honest and decent people from the flats, but even the good ones would rob the milk out of your tea.

      1. Doris

        I would definitely rob the milk out of your over-sugared tea, Cu-who, to feed my starving children.

        No one asked to be born in Joyce Street, some consideration by you of the causes of crime might be appropriate here.

        And to assume that everyone living in that area is dishonest is really shocking, racist almost.

        I think you should consider your prejudices and how they reflect on you to those reading them.

  2. Terry Fagan

    Met the likes of you before, nothing to offer to the story, tar everyone with the one brush. Of course crime only happens around James Joyce Street.

    1. Bertie Theodore Alphege Blenkinsop

      Big fan of you and your work Terry, thank you and keep up the good work.

    2. Barry the Hatchet

      Seconded. You’re an absolute treasure Terry. Hope you’re safe and well in these strange times.

    3. Cú Chulainn

      You’re very sensitive Terry.. a pity you jumped to conclusions about my comment.. I don’t believe you haven’t heard that comment, and laughed. Same old north inner city.. it’s always about someone else.. always someone’s else’s fault..

Comments are closed.

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