Action, not soundbites, needed to address anti-social behaviour in Dublin

Assault on tourist revived memory of my own experience

Our man Frank on his own experience (a long time ago) of being the victim of a random attack; Frank goes down ‘Nostalgia Street’ and revisits the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem… and celebrates the enduring appeal of a night (or two) in good company in the pub!

The year was 1968. A young bank clerk and a male friend of his went for a few pints on a Friday evening after finishing work, to a pub on Francis Street in inner city Dublin.

As the duo were leaving the pub, they were set upon by a group of youths, some of whom had been in the pub and some of whom were waiting outside. While one of the pair made their escape, the other one was pretty badly beaten up and ended up in hospital for a few days. It’s safe to say that if it hadn’t been for the intervention of a passing taxi driver, the result could have been an awful lot worse; the completely unprovoked attack could easily have left the victim seriously injured, or even dead.

More than 50 years later, I remember every detail of the assault. I can still feel the punches and kicks as they struck my almost defenceless body – to this day I am very proud that I managed one left hook that may have broken the nose of one of the five assailants.

Fast-forward to July 2023, when a visitor to our capital city, American Stephen Termini, left his Talbot Street guesthouse soon after 10 pm, and was seriously assaulted around the corner in Store Street, suffering what have frighteningly been described as life-changing injuries.

Despite the words of Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, who says the streets of Dublin are safe, the general feeling among inner city residents is that most of them are living in fear of the gangs that are terrorising civilians, shopkeepers, and restaurant owners. Everyone points to the fact that we have around 1,000 less gardaí in the country than before Covid, and they all advocate an increased Garda presence on the ground – not only in Dublin, but all over Ireland.

The Government has promised to act immediately, but as we all know, words are cheap, and in this case action must be taken immediately. All I can say is it’s a very sad situation that 55 years after my own attack, the streets of Dublin are still prone to being as dangerous as ever. What tourist in their right mind would want to venture out alone in our capital city? Let’s hope the words of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (who has promised action) are not just another hollow soundbite.

Fond memories of

Clancy Brothers

& Tommy Makem


As I sheltered from the non-stop rain during the week, I happened to tune in to an old Nationwide programme, one that had been aired in 2004, and which featured the great folk and ballad singer Liam Clancy of the famous Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem group.

The Clancys were born in Carrick-on-Suir, where they spent their early years before emigrating to the United States. There, they had an extraordinarily successful musical career, becoming one of Ireland’s best known and most popular ballad groups. Famed for wearing traditional Aran jumpers, they were at their most popular in the 1960s, with a huge following in both Ireland and America.

At their peak, they played to full houses every St Patrick’s Day in the world famous Carnegie Hall, an iconic venue that holds almost 4,000 people. The Nationwide programme had Liam going back to the Tipperary town he grew up in, and we met several people who played their part in making Carrick the town it is today.

One such person was the renowned cyclist Sean Kelly, a native of the town and a man who is probably the most revered and respected of the many successful cyclists that Ireland has produced through the years. Among the many great things he achieved in his career, one of the biggest was the role he played in bringing the Tour de France to Ireland in 1998, when, during the two days of racing, the Tour went through Carrick on its way from Dublin to Cork, attracting huge crowds to Kelly’s home town.

As for Liam Clancy, after the Clancy Brothers finished up he had his own very successful career along with Tommy Makem. I remember going to see them many years ago in Glenamaddy’s Sound of Music. By then, he was a fabulous storyteller as well, and the pair of them went down a storm in Glenamaddy.

They are all gone from this world by now, but the music of the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem will forever be played where Irish folk congregate.


The joy of being able

to socialise again…


I have to admit that I seldom go out on two consecutive nights anymore, as the truth is that my body is no longer able for such a level of ‘punishment’. But last weekend was an exception – I found myself out socialising on both Friday and Saturday night.

On Friday night it was for the tenth anniversary celebrations of Castlecoote Lodge, with the Leyden family welcoming a large crowd of regulars and well-wishers to their popular watering hole. There were loads of free draws for different prizes, lots of finger food, and mighty craic generally, but for me, it was particularly great to have live entertainment back and to see people dancing to the lovely lively music that Gerry Keenan was providing.

Among the attendees I met was Terry Leyden’s brother, Joe, who belted out a couple of country classics for us and proved himself to be an excellent singer. I also met John Williamson, who told me he lives just down the road from the Lodge.

All told, it was a wonderful night’s fun. Congratulations to Terry and Mary and the Leyden family on ten very successful years – here’s to many more!

Then on Saturday evening, Creggs footballers played a very competitive challenge game in an absolute downpour against near-neighbours Williamstown. While we lost by a few points, it was a proper battle, and also good practise for the upcoming championship games. Afterwards, I adjourned to Mikeen’s, where Conor Harkin and a couple of friends were performing, and they too put on a brilliant show – everyone lucky enough to be there really enjoyed their beautiful music.

My overriding feeling was that having had so much misery and restrictions during nearly three years of Covid, it was just wonderful to see people out enjoying themselves once more. I, for one, had two great nights out. Long may it last!


And finally…


Another sign that things are back to normal post-Covid is the huge increase in air traffic lately. Mind you, the desperately high temperatures, along with the wildfires raging in many parts of the world, are changing flight plans for lots of families, and it seems there are loads of last-minute cancellations.

That said, there are a lot of people from the wider region currently enjoying holidays abroad, from the US and Spain, to Prague and the beautiful Lanzarote, to many more locations.

The good news for at least some of them is that the turf is still in the bog, and hopefully will be ready to bring home when they get back. If it stays the way it is weather-wise here in Ireland as I write, they may well need to bring home a boat!