RTE Television


Bombings - Dublin: Talbot Street

Bomb attacks were a horrific and frightening part of Irish life during the Northern Ireland Troubles. In the early years of the conflict, paramilitary use of explosives spread fear North and South. During the 1970s and 1980s bombs and their threat caused fear, damage and death. Bombs detonated near or south of the Border would prove an increasing wake-up call to the dangers of political and social conflict island-wide.

This new six-part documentary series will tell stories of paramilitary bombings as they began to impact on life in the Republic. Included are: the 1972 border killing of Irish Garda inspector, Sam Donegan; the 1972 Dublin murders of two CIE bus drivers: Tommy Duffy and George Bradshaw; the 1974 Dublin bombings that killed 26 people; the 1975 failed bomb plant that led to the murder of Miami Showband musicians; the 1976 assassination of British Ambassador, Christopher Ewart-Biggs outside Dublin; and the 1987 border bombing of Judge Gibson and his wife, Cecily.


Programme One: Cavan

In 1972, Garda Inspector Sam Donegan was two years from retirement when he went to investigate what appeared to be a hoax bomb near the border town of Cavan. Answering the call would change his life and the lives of other Gardaí and army officers in the area forever.

Programme Two: Sackville Place

CIE Busmen Tommy Duffy and George Bradshaw were working the late shift one December evening in 1972 when a bomb exploded on Dublin's Eden Quay. When the CIE canteen was evacuated, the two bus drivers would be caught in the blast of a second bomb on Sackville Place.

Programme Three: Dublin

On Friday May 17th, 1974, three car bombs exploded without warning in Dublin. Derek Byrne was pronounced dead - only to wake up later in the morgue. Pat Phelan's sister, Marie, was killed while shopping in Talbot Street. And Alice O'Brien lost her sister, brother-in-law and two young nieces in the Parnell Street blast. Twenty six people were killed in Dublin. Combined with that same evening's bomb attack in Monaghan, the day represented the biggest loss of life in any one day of the Troubles.

Programme Four: Miami Showband

For years during the Troubles, Irish showbands - often made up of musicians from North and South - believed they operated outside the political and sectarian divisions. So, the cold-blooded murder of three members of the Miami Showband in July 1975 was particularly shocking. Stephen Travers, bass player, miraculously survived the explosion - as well as the sectarian shooting that followed. Thirty years later, he struggles to come to terms with the death of his three Miami friends.

Programme Five: British Ambassador, Dublin

Christopher Ewart-Biggs became British Ambassador to Ireland in June 1976. Two weeks later, he was killed by an IRA bomb planted 200 metres from his Sandyford residence. The bomb blast would impact on the life of survivors-from the Dublin-born driver, Brian O'Driscoll, to British civil servant Sir Brian Cubbon. It would also affect wider Anglo-Irish relations.

Programme Six: Judge Gibson

High-ranking Northern Ireland judge, Lord Justice Maurice Gibson, and his wife, Lady Cecily, were killed by an IRA car bomb near the Border in April 1987.

On their way to rugby training in Dublin, two Irish Internationals from the North, David Irwin and Nigel Carr, were caught up in the blast. Dun Laoghaire sisters, Suzanne and Jennifer O'Connor were driving behind the Gibsons when the bomb went off. Although the survivors had a lucky escape, the legacy of the experience remains.