Recalling the bombing of the North Strand in Dublin and the impact of the Emergency on Ireland.
The Emergency refers to the state of emergency the existed in Ireland during the Second World War. The main source of information on the war in Europe was the radio with people tuning in to broadcasts from William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw Haw, with his trademark greeting 'Germany Calling, Germany Calling'.
The reality of the war hit home on 31 May 1941 when a bomb fell on Dublin's North Strand. At 2.05 am, a five hundred pound bomb exploded in the North Strand and the shock was felt throughout the city.
The damage and devastation was horrific. Twenty eight people died, forty five were seriously injured and hundreds more suffered minor injuries.
The statistics of devastation were startling.
Twenty five houses were completely demolished and a further forty five were so badly damaged that they had to be pulled down.
Hundreds of terrified people were left homeless.
The area around North Strand was unidentifiable and remained as a wasteland for many years to come. Flats have now been built on the site of the bombing.
In studio are people who have vivid memories of the night of the bombing. Bernard Share is the author of a book about the emergency titled 'The Emergency: Neutral Ireland 1939–45'. He outlines the challenges of writing the book in condensing the events of the Emergency into some kind of theme.
Bernard Share believes the biggest impacts of the Emergency were economic in nature. The isolation that the war brought to Ireland brought a realisation that there was a need for greater self sufficiency. Our lack of a substantial navy led to the foundation of what is now Irish Shipping. The business of keeping ourselves warm was the foundation of Bord na Mona. Atlantic Aviation and Shannon Airport arose out of necessity in that period. These things happened not because they were planned but because they had to happen.
On a personal level, Bernard Share believes the Emergency created a sense of self-confidence which the Irish people had not felt before.
This episode of 'Eye Witness' was broadcast on 18 April 1979. The presenter is Tom Savage.