Dublin, Monaghan Car Bombs Kill 34 – Shankill Butcher Willie Moore at Today in Irish History

May 17: TODAY in Irish History:

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Dublin Car Bombing 1974

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.




1650: Cromwell takes Clonmel

Oliver Cromwell finally secures Clonmel after a siege that commenced April 28/29th.

Cromwell’s 8,000 men eventually took the Co. Tipperary town from its 2,000 Irish defenders, but they suffered astonishing losses for a single campaign. Estimates suggest that Cromwell lost between 2,000-2,500 men in battle against the Irish led by Hugh O’Neill, cousin of the fames Owen Roe O’Neill.  Low on ammunition and food, O’Neill and his troops withdrew under cover of darkness much to the chagrin of Cromwell who believed a negotiated surrender would include the surrender of the Irish forces.

Unlike Drogheda, the previous year where English troops slaughtered as many as 2,000 surrendered Irish.  Cromwell’s troops kept to the surrender terms and spared the population.

Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658




1974: Dublin Car Bombing – 34 Killed

On the morning of May 17 1974, four cars are stolen in Belfast. That evening, they would explode without warning in Dublin and Monaghan resulting in the deaths of 34 civilians and injuries to more than 300. The bombings were the worst single atrocity in Ireland during the “Troubles.”  No one was ever charged.



The bombings were a Loyalist reaction to the Sunningdale Agreement and attempts to introduce power sharing between Loyalist and Nationalists in Northern Ireland.

The first of the three Dublin bombs went off at approximately 5.28pm in Parnell Street killing eleven. Two minutes later a second bomb exploded in the same area killing fourteen. A final bomb went off at 5.32pm in South Leinster Street. Two people died.

The scene was one of carnage with dead, dying and thought to be dead brought to make shift mortuaries. Fifteen year old Derek Byrne regained consciousness at the morgue where he had been pronounced dead. “I was just lying on the table. It was full of bodies. I just let out a scream. The mortuary attendant then let out a scream.”

The Irish Press reported:

“Seconds after the blasts, as the pall of smoke rose from the streets, dazed survivors saw the normal home-going rush of people turned into a scene of carnage. There were bodies, some limbless, some blasted beyond recognition, some burned, lying on the pavements. Scores of others badly injured and many knocked out by the blast or shocked by the impact were hurled into windows and side streets. For some time it was impossible to distinguish between the dead and the injured.”


Dublin 1974


Dublin Car Bombing Documentary


The relatively lightly injured Liam Sullivan told the official Barron Report into the bombings what he saw at the hospital “I will never be able to explain what I saw over there. It was like a slaughterhouse. There were bodies everywhere and people being operated on.”

A number of official reports suggest that the Loyalist bombers had support from members of the British security forces in Northern Ireland. The  Barron Report quotes the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mr. Merlyn Rees, in relation to a subversive faction in British Army Intelligence: ‘ It was a unit, a section out of control. There is no doubt it reflected the views of a number of soldiers.’ “ Let’s go in and fix this lot’’, and so on. But that it went on, and that it went on from Lisburn, and it went on from the Army Information Service and those associated with it, I have no doubt at all.’

The Garda Siochana (Irish police) and Irish Government has also been criticized about events following the bombing. Some early strong evidence related to the bombers was not pursued. Also, evidence disappeared including a car registration plate with a fingerprint of one of the suspected bombers.

Barron reported: “The Garda investigation failed to make full use of the information it obtained. Certain lines of inquiry that could have been pursued further in this jurisdiction were not pursued”

The Irish Government government efforts  find the killers was criticized as lack-luster and uninterested. This may have been a deliberate decision due to the incredibly high tensions of the time. Had the involvement of British security forces become public knowledge, it would have caused an absolute firestorm of emotion and almost certainly even further  violence.




READFinal Report on the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings.


READUVF Statement Admitting Responsibility for Bombing




2009: Shankill Butcher Willie Moore

Death of William “Willie” Moore, one of the dreaded Shankill Butchers  who terrorized Catholic communities in the 1970’s killing and torturing an estimated twenty people in the most horrific manner. The Shankill Butchers are probably the worst serial killers in British history.

Shankill Butcher Willie Moore

READ: Wikipedia provides chilling detail on these savages. (Not for the squeamish).



READ: Belfast Telegraph article on Willie Moore. The author Martin Dillon authored The Shankill Butchers.


READ: Shankill Butchers held Belfast in Grip of Terror




Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish


This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)


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