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Records of the North Strand Bombing May 1941

On the night of 31 May 1941, four high-explosive bombs were dropped by German aircraft on the North Strand area of Dublin City. The casualties were many: 28 dead and 90 injured, with 300 houses damaged or destroyed. This bombing was interpreted either as a deliberate ploy by Hitler’s government to force neutral Ireland into the war or as a reprisal for the assistance given by Dublin Fire Brigade during the Belfast Blitz. On 19 June 1941, the Irish government announced that the Nazi government had expressed regret for the North Strand bombing and had promised compensation. The North Strand bombings were the last to occur in Ireland during the Second World War.

The Irish Red Cross provided emergency shelter for people made homeless by the bombing at the Mansion House and in parish halls throughout the city. Meanwhile, Dublin Corporation was responsible for clearing the North Strand area and providing permanent alternative housing for the victims. Charleville Mall Public Library was designated as the headquarters for the bombed area and City Architect Horace O’Rourke was in charge of the clearance project, replaced later by the Chief Air Raid Precaution Warden, R.S. Lawrie. Wherever possible, houses were repaired and designated habitable, but where property had been damaged beyond repair, the occupants were re-located to the new Dublin Corporation housing estates at Cabra and Crumlin. Compensation was provided for owners of damaged or destroyed property under the terms of the Neutrality (War Damage to Property) Act 1941. Finally, Dublin Corporation acquired two areas where the bomb damage was most severe, one off Summerhill Parade and one off the North Strand, for the purpose of clearing the districts and developing a new housing scheme. A plaque to commemorate the victims of the North Strand Bombing was unveiled at Charleville Mall Public Library on the 60th anniversary, 31 May 2001.

The records relating to this process have been deposited with the Dublin City Archives and comprise two albums of original black-and-white photographs of damaged property and nine files documenting the process of repairing housing, clearing the bombed areas and re-housing the victims. The photographs can be viewed online and the files can be viewed at Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street Dublin 2.

Photographs illustrating aftermath of North Strand Bombing, 1941:

Two albums of photographs by H. McCrae, photographer, 152 Clontarf Road, Dublin. View photographs of the North Strand Bombings...

Files Relating to North Strand Bombing:

File No. 1: North Strand Bombing: Damage Reports

Correspondence between Dublin City Manager P.J. Hernon; Dublin City Architect Horace O’Rourke; Chief Air Raid Precaution Warden R.S. Lawrie; and the Department of Local Government and Public Health: relating to procedures for the repair and stabilization of buildings damaged in the bombing of North Strand Area.
31 May 1941-9 June 1942 includes:

  • Memorandum of conference held in City Manager’s Office, 31 May 1941
  • Report from T.A. Healy, secretary, City Manager’s Office, 3 June 1941: Charleville Mall Library taken over as headquarters for the bombed area
  • Report from City Architect, 3 June 1941: progress in bomb damage repairs
  • Instructions issued by City Architect to contractors re. repairs 4 June 1941
  • Memorandum of conference held at Ministry of Finance, 6 June 1941
  • Public notice issued by City Manager, 7 June 1941: repairs of bomb damage
  • Instructions issued by City Architect to architects and contractors, June 1941
  • Memorandum of conference held in City Manager’s Office, 13 June 1941
  • Record of interview between City Manager and City Architect re. circular to architects and contractors, 13 June 1941
  • Letter from Sean Moylan, T.D., parliamentary secretary, Department of Defence, to City Manager, 13 June 1941: “I visited the North Strand on 12th instant and to say that I was amazed and shocked at the lack of progress is to put it lightly.”
  • Report from City Architect to City Manager is response to above letter, 15 June 1941
  • Appointment of R.S. Lawrie, Chief Warden, Air Raid Precaution Department, as officer in full control of repairs of bomb damage, 16 June 1941
  • Report from City Architect to City Manager, 16 June 1941
  • Precis of operations by City Architect’s Department re. operations of repair scheme17 June 1941
  • Letter from R.S. Lawrie to Secretary, Department of Local Government and Public Health, outlining difficulties faced in completing repairs to bomb damaged areas, 18 June 1941
  • Letter dated 17 June 1941 from City Manager to Sean Moylan, T.D., parliamentary secretary, Department of Defence, in response to his dated 13 June (see above)
  • Letter dated 26 June 1941 from Secretary, Department of Local Government and Public Health, to R.S. Lawrie, in response to his dated 18 June 1941
  • Memo from John P. Keane, Finance and General Purposes Committee, City Hall, to City Manager, 17 June 1941, outlining suggestions for treatment of bombed area
  • Map of bombed area, to be acquired for clearance, 3 June 1941
  • Memorandum from City Manager, 10 July 1941, describing inspection of bombed area undertaken by him the previous day
  • Memorandum of conference held in City Manager’s Office, 31 July 1941
  • Report from R.S. Lawrie to City Manager, giving information requested by Alderman Alfred Byrne, 30 August 1941
  • Report to City Manager from Michael O’Brien, Acting Planning Officer, re. North Strand Area Bomb Damage, dated 8 September 1941
  • Letter dated 8 September 1941 from City Manager to Department of Local Government and Public Health, outlining reasons for delay in repairs to roofs, North Strand area
  • Progress report forms re. bomb damage repair work, October 1941
  • Reports dated 4 and 9 February 1942 to City manager from R.S. Lawrie, outlining his response to the Neutrality (War Damage to Property) Act, 1941
  • Report dated 12 February 1942 from City Manager to Department of Local Government and Public Health, outlining response to the Neutrality (War Damage to Property) Act, 1941
  • Report dated May 1942 summarizing work carried out by Dublin Corporation in relation to repairs, North Strand area

File No. 2: North Strand Bombing: Housing of persons rendered homeless

Correspondence between Dublin City Manager P.J. Hernon and the Irish Red Cross Society relating to persons left homeless by bombing. [Emergency care was provided by the Irish Red Cross] Includes:

  • Memorandum of conference held in City Manager’s Office, 13 June 1941
  • Report of meeting held on 2 July 1941 at Irish Red Cross, 20 Merrion Square between members, General Purposes Committee, Dublin City Council; City Manager; and members of the Dublin County Committee, Red Cross
  • List of refugees under care of Irish Red Cross at Mansion House, Dublin, 2 July 1941
  • List of houses in North Strand Bombing area declared habitable, giving names of occupants, June 1941
  • List of persons from North Strand Area allotted houses by Dublin Corporation up to and including 9 June 1941
  • Form of requisition to Dublin Corporation for emergency supplies of bedding, kitchen utensils, chairs etc.
  • Memo to City Manager on requisition of Charleville Mall Library as headquarters for bombed area and arrangements made, 3 June 1941

File No. 3: North Strand Bombing: Damage Claims

Correspondence between Dublin City Manager P.J. Hernon and solicitors for claimants in respect of bomb damage at North Strand; includes representations on behalf of claimants made by Alderman Alfred Byrne.
17 June 1941- 6 February 1942, relating to:

  • 580 North Circular Road
  • 40 North Clarence Street
  • 3 North William Street
  • 5 Empress Place
  • 26 North Strand
  • Presbyterian Church, North Strand
  • 582 North Circular Road
  • Hanvey’s Shop, Bride Street
  • 156-7 North Strand
  • 582 and 584 North Circular Road
  • Hyacinth Street
  • 1 Aldborough Place
  • 27 North William Street
  • Stevens’ Cycle Factory, 171 North Strand Road
  • Memorial re Buckingham Street and Summerhill Area
  • 7 Charleville Mall
  • Dispensary premises, 56 North Clarence Street
  • 32, 39, 40 and 41 Bessborough Avenue
  • 8 Bayview Avenue
  • Shamrock Place and Shamrock Terrace
  • 12a North Clarence Street
  • 27 Leinster Avenue

File No. 4: North Strand Bombing: Structural Repairs

Correspondence between Dublin City Manager P.J. Hernon and Chief Air Raid Precaution Warden R.S. Lawrie in relation to structural repairs to premises affected by North Strand Bombing.
July 1941-February 1942, includes:

  • 47 and 48 North William Street
  • Report dated 5 September 1941 to City Manager from R.S. Lawrie re. progress of repairs in North Strand Bombed Area
  • Ossory Road, Newcomen Avenue, Newcomen Court
  • 80 Amiens Street
  • 8 Canning Place
  • Upper and Lower Jane Place
  • 56 North Clarence Street
  • Report dated 21 October 1941 from R.S. Lawrie to Department of Local Government and Public Health re. question of redecoration of bomb damaged premises
  • 39, 40 and 41 Bessborough Avenue
  • 52/3 North Clarence Street
  • 134 North Strand Road
  • Progress reports for bomb damage repair work, November 1941 - February 1942

File No. 5: North Strand Bombing: Survey of dangerous buildings

Correspondence between Dublin City Manager P.J. Hernon; Dublin City Architect Horace O’Rourke; and Deputy City Architect, Conor McGinley re implementation of survey of buildings damaged beyond repair in North Strand Bombings
25 July 1941-11 November 1941, includes:

  • Report dated 25 July 1941 to City Manager from Deputy City Architect outlining procedures for determining extent and nature of bomb damage
  • Memorandum of conference held on 25 July 1941 on compensation (property) claims likely to be made as a result of bomb damage in North Strand/Summerhill area
  • Survey dated August 1941 by Dangerous Buildings Section of premises scheduled for demolition in Dublin City, giving number of families accommodated in each
  • Memoranda dated 29 August 1941 and 16 September 1941 to City Manager from City Architect on Bomb damage and decayed property
  • Report of conference held in Department of Finance, 9 October 1941, to assess claims under Neutrality (War Damage to Property) Act 1941

File No. 6: North Strand Bombing: Demolitions

Notices issued by the Dublin City Manager P.J. Hernon of intention to acquire premises affected by North Strand Bombing under the Neutrality (War Damage to Property) Act 1941, with the intention of demolishing such premises in the interest of public safety, as being beyond repair.
11 November - 18 December 1941, includes:

  • 3, 4 and 5 Charleville Mall
  • 47 North William Street
  • 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 Charleville Cottages
  • 2 and 3 Summerhill Parade
  • 12, 13 and 13a North Strand
  • 36 Portland Row
  • 24/25 Portland Row (Brennan’s Terrace)
  • 26/7 Portland Row (Brennan’s Terrace)
  • 2a Dunne Street (St. Joseph’s Cottages)
  • Caretaker’s Cottage and Shamrock Garage (adjoining Quinn’s Factory)

File No. 7: North Strand Bombing: Compulsory Purchase

Correspondence and reports relating to acquisition of North Strand area by Dublin Corporation for clearance under Compulsory Purchase Order.
July 1941-February 1942, includes:

  • Summary dated 19 July 1941 of recommendations submitted by Dublin Corporation for amendments to Neutrality (War Damage to Property) Bill, 1941
  • Form prescribed by Minister for Finance for application for compensation under submitted by Dublin Corporation for amendments to Neutrality (War Damage to Property) Act, 1941
  • Map of area affected by bomb damage at North Strand: showing irreparably and badly damaged property; and area suggested for acquisition and re-development

File No. 8: North Strand Bombing:

Payment of rates in respect of damaged buildings
Directions to Dublin City Manager from Department of Local Government and Public Health in respect of this matter, September 1941

File No. 9: North Strand Bombing: Assessors’ Fees

Correspondence between Dublin City Manager, P.J. Hernon; City Accountant Sean O’Suilleabhain; and Messrs. Montgomery & Son, Surveyors, 24 Suffolk Street, Dublin: in relation to assessment by this firm of damage sustained in the North Strand Bombing Area. Including detailed accounts.
August 1941-June 1942

© Dublin City Council

For more information

Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 674 4999. Email: cityarchives@dublincity.ie