News from Nelson: Rear-Admiral!

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Bang BangDear Friends and Fellow-Sailors!

One of my regular correspondents has been in touch with me lately.  Concerned that I am doing too much, he suggested that I appoint a Rear-Admiral to assist me in my work.  After much deliberation, I have appointed Bang-Bang’s Key to this prestigious position.

Mr. Key is highly-experienced as – like me – he was an icon of 1950s Dublin.  He began life as a simple church key, made of brass, locking and unlocking the door.  And then the Key was acquired by Thomas Dudley and his life was changed forever from pious recollection to one of high adventure.  Together they wandered the streets of Dublin, with the Key pointing at passers-by and his owner calling out ‘Bang-Bang’!   Everyone pretended to be shot, injured and killed.  It actually was a game of ‘Cowboys and Indians’ - as in the pictures - with Bang-Bang as the hero and his Key as his gun, his Colt 45 which was known as the Peacemaker. 

The best times were when Bang-Bang and his gun caught the No. 50 bus out from the Liberties to Crumlin – Mr. Key tells me that this was the most exciting part of their adventures!  In those days, there was an open platform at the rear of the bus with a pole to hold onto.  This was Bang-Bang’s moving wagon as he ‘shot’ everyone he passed without fear or favour.  He even gave directions to buses and even to Guinness barges as they went up and down the Liffey!

As a child, Bang-Bang’s eye was damaged by a ball during a game of hurling and sadly he went blind in the mid-1960s and went to live in Drumcondra where he was cared for by the Rosminian Fathers – but they had to call him Lord Dudley!  His Key went into retirement too, and lived in a church-style surround which was also made of brass. Sadly, dear Bang-Bang died in 1981 but memories of him will live forever.  His good friend Gerry Doherty gave Mr. Key to Dublin City Library & Archive, where it is on display in the Reading Room, and the Key took part in a documentary about Bang-Bang which was made by RTE some years ago. 

Bang Bang's Key

Those were innocent days, when people had time to play and to be amused by the games of the gentle and funny Bang-Bang.  As they say in this country (I have picked up some Irish over the centuries!) ‘Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis’.

Nelson’s Head from Nelson’s Pillar   October 2016



Nelson's HeadAbout Nelson's Head

The Head from Nelson’s Pillar is on display in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library & Archive.  As Admiral Nelson is a valued member of staff, we have invited him to write his own monthly blog.

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Glad to see my suggestion worked.


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