Monday 23 April 2018

Bang Bang's shots to ring out for next generation

Grace Lambert, from Dublin, helped raise funds to erect the memorial to Bang Bang at the St Joseph’s in Drumcondra, Dublin. Photo: Colin Keegan
Grace Lambert, from Dublin, helped raise funds to erect the memorial to Bang Bang at the St Joseph’s in Drumcondra, Dublin. Photo: Colin Keegan
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A local legend who brought a smile to the faces of generations of Dubliners has been immortalised in a special plaque dedicated to his memory.

Thomas Dudley, the orphaned son of a chimney sweep, was better known as Dublin street character 'Bang Bang'.

He was known by Dubliners in the 1950s and 60s for jumping on buses and trams and shouting 'bang bang' as he pretended to shoot passengers with a large brass church key.

Born on April 19, 1906 - the same year as his hero John Wayne - his love of cowboys and western films was legendary as he brought streets to a standstill with his whimsical child-like antics.

Folk group The Dubliners even referred to his charms in their song 'The Mero' two years before his death in 1981. Now, almost 40 years after his death at the age of 74, customers of the Bang Bang cafe in Phibsborough, which was named in his honour, have pitched in to raise funds for the plaque.

Although he was buried in a mass grave at St Joseph's Cemetery after spending his final years at Clonturk House, in Drumcondra, a caretaker marked the spot where he was interred.

Thomas Dudley 'Bang Bang'
Thomas Dudley 'Bang Bang'

David Lambert, who named the cafe after him and who has spearheaded the project, said: "Life is more boring and sanitised today.

"Everyday life is heavily sanitised. A lot of the mystery and excitement has gone out of a lot of people's days.

"Bang Bang is somebody who never stopped playing. He brightened people's days up.

"That's kind of lost in modern society."

Irish Independent

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