Riddle of the 1916 Rising family and the deadly grenades hidden under floor which shut the DART

SECURITY ALERT: Weapons hoard found in tiny two-bed terrace

Conor Feehan

A DUBLIN house where grenades and artillery shells were found was once home to a family heavily involved in the 1916 Rising.

The hoard of grenades and other ammunition, which sparked a security alert that shut down the DART for a period, had been hidden under the floor of the back kitchen in 15 Strandville Avenue, off North Strand.

Members of the Army Bomb Disposal team were called to the house to remove the dangerous devices and make them safe, shutting down rail services while they worked in the property, located near one of the railway bridges.

Research by the Herald has uncovered that a family of nine living in the tiny two-bed in 1916 was active in the Rising.


Gas fitter Alfred Norgrove and his wife Maria, and seven children ranging in age from a baby to a 13-year-old, were living there at the time the 1911 census was taken.

The Norgrove parents, and two daughters named Emily and Annie, who would have been 18 and 16 in 1916, are documented for their part in the Rising.

Emily and Annie were members of the Irish Citizen Army positioned in City Hall, while Alfred was in the GPO and sent to City Hall on Easter Monday evening.

Mrs Norgrove, meanwhile, was in Jacobs.

Records show that after the Rising, Alfred Norgrove was removed from Richmond Barracks on May 8, 19016 and incarcerated in Wandsworth Detention Barracks, London, on May 9.

Local worker Dudley Costello, of As New Crash Repairs, works under the railway bridge beside the house where the devices were found.

He was able to grab this photograph, inset right, of the devices before they were destroyed. The builder who was digging out the old floor, Cezar Disca, described how he came across the ancient explosive devices, while using a pneumatic drill.

"I was working in what would have been a back kitchen in the house, when the drill dropped through a cavity under the ground," he explained.

"I thought I had broken into an old sewer pipe we didn't know about, so I dug down to see what it was and I saw something like a rusted canister, and when I took it out I saw a grenade on the bottom of it."


Cezar had spent some time in the Romanian army after leaving school, and knew what it was he was dealing with.

"I knew straight away, so I brought it out the back and phoned the foreman Pat Lawlor.

"I told him we had a bit of a problem," he said.

After Pat had seen the grenade he called the gardai.

"Then they called in the bomb squad. When they looked first they thought it might take a half hour to sort out, but in the end it took a lot longer because the deeper they went, they kept finding more," said Pat.

"In the end they were in a hole that was chest deep when they were in it.

"The railway and everything had to be shut down. It was quite a sight."