Last such blast in Killarney was in June 2000

The scene back in June 2000 when there was a gas explosion in Cronin’s Restaurant, Killarney.
The scene back in June 2000 when there was a gas explosion in Cronin’s Restaurant, Killarney.

Cillian Walsh

KILLARNEY has not experienced a mornign like last Saturday since an event 13 years ago when a restaurant a history of gas explosions, similar to the tragic events of this week.

The rubble and debris that littered Brewery Lane on Saturday morning brought back memories of the gas explosion that occurred only 200 yards away, which blew out the front of Cronin's Restaurant 13 years ago.

On June 3, 2000, at about 8.10pm owner Pat Cronin smelt gas in the restaurant on the busy Saturday night and moved swiftly to evacuate all 30 guests.

The people were moved out but, while standing on the pavement outside the restaurant, the restaurant exploded and 12 people were injured from flying debris and broken glass.

Gardaí and fire officers at the time believed that it came from a domestic propane gas supply.

The gas tank itself failed to explode and had it done so, fire officers said that it would have taken out the whole building.

The site that night was described by witnesses "for all the world like the aftermath of a bomb blast".

Sergeant Ray Walsh, who attended the scene along with six gardaí, said, "They expected the worst themselves and, in fairness, they got the place evacuated."

Owner Pat Cronin received deserved praise for showing the initiative and quick thinking in clearing the restaurant and saving people from serious injury or worse.

The scene also reminded residents of the 1976 bombing in the Torc Hotel, Killarney. On July 3, 1976, the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UVF) planted a bomb in the hotel in reaction to the killings of protestant businessmen in Northern Ireland.

Guess has been evacuated when the bomb exploded near a tank of Butane gas. Thankfully, the gas failed to ignite and no-one was injured.

The bombing was carried out along with three others in hotels in Dublin, Rosslare and Limerick. The timing of the bombings was in order to target American tourists in the country.


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