‘SMOKE AND DUST’
Interviewed on 12 October 2021
On 17th May 1974, Mary Molly was a nurse attached to the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin where she worked in the orthopaedic section. This is the day of the infamous Dublin and Monaghan bombings where a total of 34 lives were lost. In this segment, taken from the interview undertaken by John Farrelly, Mary recounts her experience of the immediate aftermath of the bombings.
MARY MOLLOY: So, then there was no panic, apart from the usual everybody just rushing home on a Friday evening and then when I got just towards Guineys, entrance to Guineys’ street there was paper stands out in front of me, there was a young boy down on top of the paper stand and I said “what’s going on?” I looked down to Guineys and there was people on the ground and the path and there was one man covering another man with newspapers. And I saw somebody’s foot and I saw shoes and blood and building, the Guineys, the windows were pushed out. It was just, ehm, smoke and dust and everybody shouting and screaming. It was it’s hard to even remember it in detail, to be honest.
MR. FARRELLY: You tried to help, I suppose, like you were like what you could do in a situation like that?
MS. MOLLOY: I wanted I would I wanted to get in there and help but things kept happening, you know. As I was going down, I don’t know whether it was even in the writing going down and there was, I’d say a 13 year old boy just seemed to fall and he was shoved from somewhere, he landed down in front of my feet, you know, and I just couldn’t physically get near anybody, you know. And it was horrendous. Yeah.
MR. FARRELLY: So, I suppose you learnt of the full extent of it then on the news that night really when you did eventually get away from the area because I think everybody was evacuated from the area then eventually?
MS. MOLLOY: Yeah. There was there were a few people there who kind of took over and said “move on, move on, and move on” and the building, the building outside Guineys and Guineys itself, bits kept falling off it so I kind of felt ‘if I stay around here and try, I’m going to get hurt myself’. You know there was that danger in it as well. But it was the fear on everyone’s faces, the fear, and the terror. It was awful. So, I went on down to the station and a lot of people were doing the same and it was very hard to get through the crowds. You were edging off people. There was people crying and there was no mobile phones then, nobody on phones. And so I got to Kings Bridge and I can’t actually remember the journey home but that is probably because of shock.
MS. MOLLOY: And trauma. And I remember my brother, he always met me at the station, so not far away from home but he was there and he hadn’t heard and he just “what’s wrong with you? You look so pale?” So it all came back. “I don’t want to talk really much now”. It was tough. And that day, another bomb went off in Trinity but I wasn’t near Trinity. But shortly after, I guess when I was walking down O’Connell Street there was another explosion from what I gather from the way people were backtracking from that area as well, coming back into O’Connell Street.