Dublin: 4 °C Friday 23 February, 2024
bang bang

This café in Phibsborough is trying to raise money for a famous Dubliner's tombstone

Bang Bang in Phibsborough want to honour their namesake.

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PHIBSBOROUGH CAFÉ AND deli Bang Bang is named in memory of Thomas Dudley, a man who most Dubliners over the age of 50 remember very fondly. For anyone under that age however, it’s likely they have only heard of him through anecdotes of parents and grandparents, if even at all.

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Dudley, known by most as Bang Bang, was an eccentric Dublin character born in 1906 and put into an orphanage shortly after. This man is so remarkable because he could (and very often did) have a bus full of grown adults pretending to be dead after a shootout with his trusty weapon, a brass key that he referred to as his Colt .45.

The famous key is now featured in Phibsborough deli’s logo.

Locals suspected that this key unlocked a local church door but Bang Bang insisted that it had belonged to Hitler and had made it’s way to him from Germany. He carried the key everywhere and used it to shoot everyone he took a fancying to, shouting “Bang! Bang!”. Everyone he met reacted well to his antics.

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Towards the end of the 1970′s, Bang Bang began to go blind and was taken into the care of the Rosminian Fathers in Drumcondra, where he eventually died in 1981.

Although he has been dead for almost 40 years, locals from Cabra (where he was born) to Cork Street (where he lived most of his adult life), and of course anyone who got a bus through the City Centre still remember the man who loved western movies so much, that he staged shootouts on a daily basis.

Bang Bang in Phibsborough wanted their store and deli to reflect the philosophy and memory of Dudley and all of the old Dublin characters like him.

Co-owner Daniel Lambert told how he feels that Dublin today has been sanitized and is lacking any of the character that it once had. For better or for worse, we live in a different world, where we can’t have the same laugh with strangers anymore and Bang Bang’s carry-on could probably have someone arrested.

The café decorated with keys pays its respects to what Dublin once was and the people who lived their lives the way they wanted to, bringing laughter and joy to the city.

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However, when café owners Grace and Daniel Lambert eventually located the resting place of Bang Bang himself, they were troubled to find that he had been buried in an unmarked grave. The man who buried Bang Bang, Joe Tyrrell, recalls the turnout of Bang Bang’s funeral being remarkably low for such a popular man, possibly because he was forgotten as he drifted out of the public eye towards the end of his life.

They decorated his memorial plaque with a key in his memory, but have also gone a step further and set up a GoFundMe to raise money towards offering their namesake a more substantial memorial.

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With the help of Robinson Memorials, they’re hoping to get Bang Bang his own tombstone, complete with an engraved key so that future generations who come across it will discover his story and his memory will live on for even longer.

If you would like to donate money towards Bang Bang’s tombstone, you can do so here until Sunday.

Between the GoFundMe and in-store donations, they have raised around €800 so far.

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