I REMEMBER THAT summer in Dublin, when the Liffey it stank like hell.
And the young people brawled on O’Connell Street, and at The Forty Forty four were felled…
Apologies to Bagatelle, but they’ll have to rewrite their ode to the capital if the events of this week are anything to go by.
On Monday the sun came out to play. By Thursday evening we had hospitals treating victims for knife and hurley injuries, gardai carrying out two major investigations and the Tourism Minister scrambling to assure visitors that the Five Lamps isn’t the Five Points.
We witnessed the first outbreak of violence last Tuesday night at the GPO. The area has a history of bloodshed, but what occurred last Tuesday night would have made the State’s founding fathers turn red – with anger.
More than a dozen people were involved in a mass brawl, with some participants reportedly taking hurleys from children to use them on the other side. Tracksuited men and women were involved in the melee, played out in full vew of tourists on our country’s main street.
Fast forward a couple of days to the Forty Foot, the city’s best known bathing spot.
Usually a venue for portly retired southsiders to enjoy a wrinkly, sedate dip last night it morphed into a full on battlezone. Once more, over a dozen people staged a fracas which resulted in four people, three men and a woman, being treated for knife injuries.
Apparently the two sides had spent the day drinking in the sun before staging the violent public falling out.
Cue a raft of garda vans and ambulances driving in one direction and terrified locals fleeing in another.
You can rest assured that, like the Forty Foot violence, the melee at the GPO was alcohol fuelled.
It might now be quite as bad as LA riots in the 90s or the Bronx in the 1970s, but there was a tangible air of menance and Dublin’s sunshine this week.
It’s almost inevitable when a rare outburst of good weather is mixed with beer-slab boozing.
It seems all biggest cliches are true. Irish people can’t handle the sun, or the drink. Mix the two and you end up with headlines like those we’ve seen this week.
This post first appeared in the Evening Herald, May 25, 2012