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Five Dublin Characters Whose Mad Antics Won't Be Forgotten

By kaylawalsh

May 8, 2019 at 5:23pm

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From lovable oddballs to the out-and-out deranged, the streets of Dublin have been populated by a fascinating cast of characters over the years.

Some of them, like Bang Bang, are fairly well known, while other people's stories have been sadly lost or muddled.

Author Bobby Aherne decided to research these characters and put them all together in a book, aptly named D'You Remember Yer Man.

"The only one characteristic that unites all of these people is that each one stood out from the crowd and carved their own path in life," he said.

"By being different, in whatever way, they became admired and well-remembered citizens that helped to define their era of Dublin history.

"Maybe there's a lesson to be learned from that!"

There are so many interesting people in the book, but here are just five of our favourites.

1. Bang Bang

During the 1950s and 60s, a bedraggled man by the name of Thomas Dudley would regularly jump on the back of buses and open fire at pedestrians and his fellow passengers.

Thankfully he wasn't actually armed - he just pointed a huge brass key at people and shouting "Bang bang!" like he was in a Western.

Now he has a cafe in Phibsborough named after him, and earlier this year they raised enough money to erect a plaque in his memory.

2. Dancing Mary

Every single day from the late 70s until 2002, Mary Margaret Dunne could be seen throwing shapes beside the Anna Livia water feature (or 'The Floozie in the Jacuzzi') on O'Connell Street.

She wore an unusual combination of bangles, odd gloves, printed scarves, clip-on earrings, scrunchies and always danced in the shape of a cross.

She passed away in 2014, and the city is so much less colourful without her.

Dancing Mary

3. Johnny Fortycoats

P.J. Marlow only ever actually wore three or four overcoats at any one time, but it always looked like more.

As he slept rough, the swaddling was probably necessary for warmth - but he kept the same number of layers all year round.

His favourite thing to do was to go into a restaurant, throw down a wad of notes and make himself comfortable by putting his feet up on the seat and spitting on the floor.

He became so famous that a fictionalised version of him appeared on the RTE TV Show Wanderly Wagon as well a spin-off series.

Johnny Fortycoats

4. Hairy Lemon

Hairy Lemon was a dog catcher who patrolled the city around the time of World War 2 and particularly liked to hang around the Big Tree in Drumcondra.

He got his name from his easily recognisable ginger head and unusual yellow complexion.

The traditional pub on Stephen Street is named after him!

Hairy Lemon

5. The Diceman

Thom McGinty was originally from Scotland but moved to Dublin in 1976 to be a nude model for life drawing classes at NCAD.

'The Diceman' was born when Thom took a job that required him to paint his face like a mime and hold a sign advertising 'The Diceman's Game Shop'.

One of his favourite tricks was to stand still as a statue and try to get from one end of Grafton Street to the other without anyone noticing.

The Diceman

Diceman image: Wikipedia

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