Dublin Street Characters
The best known of all Dublin’s street characters, Bang Bang patrolled the streets of the capital in the 1950s acting out the role of a movie cowboy, shooting pedestrians with a giant brass key that served as his Colt 45. The passengers on board the trams and buses enjoyed his play acting and often joined in, pretending to be shot. When he fired a shot he’d shout out “Bang Bang”, hence the name.
Poor auld Bang Bang, he’d probably be arrested nowadays. You certainly couldn’t let him anywhere near the airport.
The legend goes that Matt would get up in the morning and cook a lovely big fry; eggs, bacon, tomatoes, sausages, the works. He’d make a big piping hot pot of tea, then just as everything was ready to serve he’d feck the lot of it into the bin and go for a big pray.
He was known as Mad Matt when he was alive and was scoffed at by his neighbours, but after he died it was discovered that he went around with heavy chains tied to his arms, legs and waist. This act of self-punishment and his fondness for mass made him a hero to the devout, so much so that the Pope venerated him.
Today he has a bridge named after him outside the Custom House, with a statue of him on it.
Ah Hairy Lemon, the kids used to give him an awful time. He got his name on account of his yellow skin and oddly shaped loaf. He was a dog catcher so it was probably fleas he had, then again he was very fond of the drink.
Today he has a pub named after him around the corner from St. Stephen’s Green, the complexion of which is much nicer than the man himself.