Gardaí honoured by Commemorative Plaque

photograph of Garda Commssioner Drew Harris, Ms Mari HYland, and Councillor Mary Freehill, at the unveiling.

Dublin City Council is proud to unveil a plaque to honour two An Garda Síochána detectives who were killed in the line of duty, 81 years ago today. The commemorative plaque was unveiled on the morning of 16th August, 2021, at the building on Rathgar Road where the two men lost their lives. The plaque was proposed by the men’s surviving families and by Gardaí from Rathmines Station.  

Detective Sergeant Patrick McKeown, from Armagh, and Mayo-born Detective Garda Richard Hyland, were both shot during a raid at 97A Rathgar Road, on 16th August 1940.  

Shortly before 8 a.m. on 16th August, 1940 a group of five detectives, under the command of Detective Sergeant Patrick McKeown, carried out a search in Rathgar Road, Dublin, under the provisions of the Offences against the State Act, 1939.  After gaining entry to the building, the Gardaí were surprised by a burst of gunfire from behind a partition wall. 

Detective Garda Hyland managed to discharge one shot after being wounded which warned off his surviving colleagues from entering through the front of the shop. Detective Sergeant McKeown died from his wounds the following day. Another Garda, Detective Garda Brady, was seriously wounded. 

At the event Garda Commissioner Drew Harris spoke of the two men who were killed, and the sacrifice they made when carrying out their duties.  

Commissioner Harris said, On this day 81 years ago, Detective Garda Richard Hyland and Detective Sergeant Patrick McKeown made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the State and its people.  

We know through history that on August 16th, 1940 Detective Garda Hyland and Detective Sergeant McKeown demonstrated immense bravery and performed their duties intelligently, fully knowing that there was a risk to their lives.  

The commemorative plaque being unveiled today is a fitting memorial to their sacrifice. And, later this month, An Garda Síochána will also recognise their exceptional courage and bravery by awarding the Gold Scott Medal to both men posthumously at a ceremony in Dublin Castle. 

Today’s anniversary is another reminder of each of the members of An Garda Síochána that have their lost their lives in the line of duty, and the bravery demonstrated by Gardaí on a daily basis to keep people safe.” 

Also speaking at the unveiling, Councillor Mary Freehill, paid tribute to all the Gardaí who have lost their lives on duty, noting that the plaque will serve as ‘a reminder to us all, if any were needed, of the risks that the women and men of An Garda Síochána take on our behalf as they perform their duties on the streets of Dublin’

The plaque is being unveiled to mark the 81st anniversary of the incident by Councillor Freehill, representing the Lord Mayor; Mary P. Hyland, a daughter of Detective Garda Hyland, and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. 

The decision to erect the plaque was made by the Dublin City Council Commemorations & Naming Committee. 

S.S. Adela

Located on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, this plaque commemorates the sinking of the S.S. Adela in December 1917.

It was unveiled on 30th September 2017 by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Michael Mac Donncha.

The S.S. (steamship) Adela was built in Glasgow for Tedcastle McCormick & Co. Ltd, her home berth being Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

Serving the Dublin-Liverpool route, the Adela was sunk by a torpedo from the German U-Boat U-100 on 27th December 1917. Twenty-four lives were lost.

Dombrain, James

Located at 36 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, D02 CD93, this plaque commemorates the founder of the Irish Coastguard, Sir James Dombrain.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

During the Famine, hearing reports from his officers in the area, he sent relief to Clifden, Galway, for which he was reprimanded by the Treasury.

The plaque was unveiled on 23rd September, 2016.

Dowden, Edward – poet & critic

Photograph of a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating Edward Dowden

On Sunday, 29th November 2015, a Dublin City Council commemorative plaque honouring the Irish poet and literary critic Edward Dowden (1843-1913) was unveiled in Ballsbridge.

The plaque is located at 50 Wellington Road, Dublin 4, where Dowden lived for several years, with Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha speaking on behalf of Dublin City Council’s Commemorative Naming Committee.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

Appointed to the newly created position of Chair of English Literature at Trinity College Dublin in 1867, Dowden quickly earned a reputation as an internationally respected literary critic and was an authority on William Shakespeare as well as figures such as Percy Bysshe Shelley and Robert Browning. A staunch unionist who was hostile to the Irish Literary Revival and growth of Irish nationalism during his later years, Dowden received honorary degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh, and Princeton.

He married twice and had several children, with a daughter from his first marriage, Hester Meredith Dowden (1868-1949), going to become one of the most famous spiritualists and psychic investigators during the first half of the twentieth century. Those wishing to learn more about a figure described by author John Eglinton as “almost a saint to culture”, should consult the chapter ‘Edward Dowden: Irish Victorian’ in Terence Brown’s book Ireland’s Literature: Selected Essays (1989). You can reserve a copy of the book when Level 5 restrictions are lifted. 

Watch the presentation below by Dr James Curry, Dublin City Council historian in residence, which is part of a “Plaques of Dublin” online lecture series.

Submitted by Historian in Residence, James Curry.  

Ennis, Séamus – musician

Photograph of Dublin City Council plaque honouring Seamus Ennis

On the afternoon of Friday, 3rd May 2019, an official Dublin City Council commemorative plaque unveiling took place at the site of Séamus Ennis’s boyhood home in Finglas, which was demolished during the 1960s. 

This event occurred two days before the centenary of the birth of the renowned musician, singer, folklore collector and broadcaster who left behind, to quote from one 1982 obituary notice, “a priceless heritage of Irish tradition to the nation”.

The plaque was unveiled outside Burgess Galvin & Co. Ltd. on the Jamestown Road by Councillor Paul McAuliffe, representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin, with Ennis’s children Catherine and Christopher travelling from England for the occasion.  

A bronze plaque commemorating Ennis at the same site had previously been unveiled by John Gormley, Lord Mayor of Dublin, on Tuesday, 1st November 1994, during the inaugural Séamus Ennis Festival (Féile Shéamuis Ennis), a week-long Finglas celebration that included the renaming of a local road in Ennis’s honour. This earlier commemorative plaque was designed by Finglas sculptor Leo Higgins and stonemason Bobby Blount.

If you would like to learn more about Séamus Ennis, there is an essay on his life in the book History on your Doorstep, Volume 2. Six more stories of Dublin history (Dublin City Council, 2019), available at all branch libraries. Photo by Paddy Cahill. You can also watch the presentation by Dr James Curry, Dublin City Council historian in residence, which is part of a Plaques of Dublin online lecture series.

Fallon, Richard – Garda

Located at 24 Aran Quay, Dublin 7, D07 W620, this plaque honours Garda Richard Fallon, who was killed in the line of duty on 3rd April 1970.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

On the morning of 3rd April, 1970, three armed men robbed the Royal Bank of Ireland, Arran Quay, Dublin. On arrival at the scene Garda Fallon, with two colleagues, Garda Paul Firth and Garda Patrick Hunter, were confronted by the raiders. As the Gardai moved  towards them all three of the raiders fired repeatedly at the Gardai. Garda Fallon attempted to arrest the gunman nearest to him when he was shot by one of the other raiders and was fatally wounded.

The plaque was unveiled on 22nd July, 2020.