Dublin's Pearse St Station shaped a nation over the last century

From the 1916 Rising to Ned Broy and Michael Collins, from protecting the institutions of the new Irish State to policing a 24-hour city centre, Pearse St Garda Station has had a hand in the evolution of both the country and the capital.
Dublin's Pearse St Station shaped a nation over the last century

Its story is told in a commemorative book, Pearse Street 100 , compiled and funded by local gardaí, with all the proceeds going to the local Trust homeless organisation.

The landmark building — clad in granite with its distinctive curved corner — was erected in late 1915 on what was then known as Great Brunswich St.

The book was the brainchild of Supt Joe Gannon and was researched and edited by Garda Stephen Moore.

Garda Moore tells us a set of carved heads — from the times of the Dublin Metropolitan Police — flank the two station entrances, representing the officer class and rank-and-file constables.

The street was renamed in 1924 as Pearse St after Padraig Pearse, who was born at 27 Great Brunswick St in 1989.

The station became known as College Station, given its location beside Trinity College and was not renamed as Pearse St Station until 1965, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rising.

Two local DMP constables were killed in the rebellion: James O’Brien, from Kilfergus, Co Limerick, who was shot by Capt Sean Connolly of the Irish Citizen Army when he refused to leave his post at the Upper Castle Yard, and Michael Lahiff, from Kilmurry, Co Clare, who was on duty at St Stephen’s Green when he was shot by Constance Markievicz.

The book recounts the relationship with DMP intelligence officer, Det Sgt Ned Broy and Michael Collins during the War of Independence.

Although there were female police assistants as far back as 1917, there were no female guards until 1959, when 12 were recruited.

The book details the infamous Jim “Lugs” Brannigan, a talismanic figure in the city centre for his “rough justice” to those he felt warranted it.

The book notes other colourful figures that pepper the station’s history, including Garda Richard Farrelly who penned the classic song ‘Isle of Innisfree’, which was adopted as the theme tune for The Quiet Man, Garda Thomas Reeves who later became a well-known comic, and Insp John Keenan, a towering figure who was regularly seen policing street marches and protests.

The station, the headquarters of the largest division in the country, covers a diverse area — from Government buildings to Temple Bar and Pearse St flats.

The book is available to buy at the station.

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