Dublin City Street Characters

Bang Bang: By Alan Finn


Thomas Dudley aka Bang Bang.

Every so often a name pops up here in Dublin City, of street characters, below is one of them he was known as Bang Bang. 

Thomas Dudley, was born here in our wonderful city of, Dublin in the year of 19-06, to his parents, “John and Mary Dudley. Thomas was born in a time when, Dublin was slummed with “Tenement housing and poverty knocked on nearly everyone’s front door. Thomas also had a sister called Ann. When Thomas, was young for reasons unknown, Thomas was placed in to care. Thomas grew up in an Orphanage in Cabra, here in Dublin. He stayed there till he was about (16) Sixteen years of age.

He lived on the streets for a number of years before he was given a flat here in the Liberties area of Dublin 8, in a place called Bridge-foot Street, just off Thomas Street. He used to go to the cinema and watch Cowboy & Indians films, it’s believed his favorite actor was the late “John Wayne. Once he had seen the movie Bang Bang, would then go out and re and act the film out pointing his famous key at people and shouting, Bang, Bang your dead, sometimes people would act it out with him and pretend to be dying after Bang, Bang shot them.

His favorite port of calls were on the public transport including the buses and the trams. On the old buses here in Dublin City, they used to have no back door, this area was where the bus conductor used to stand and take the fares. Bang, Bang used to hop on the buses and go from stop to stop shooting his key at the bus passengers again a lot of them did re and act with Bang Bang, and play the game as if it was real situation. However if you didn’t it was said Bang Bang, used to say to them, your dead I just shot you, now if you don’t die I won’t play again. Bus conductors knew who he was and they used to let him on the buses to entertain the passengers.

It was reported once when Bang, bang jumped on to a bus he fell to the ground, when people went to his aid he replied I am OK, take the stage to Medicine Bow, this happened to be one of the names of a town in a Cowboy film.

Sometimes when people where going to work, especially the ones who used to wear the old, Bowl hats and carry umbrellas they would take part in Bang, bangs street performing. They would pretend they had a “Winchester Rifle, with their umbrella’s and they would shoot back at him some went as far as playing dead.

When people suddenly came face to face with Bang, Bang, he would more than likely have been running up to them in a surprise attack, he was always running around the streets of, Dublin to shoot anyone with his key. Bang, Bang’s choice of a weapon was an old key, it was about (4) Four inches in length.

Bang, Bang became a favorite with, Dubliners from all walks of life he used to love when any tourists came to Dublin City especially, the Americans who loved it when Bang, Bang would shoot them. It was once stated that one of his shoot outs lasted (1) one hour when some, American tourists acted it out and shot back.

When, John Wayne died it was understood that Bang, Bang went around and told people that his old friend had died. Sometimes when he was watching a film and the Cowboys were under heavy attack he would stand up in the cinema and began to shoot at the bad guys at the screen, this went down very well with the other cinema goers, who found it very funny, the owners did not mind either he was never put out of a cinema but had been warned once or twice, by cinema ushers.

Children, on the streets used to shout out at Bang, Bang in a fun way, he would then take out his key and shout Bang, Bang all the children used to love the shooting games. The cinema was a very big thing with some people growing up in Dublin, as the televisions didn’t start to make their entries to “Irish homes till the late 60’s, or early 70’s. The cinema was a must and in some cases people had to book to get in on for a Sunday showing.


Bang Bang, was and still is today a favorite, Dublin City street character, one does not have to wander of the beaten track here in the Dublin 8 area to see photo’s, or printed information of him up in shop windows. Towards the end of his life Bang, Bang, was used by local people who were on drugs. They used to use his flat for shooting up their drugs. They used to buy Bang, Bang a bottle or two of stout and he knew no better, and it was at this period he was also beginning to have problems with his sight.

 Bang, Bang was then taken in to the care of the, Rosminians Fathers in Drumcondra, a home for the blind in Dublin City, He died there on the 11th January 1981, he was 75 years old.

Bang Bang, is buried here in Dublin City Ireland.


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