December 1956; ‘Teddy Boy’ killed in Stoneybatter brawl

‘Teddy Boy’ dies tragically after street brawl in Stoneybatter in December 1956
Newspaper reports in the mid to late 1950s were brimming with dark tales of a new youth phenomenon to reach Ireland – the ‘Teddy Boy and Teddy Girl’. Late 1956 had seen the release of the film ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and there was much lamenting of the ‘excesses of youth’. Fights had broken out at some film screenings and in one case the Guards were called and the screening abandoned. Some newspapers reported that club managers barred Teds from entry.

Teddy BoyOn 3rd January 1957 the Irish Press reported on the inquest into the death of William McDonagh, aged 25 and from Queen Street, who was killed following a street brawl in Stoneybatter on 12 December 1956. Mr. McDonagh was struck by a lorry and killed. A fight had earlier broken out in Smithfield where, according to witnesses, Mr. McDonagh and two associates attacked two men using leather belts and buckles. There was apparently talk of razor blades being threatened too.

The two men drove off in the direction of Stoneybatter and were pursued on foot, where another melee ensued and Mr. McDonagh either fell off or was struck by the truck and was tragically killed. According to a Garda who gave evidence at the Inquest, he saw two boys of the ‘Teddy Boy’ type run after a lorry.

If you have any photos or stories to share of growing up in the area in the mid 1950s, please get in touch.

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