Jim “Lugs” Branigan

Here’s a book that a lot of Dubliners will be interested in reading. Lugs “The life and times of Jim Branigan” by Bernard Neary. It’s a great insight to Dublin in the 1940’s and 50’s and an older, more direct approach to policing! Jim Branigan was the most famous policeman to patrol the streets of Dublin. Born in the south dublin union(subsequent site of St. Kevins then St. James’ Hospital), he was educated in the CBS of Basin Lane and Lugs(you wouldn’t call him that name to his face!) was based in Newmarket police station, Irishtown and for the most part in Kevin Street Garda station. Oral histories are divided on his legacy and a cause of much debate to this day. Involved in breaking up activities of several Dublin gangs such as the animal gang, ash street gang and the Teddy boys, Jim got to know almost every family in the disticts he walked, and was was both liked and loathed probably in equal measure. He locked up many ticket touts for big fight nights in the national stadium where he refereed thousands of fights and was himself a leinster boxing champion in 1936. For some in the liberties area it’s like a badge of honour to say you got a kick up the backside or a clip on the ear from him! He would often ask judges for leniency or more time to pay fines for individuals if he knew the family was of general good nature, and would often sort out domestic disputes in defence of the female. Here’s audio from an interesting History Ireland hedge school on the animal gangs I attended and discussion about Lugs himself:

Lugs overseeing a boxing bout, This fight looks like it was a draw 🙂

The garda have put the full text of Bernard Neary’s book, a hard one to find in print these days, on their website and is available to read here in full:


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