Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Flanagan - Contents

The Bird Flanagan's practical jokes

The Bird Flanagan (born 1867, died 1925) was a practical joker of early 20th century Dublin.
[O'Connor, 1963] describes him as "an elaborate practical joker, with a rich father who could afford to pay for the results of his son's exploits".
Here is a list of his jokes (some may be urban legends):


Short movie on the Gresham Hotel.
From Dublin City Public Libraries.


Stealing the turkey

Perhaps The Bird's most famous trick was he would pay for a turkey (or a ham, accounts vary) at a stall, ask for it to be left on an outside hook and he would collect it later. Then he would wait for a policeman, and act suspiciously, make sure the policeman was watching him, then suddenly gallop past the stall, snatch the turkey from the hook and race away.
"After a chase by the police, for a considerable distance, he would then produce the receipt" [Watchorn, 1985].


The 1966 letter from Oscar Love above says that the famous incident of The Bird pretending to steal the ham happened at Peter Murphy's shop on South Great George's St, Dublin.
Above shows the shop in [Thom's, 1910].

Sign on "The Bird Flanagan" pub, Rialto.
Showing the Bird pretending to steal a turkey.
Photo 2007. See larger and full size.


1907 Irish International Exhibition

The Bird is famous for stealing an African baby at the 1907 Irish International Exhibition.
This was held for several months, 4 May 1907 to 9 Nov 1907, at grounds in Ballsbridge that afterwards would become Herbert Park.
At the show was a "Somali village", which "exhibited" native people from Somalia, including a native family with a baby.
The Bird stole the baby, causing chaos, as the natives and show organisers looked for the child.

Plan of 1907 Irish International Exhibition, showing Somali village, top RHS.
See full size. From Irish Times, May 6, 1907.
N is pointing down to the left (see compass).

1887 to 1913 map shows the "Herbert Park" road is not yet completed through the park.
N is up.

The Somali village, 1907 Irish International Exhibition.
From "Come here to me!" blog.
From Neil Moxham.

The "Long Mile" Road

The Long Mile Road is said to be named after a horse race along the route by the Bird Flanagan. The course was "a long mile".
Shay Duffin said that his father George Duffin, The Bird's groom and steward, was "as far as I know, ... the one that rode the long mile."

The Long Mile Road on 1887 to 1913 map.
Note Drimnagh Castle to top right and Walkinstown House to bottom right.

The Long Mile Road on modern map.

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