The Legendary ‘Lugs’ Branigan

legendary lugs

This is the latest biography covering the storied life of the man known as Ireland’s most famed Garda. James Christopher Branigan was a figure of some celebrity and infamy in Dublin and Ireland at large, and his life is thoroughly examined in this book from Kevin C Kearns, a social historian and Profess Emeritus from the University of Northern Colorado.

Dr Kearns is credited as having written over 10 books on Dublin, including the Irish Times bestseller, Dublin Tenement Life. His biography of Lugs is extensive and thorough, as befitting the work of a historian. The work may even seem too comprehensive for some, but the writing is clear and uncluttered, easily capturing the details which bring a bygone era of Dublin to life. Lugs’s eventful career includes run-ins with ‘teddy boys’, his stewardship of some of Dublin’s well-known ‘characters’ such as Bang-Bang, Hairy Lemon and Johnny Forty-Coats, who relied on his support should they ever find themselves before a judge.

Lugs was renowned for his hands-on, not to say heavy-handed approach to law enforcement. His boyhood love of westerns, inherited from his stern disciplinarian father, is credited as the root of this approach. The book is freighted with connections like this, creating a vivid portrait of the man and his times. One for the Dublin history geek in your life, if they’re looking for something to curl up with between Chrimbo and New Year’s.

By Rúairí Conneely