Big bang at Anglesea Bridge

A Mills 36 grenade

An unexploded hand grenade thought to be from the time of the War of Independence was discovered under the Anglesea Bridge in the Ballsbridge area on August 28th.

Gardai were immediately alerted and submitted a request to the Irish Defence Forces. The Army Bomb Disposal Team arrived on the scene at 11.05 am. After “they carried out an initial assessment of the scene,” the area was sealed off to ensure public safety. The “historic munition” was then destroyed in a controlled explosion by the team.

A number of curious onlookers watched the bomb disposal. A video taken by one of the witnesses, Anthony Kelly, was uploaded to Twitter, where it was liked and retweeted over 70 times. The video shows the bomb disposal team under the Anglesea bridge. They can be heard readying themselves. This is followed by a brief, bright flash, during which a surprised onlooker yells an expletive, after which the video ends. The area was declared safe at 12:45pm.

Speaking with NewsFour, Captain Ciara Ní Ruairc from the Irish Defence Forces’ Press Office, confirmed the device was a Mills 36 grenade. This type of grenade was invented by the British in 1915, during WWI and was commonly used during the War of Independence. The Mills 36 grenade continued to be manufactured as late as the 1980’s.
For obvious security reasons, Cpt. Ní Ruairc could not describe in great detail the exact procedure taken when a bomb is detonated and destroyed. However, she explained that when the unit are called and find an explosive munition, firstly, the danger is assessed, and then all the options are considered. This may mean the munition is destroyed on-site in a controlled explosion. On the other hand, if a grenade was discovered during road works, it would mean it had to be “made safe and then moved to a safe site,” before destroying it.

In a statement issued from the Defence Forces press office after the incident said “Historic munitions from conflicts in the early 20th century can be encountered from time to time.” And it warned that if members of the public encounter these “munitions” they are “advised to maintain a safe distance, inform An Garda Síochána, who in turn will request Defence Forces assistance.”

by Kevin Mac Sharry