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'All we were doing was going to funerals. All the Northside': Stardust episode four out now

The fourth episode of Stardust looks at the days and weeks immediately after the horrific tragedy.


“We were sort of in shock. We wanted to see Caroline. Such a shock at the time. We were doing what everyone was telling us to do. They brought a piece of Caroline’s jeans. It was soaking wet. There was a comb melted. And also a watch that was burnt to bits. And a chain that was badly burnt.” – Maurice McHugh

WHEN THE DUST settled on Valentines Day 1981, dozens of young people were dead.

The Stardust was one of the worst disasters in the history of the State, and the nation’s media descended on the working class suburb of Artane to document the pain and grief of entire communities in north Dublin.

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, families were desperately hoping for good news on their loved ones – many of whom were missing following the fire. In some cases, they were receiving treatment in hospital and were reunited with their families.

In other cases, mothers and fathers were told that their young son or daughter had died. Many of them were only identified through an item of clothing, or a piece of jewellery.

In Episode Four of Stardust from, you’ll hear from family members describing how they received the worst news imaginable as the tragedy was laid bare.

stardust-disasters-grief-flowers-hearse People line the streets near the Church of St Luke the Evangelist in Kilmore on 18 February 1981. Source: Eamonn Farrell

You’ll hear from the people there that night on how they felt in the immediate aftermath and how they felt hearing what had happened to their friends.

You’ll hear from journalists such as Eamon Dunphy and Charlie Bird on being sent down to cover the tragedy, and the early narrative that emerged in the press that there could have been an arsonist responsible for the fire.

You’ll also hear about official Ireland’s reaction, and the promise of swift justice from Charlie Haughey as he set up a Tribunal of Inquiry.

You can listen to the podcast below, or listen to it wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please give us a rating and review.

Find previous episodes here

You can listen to the podcast below, or listen to it wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please give us a rating and review.

Source: Stardust/SoundCloud

Search for Stardust or on your favourite podcast app. Can’t find it? Email

Stardust is presented by Sean Murray, produced by Nicky Ryan with executive producer Christine Bohan. Image in cover art by PA Images.

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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