The times we lived in: tragic fire on Parnell Street

Published March 28th, 1972

In March 1972 eight people, seven of them young girls, died in a fire at Noyek’s, timber merchants.  Photograph: Dermot Barry

In March 1972 eight people, seven of them young girls, died in a fire at Noyek’s, timber merchants. Photograph: Dermot Barry


We try to choose funny, quirky, uplifting photographs for this slot. But news isn’t always uplifting. Today’s image is more than 40 years old, but it – and especially the event it illustrates, which ran on the front page in March 1972 – still has the power to sadden.

Irish Times reporter Godfrey Fitzsimons tells the story: “Eight people, seven of them young girls, died in Dublin yesterday when fire destroyed the offices and showroom of Noyek’s timber merchants in Parnell Street.”

The story continues: “The fire started just before 3pm and the building was enveloped in flames within minutes.” Such was the severity of the blaze, and the chaos that resulted from it, that it was difficult to identify all the victims, some of whom had been working at the firm for less than a week and were known to colleagues only by their first names.

A number of employees were injured when they jumped from the upper floors of the three-storey building; others escaped by climbing down ladders brought by workers in a radio and television firm across the street.

That firm was Peats Car Accessories, owned by brothers Geoff and Harry Peat. The latter told The Irish Times how he ran around the front of the building after the fire had caught hold and saw two people lying on the ground in front of the blazing shop.

One was the managing director of the company, Ivor Noyek. Peat grabbed him by the hand and dragged him clear of the flames.

Peats World of Electronics was still around until late last month, when it was forced to cease trading, while Noyek’s is now Noyeks Newmans.

Memories of the fire, however, still burn strong among the relatives and friends of those who died on that terrible afternoon, and who deserve a moment of quiet sympathy today: Martha de Burgh White, Nancy Candon, Mary Culliton, Dolores Finnerty, Patricia Gore, Mary Leader, Marie McNally and Jim Pryal.

Arminta Wallace

These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from:

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.