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  • Southside

REVEALED: the identity of the bus conductor who became a Facebook sensation

Tuesday, 3rd October, 2017 1:02pm

Story by Tony McCullagh
REVEALED: the identity of the bus conductor who became a Facebook sensation

The late Brendan Bolger

REVEALED: the identity of the bus conductor who became a Facebook sensation

The late Brendan Bolger

THIS photo of a bus conductor became an online sensation when we posted it on our Facebook page in late August. In fact, it is our most viewed post ever, with an incredible reach of 1.4 million people. It has been shared thousands of times by our followers and generated a similar number of likes and comments.

When it comes to social media, nostalgia is clearly king. A post about growing up in Dublin in the 1960s, ‘70s or ‘80s always results in enthusiastic engagement from people who like our Facebook page.

But even we were taken aback by the sheer power of this simple photograph of a bus conductor. When we posted it, we didn’t know his name or when the picture had been taken.

The image unleashed a tsunami of nostalgia as it transported our readers back to a bygone, perhaps more innocent, era.

Thanks to the power of Facebook, it wasn’t long before relatives of the bus conductor became aware of all the fuss our post had created and they got in touch with us.

Today, we can reveal that the bus conductor pictured is Brendan Bolger, from Inchicore, who was a familiar face on the 18 route for 36 years.

Sadly, Brendan passed away seven years ago at the age of 83. But during his three decades as a bus conductor, he left a lasting impression on everyone he met.

According to his daughter, Lorraine, her father absolutely loved his job.

“He was a real people person and he always enjoyed helping his passengers,” she recalls. “His route would cross all sections of society, from wealthy Dublin 4 to more working-class parts of the city such as Ballyfermot, but my father treated everyone the same.”

Lorraine remembers that Brendan always took great pride in his appearance when going to work each day.

“He was extremely neat and tidy and always made sure his uniform was clean and his shoes were polished,” she says. “He really enjoyed his work and had great craic with his colleagues and passengers. He made many, many friends during his time as a bus conductor.”

Brendan met his wife, Mary Smyth, who worked in Noblett’s on O’Connell Street, while on his lunch break. They were married in 1960 and went on to have four children – three girls and a boy.

Incredibly, none of his family had ever seen that particular photo of their father before we posted it on Facebook.

“We were surprised but delighted at the reaction it got,” Lorraine adds. “We couldn’t believe it when we recognised our father in the photograph.”

Your can see the reaction to our original Facebook post here.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here