Billy in the Bowl

Bobby Aherne
Grangegorman Lower

The handsome, deformed begger Billy Davis or 'Billy in The Bowl' as he was known terrorised the streets of Grangegorman in the 18th century. Bobby Aherne sheds some light on one of Dublin's darkest street characters.

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In and around 1786, Dublin’s first-ever police force was mobilised, and the first case they were confronted with was the 11 Grangegorman Lane Murder, where a sturdy servant girl had been robbed, beaten and strangled. In the months leading up to the murder, a number of young servant girls were lured into ditches and robbed, and the police were inundated with so many complaints that a nightly patrol was placed on the district. Pitied and unsuspected, a handsome, deformed beggar dragged himself across the streets. This was Billy in the Bowl. This was the man they were looking for, the Stoneybatter Strangler.