Dublin Military Oddities

That Friday Siren Sound

Ever hear that air-raid klaxon sound on a Friday afternoon?

In fact, it is a “test general alarm”, according to Mick Duffy, company quartermaster of Cathal Brugha Barracks.

It’s just for the barracks, not for the rest of us.

If it were for real, and not just an every-Friday test, it would be a call to arms for the soldiers at the barracks to defend them. Barracks across the country have similar alarms.

Soldiers can tell the threat is real if there is no verbal warning before the siren goes off.

If you’re a civilian, there’s nothing you’re supposed to do when you hear the alarm, even if it’s not a test, even if it’s for real, said Duffy.

Why does it have that Blitz-era air-raid sound? Simply because such a siren is “a standard klaxon”, a “piercing sound and it does rattle over a long distance”, which is important because most barracks sprawl over large areas.

It works, so there’s no point in changing it, says Duffy.


I’ve always wondered exactly what that sound is, I’ve heard it on Fridays in town and out in Citywest. Which makes sense now, I was near McKee and Baldonnel. Thanks Dublin Inquirer!