Information Dublin’s flying pig

The great variety of vehicles and equipment needed to keep vital services in operation uses two main chassis types. In the past, many were supplied complete by specialist builders like Shelvoke and Drewry but in recent years there has been a growing tendency to use ordinary commercial chassis suitably adapted for the intended purpose.

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A Dennis 45-50cwt (2.5-ton) lorry, mechanically similar to the contemporary Ace bus, was introduced in 1933. This and its numerous derivatives were widely used as a basis for fire brigade and municipal vehicles. Sligo had a fire appliance based on this chassis, which, happily, survives. The Ace —the name came to be used, rather inaccurately, for the lorry chassis as well as the bus — had a 24.8hp four-cylinder petrol engine and a set-back front axle — hence the Flying Pig appellation given to the bus, of which there were several in Ireland.

A little-noticed duty of municipal authorities is that of preventing rainwater from flooding the streets. To achieve this gullies have to be cleaned and flushed regularly. Various methods have been employed over the years, the simplest being special right-angle gulley shovels.

Dublin Corporation decided to replace their steam-driven gulley cleaning wagon in 1937 and ordered two Dennis 45-cwt. chassis with Dennis equipment for this purpose. They were registered in July 1938 and for over 25-years were a familiar sight in the city. They had no door on the nearside to afford the helper quick access to roadside gullies. Their original livery was green, but in the sixties they were turned out in yellow; they also acquired nearside doors around this time.

On withdrawal in 1967, No. 1 was scrapped but No. 2 (pictured) was overhauled by apprentices at the Corporation Mechanical Workshops at Stanley Street and given to the Museum. It differs from its original appearance in one respect - its radiator comes from a more modern refuse freighter.

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