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Grangegorman lives: Billy in the Bowl

Our series Grangegorman lives continues with Billy in the Bowl a notorious beggar and robber who lived on the Northside of Dublin.

Billy in the Bowl (fl. 1780s) was a notorious beggar and robber who lived on the North side of Dublin. Born with no legs, he propelled himself about in a large bowl to which wheels had been fitted, thereby drawing the nickname ‘Billy in the Bowl’ from locals. Learn more about Billy’s life and connection to Grangegorman and Stoneybatter here

Grangegorman Lives is a series of biographies of over 60 women and men whose lives influenced or were influenced by Grangegorman. The biographies are all sourced from Ireland’s Dictionary of Irish Biography: Ireland’s national biographical dictionary. Devised, researched, written and edited under the auspices of the Royal Irish Academy, its online edition is freely available at

Article image: Billy in the Bowl commission by Dublin Canvas ©Shota Kotake