Some people in Ireland refer to Dublin as the Big Smoke, but it is really a name that London got 65 years ago. Most of us, however, don’t know why! So let me explain because it has a lot to do with today:
On 05 Dec 1952 the “Great Smog” happened in London and that event was also called the “Big Smoke”. It was a five day period of severe air pollution (from coal), that coincided with a cold weather period, which created a thick layer of smog. It reduced visibility in London and even crept into indoor areas. Sounds uncomfortable, but it gets worse: Up to 12,000 people died as a direct result of the smog and it is expected that more than 100,000 people got ill because of it.
London changed a number of laws to reduce the air pollution as a consequence of this event, but Dublin had to have its own episodes of severe smog (in the 1980s) before smoky coal was banned in 1987 and 1990.
Shockingly in Ireland it will take until 2019 until the law that forces people to use smokeless coal will be enforced nationwide. That’s more than 30 years since smoky coal was banned in Dublin!! Unbelievable!