Ireland’s big mystery – the Vanishing Triangle

Just outside Dublin lies a place known to locals as the ‘Vanishing Triangle’. One of Ireland’s eeriest mysteries, it’s where eight women suddenly and inexplicably vanished in the 90s, never to be seen or heard from again…

Annie McCarrick. Eva Brennan. Imelda Keenan. Jo Jo Dollard. Ciara Breen. Fiona Pender. Fiona Sinnott. Deirdre Jacob. Most of these women were in their late teens or 20s; at 39, Eva Brennan was the oldest. Between 1993 and 1998, all of them disappeared leaving no clues or evidence as to their fates. Despite extensive media campaigns and large-scale searches by the Irish police, none have ever been found. One of the most curious elements is that all the disappearances occurred within an 80-mile radius of Dublin that forms a geographical triangle.

Annie McCarrick went missing on 26th March 1993. The last confirmed sightings of her had her running errands at her local bank and supermarket that morning. An unconfirmed sighting placed her in Johnny Fox’s pub in Glencullen in the evening with an unknown man. This man was never found.


Annie McCarrick

Over the next five years, seven more women went missing in the Vanishing Triangle. Perhaps the most alarming of these cases was the last, Deirdre Jacob. On 28th July 1998, she too had been running errands. She’d also visited her grandmother in the middle of town. After doing so, Deirdre headed home along a country road that she’d walked all her life and, when she was only yards away from her home, vanished.

“Neighbours saw her about 200 yards from her home,” says journalist Geraldine Niland.  “And then, suddenly, she was gone. She literally was standing at the side of the road, about to cross over into her home, and then, she was gone.”

That Deirdre vanished in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon and so close to her home crystallised fears that a serial killer was roaming the countryside. The police formed a special taskforce to find her, to no avail.

It’s widely believed that a serial killer was responsible for some if not all of the disappearances. Larry Murphy, who lived inside the Triangle, is the most commonly cited suspect. Murphy was convicted of kidnapping, repeatedly raping, and attempting to murder a young businesswoman in the Wicklow Mountains in 2000. He was in the process of strangling the woman when two hunters came upon the scene and intervened, saving her.

Murphy’s always maintained his innocence in relation to the disappearances, and to date no solid evidence has ever been found linking him to them. What is curious, however, is that Murphy was imprisoned for a decade, during which time the disappearances stopped. This isn’t evidence, of course, just an interesting coincidence.

The police search for Fiona Pender

So where does that leave us? Perhaps all eight women were abducted by aliens? Or fell through fissures in the space-time continuum? Perhaps they’re stranded in the future, or the past, or another dimension somewhere?

That’s just whimsical conjecture for the sci-fi fan in me. But the idea that they’re lost in time and space is much nicer than the idea that they were snatched in broad daylight by a serial killer who was never caught and could easily strike again if he fancied…

Next week: Edward Snowden and the ‘Big Brother’ conspiracy

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