Picture this, reader: the endless comforting green of 1980s Ireland. In that green, there are small and tight-knit towns that seem oh so friendly. On the 44 bus, there is a young college student. She will never be seen again, not to this day. This was the beginning of the Vanishing Triangle, which remains a cloudy mystery hanging over Ireland to this day. The definition of the Triangle acknowledges the disappearances of six women between the early and late 1990s. Although theories and investigations surrounding the Triangle ignore other unsolved disappearances and the recovery of ‘unrelated’ female bodies at that time, this Express series will explore beyond the surface and remember those almost forgotten women.
Keep in mind: do not be tricked by the uniqueness of the Irish tongue or the endless green fields of Ireland like Annie McCarrick.
Before McCarrick’s disappearance, unsolved cases were already generating when the bodies of women were discovered in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains in the 80s and into the early 90s. The names Phyllis Murphy, Antoinette Smith and Patricia Doherty are left out in most mentions of the Triangle. Perhaps this is because of the lack of physical and knowledgeable evidence surrounding McCarrick’s vanishing makes her unsolved case easier to stomach.
Originally from Long Island, New York in America, Annie’s accent and enthusiasm for Ireland stuck out to the locals. Although her parents were not entirely set on her Irish ideas, she begged and convinced them to let her study on the Green Isle. Her memory of it from a school trip was still crystal clear and her Irish ancestry made her feel like a second home was waiting for her beyond the Atlantic.
What stuck with Annie most about Ireland was the people, the air and the quietness. Her new home in Sandymount, Dublin, was a contrast to her fast New York life filled with cars and strangers. The friendly Irish seemed to click with her easy-going, trusting nature, a nature that concerned her parents.
Annie’s mother had this to say on Annie McCarrick’s time at Maynooth College “I know one of the priests at college said she could lift the spirits of the whole class; that she was that happy to be there”. Every second person at UCC today could be matched to Annie. The difference is that Annie’s story has no ending.
The day of her disappearance, McCarrick had the day off work. She decided to spend her day preparing to host a dinner for friends. This involved a trip around town buying groceries for a meal. The last images of McCarrick in the flesh came from a security camera in a bank she had dropped into. The grainy footage shows McCarrick behaving like her usual self, socializing with the staff and smiling.
The next sighting of McCarrick comes from memory. At around 3:30pm, a friend saw Annie on the 44 bus to Enniskerry. The commotion on the bus only allowed her friend a brief glance at Annie. The bus driver that day does not remember the American boarding the bus, but this can be put down to the sea of passengers the driver sees every shift. The following sighting that occurred is the most unreliable.
As does a bus driver, a bouncer sees a large number of people coming and going each day. According to a bouncer, Annie arrived at the Johnny Foxes pub in Glencullen and attempted to walk passed him. He stopped her telling her she had to pay to get in. Annie seemed to be surprised but in response, she smiled and apologised. The man behind her stepped in front of her, telling the bouncer ‘I’ll get that’ and paid for them both. Annie thanked the man and the pair faded into the busy pub.
That night when the guests arrived at Annie’s much-anticipated dinner party, they received no answer. Only when Annie did not return home, collect her paycheck or visit work with her usual homemade desserts did alarm bells start to ring.
Annie was reported missing to An Garda Síochána. The trail of the investigation started in Annie’s flat where her shopping was left inside the door. The unrefrigerated produce had gone off. This was out of character for Annie, a responsible and social young woman.
Odd details led to many more links being made. These links cast shadows over McCarrick’s case and raised questions.
Why did Annie take the 44 bus and how did she end up in Johnny Foxes’ pub?
What made McCarrick so suddenly back out of her house?
Where was/is she now? Days away from being missing for 26 years.