A US tourist, who suffered permanent facial scarring during a frenzied assault in Dublin two years ago, was told by a surgeon that it looked like someone had tried to scalp him.

Garth Russell, a New York stockbroker, and his brother, Patrick, were set upon by four men when they tried to prevent a robbery in Dublin's lively Temple Bar area.

The siblings had been enjoying the first day of their highly-anticipated vacation to Ireland in April 2012 when they were viciously attacked and chased down Dublin's Liffey quays with glass bottles being hurled at them.

Three of the gang were jailed for between three and five years – which followed the sentencing last December of the fourth man, who received a six-year term.

Although he wasn't in court yesterday, Russell – who still has glass embedded under is eye following the assault – said his nightmare experience was the last thing he had anticipated on his vacation to Ireland.

But in a statement he praised the efforts of gardai in tracking down the gang and said he now wants to put the experience behind him and move on with his life.

However, recalling the chilling episode in an interview with the Irish Independent, he told how he and his brother had looked forward to visiting Ireland for the first time, as it was where their grandfather was from.

And recalling the night of the assault, Russell said the ugly scenes broke out as he strolled around Temple Bar in the company of his brother and a nephew.

He said they threatened to alert the authorities when they discovered the robbery. And then, after a brief scuffle, the gang – ranging in ages from 21 to 28 – armed themselves with glass bottles and pursued the three tourists down the quays.

Garth said his brother's arm was "broken by a large bottle that was meant for my head."

He continued: "My brother put up his arm in defense and the bottle broke it. I thank my brother for that. I had been hit with multiple bottles at that point. I was pretty out of it. When I was hit with the first one, that was the one that caused the scar that runs from my forehead down to my cheek.

"I couldn't see at that point. I had a lot of blood on my face. That's when things went very dark."

So horrific were Russell's injuries, that the Irish surgeon who treated him said "it looked as if someone had tried to scalp me."

Amazingly, the two men continued with their Irish vacation, despite [Garth] Russell walking "around like Frankenstein."

In passing sentence on three of the gang members yesterday, Judge Patrick McCartan was critical of Ireland's juvenile justice system, which, he said, was incapable of dealing with violent young men who "prowl the streets taking their opportunities as they arrive."

He said the three attackers – Ian Dent, 21, Richard Fish, 24, and Aidan Finnegan, 28, all from Dublin – had come through the "well-worn path" of the juvenile criminal justice system, which he stressed did not seem "in any way adequately resourced or capable of dealing with them."

He added: "This is something that needs to be considered by legislators because it's a recurring feature of these courts."