Posts from the �s’ category

Virgin Prunes Poster, 1978

Virgin Prunes

This is a poster for the post-punk band the Virgin Prunes

Bono joined the Virgin Prunes for a few songs at this gig in the Project Arts Centre. The Prunes were fronted by Gavin Friday, who was joined by fellow members of the ‘Lypton Village’ Guggi, David Watson, Strongman (Trevor Rowen), Dik Evans (brother of U2’s The Edge) and Anthony Murphy on drums.

With thanks to Gavin Friday

Listen to a radio interview with Gavin Friday:

Sunday Independent, 1972

Sunday Independent

An issue of the Sunday independent, including a profile of Tony O’Reilly

The Irish Independent was launched in 1905, successor to the Daily Irish Independent. The paper was owned by William Martin Murphy, and stayed in his family until it was purchased by Tony O’Reilly in a protracted coup between February 1972 and March 1973.

This issue from July 1972 features a short, sycophantic profile of the new boss – no more, really, than a snapshot of his rapid rise. O’Reilly made his first million that year, and the Independent would soon become the cornerstone of his media empire.

Permanent Collection

Watch a speech by Sir Anthony O’Reilly in 2007:

RTÉ Stamp, 1970s


Radio Teilifis Éireann (RTÉ) is Ireland’s national broadcaster

RTÉ has its origins in 1926, with the creation of 2RN, Ireland’s first radio station. The 1960 Broadcasting act changed its name to Radio Éireann, and made provisions for a new television channel, Telefís Éireann.

The introduction of television in 1961 was a major catalyst for social change in Ireland, with imported British and American TV shows and home-grown content like the Late Late Show providing a platform for discussing taboo subjects like contraception and homosexuality.

Permanent Collection

View an RTÉ test card from the 1970’s:

Papal Cross by Andrew Clancy, 1979

Papal Cross

Papal cross commemorating Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland in 1979

Ten of Ireland’s most accomplished artists have each produced a piece that reflects on some aspect of life in Dublin during the 20th Century

Gifted sculptor Andrew Clancy takes on the papal visit of 1979, a dizzying high point of Catholicism in Ireland. John Paul II, the newly elected Polish pope, was love-bombed by Irish youth. The Phoenix Park mass in Dublin saw one in three Irish citizens in attendance.

Andrew’s bronze Papal Cross is engraved with three real-life accounts of the day – his own and two others. With the three stories ranging from moving to sweetly comic and quirky, he has reflected the whole human experience of the day, and created a contemporary relic.

With thanks to Andrew Clancy

Watch footage of the crowds at the Phoenix Park mass:

Collection of Dublin Hotel Tea Cups, 1970s

Hotel teacups

Teacups from hotels in Dublin

1. Dolphin Hotel. This fine Gothic building is on East Essex Street. It was later converted into Dublin District Court offices.

2. Royal Marine Hotel. Originally the Hayes Royal Hotel (1828), the hotel was bought in 1863 by William Dargan, builder of the Kingstown Railway, and was rebuilt and reopened as the Royal Marine Hotel in 1865.

3. The Metropole Hotel. During the 1916 Rising this hotel, adjacent to the GPO, was completely destroyed. The same site is now home to Penney’s clothing store.

4. Royal Hibernian Hotel. Formerly located on Dawson Street, this grand old hotel was demolished in the 1980s to make way for the Royal Hibernian Way.

Permanent Collection

Watch some footage of 1970’s Dublin:

Hoey’s Court Street Sign, 1970s

Hoey's court

Jonathan Swift’s birthplace

Hoey’s Court would mean nothing to the world, or indeed to Dubliners, except that Jonathan Swift, a famous satirist and poet, was born here in 1667.

Permanent Collection

Listen to a reading of ‘A Modest Proposal’, written by Jonathan Swift:

‘Showdown on Wood Quay’, 1978

Hibernia wood quays

The remains of a viking settlement were discovered on Wood Quay

A site on Wood Quay was acquired by Dublin Corporation for their HQ in the 1970s. Excavations turned up a major viking settlement, but a vocal campaign to stop the construction of the new headquarters was unsuccessful. It was one of the key local battles of the decade.

Permanent Collection

Watch footage of the protests of Wood Quay:

Portrait of Francis Bacon, 1976

Francis Bacon

Photograph of the artist Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon was born up the road on Baggot Street. But like many other Dubliners – from Edmund Burke to Brendan Bracken – he saw himself as an Englishman. This photograph of Bacon was taken by John Minihan in 1976. Bacon’s paintings were famously bleak and emotionally raw. Margaret Thatcher once called him “that man who paints those dreadful pictures.”

Permanent Collection

Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir in St. Stephen’s Green, 1975

Edwards and MacLiammóir

Edwards and Mac Liammóir walking through St Stephen’s Green 

Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir were partners in both a romantic and a business sense. They opened the Gate Theatre together in 1928. Both were born in England.

In the Gate they presented European plays in contrast to the Irish peasant fare at the Abbey. (The two theatres were written off as Sodom and Begorrah.) The photograph is by Bill Doyle, ‘Ireland’s Cartier-Bresson.’

With thanks to Leslie Doyle for Bill Doyle and Lilliput Press

A documentary about Orson Welles’ time at the Gate Theatre:


‘Éamon de Valera is Dead’, 1975

Eamon de Valera dead

‘Most influential Irish political leader of this century dies peacefully in his 93rd year’

On Saturday 30 August 1975, the Irish Times announced the death of Éamon de Valera. A towering influence, he served multiple terms as a socially conservative Taoiseach and President.

De Valera retired from politics in 1973 at the age of 90, the oldest head of state in the world at the time. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Permanent Collection

Watch an RTE announcement about Éamon de Valera’s death: