Posts from the �s’ category

Fake Banknote Postcard

The postcard was part of a campaign to stop the destruction of the area around Bachelor's Walk.

The postcard was part of a campaign to stop the destruction of the area around Bachelor’s Walk.

In 1988, a group called Students Against the Destruction of Dublin produced these postcards for citizens to send the Taoiseach and Minister of the Environment to oppose the redevelopment of Bachelor’s Walk, which contains some of the most important early 18th Century houses in Dublin. At the time, buildings were being acquired by a development company, and the postcards urge the government to ensure that any development preserved the buildings.

On loan from Ian Lumley

Watch Ian Lumley discuss the significance of the postcard. 

Bus Ticket Machine, 1980s

Bus Ticket Machine

This ticket machine was a common sight for most Dubliners

Buses were manned by the two-man bus crew of driver and conductor. When Dublin Bus was born in 1987 it was the beginning of the end for bus conductors and their ticket machines. While most conductors were retrained as drivers, a few stayed on, with one conductor still serving the 20b route as late as 2005.

With thanks to Dublin Bus


Watch footage of buses in 1980’s Dublin:

White’s on the Green Matchbox, 1987

White's matches

Whites was a well-known French Restaurant

White’s on the Green was a French restaurant owned by Peter White and his wife Alicia. Head chef Michael Clifford admired nouvelle cuisine, and fans of his cooking included Charles Haughey and Karl Lagerfeld. While only open for four years during a bleak period in Dublin’s culinary history, the restaurant had an influence.


Permanent Collection

Dermot Bolger’s Typewriter, 1980


This typewriter belonged to the acclaimed writer Dermot Bolger

This typewriter belongs to the playwright, poet and novelist Dermot Bolger, who was born in Finglas in 1959. Bolger has worked as a factory hand, library assistant and publisher. A respected voice in Irish literature, his novels include Night Shift and The Journey Home.

With thanks to Dermot Bolger

Listen to a reading by Dermot Bolger:

First Issue of Sunday Business Post, 1989

Sunday Business Post

Ireland’s financial, political and economic newspaper

This is the first edition of the Sunday Business Post, dated November 26th 1989. Edited by Damien Kiberd, the paper would benefit from much-increased levels of advertising as Ireland’s economic fortunes improved in the 1990’s.

With thanks to Winter Hynes

Watch examples of Irish advertisements in the 1980’s:

Valedictory Verses by Séamus Heaney, 1988

Seamus Heaney Valedictory Verses

Poem written to mark the closing of Carysfort College in Blackrock

Séamus Heaney wrote this poem to mark “a significant moment in the history of Dublin” – the closure of Carysfort College in Blackrock. The Nobel-prize winning poet taught at the teacher-training college between 1975 and 1981, before he took up a position at Harvard.

Carysfort was founded in 1877 as a college for Catholic girls who wished to become teachers. Other lecturers at the college included Éamon de Valera and Eoin MacNeill, co-founder of the Gaelic League and founder of the Irish Volunteers. The poem was written, as Heaney notes, “to mark the end of an era.”

With thanks to Seamus Heaney

Portrait of Samuel Beckett, 1985

Samuel Beckett

Beckett is one of Ireland’s most acclaimed literary figures

Samuel Beckett grew up in Foxrock, but spent most of his life in Paris, where he is here captured near his home on the Boulevard St. Jacques. Beckett is most famous for his minimalist plays, often laced with dark humour, like Waiting for Godot and Endgame. The man who took this photograph, John Minihan, is an engaging figure who recalls his youth with a puckish twinkle.

Permanent Collection

RTÉ Radio 2 Badge, 1980s

Radio 2 badge

Radio 2 waas the forerunner to today’s 2FM

RTÉ created a second radio station in 1979, to focus more on popular music. Called Radio 2 between 1979 and 1988, the name was later changed to 2FM. The first song broadcast was ‘Like Clockwork’ by the Boomtown Rats.

With thanks to Michael Browne

Magazine Covers, 1985


Magazine covers commenting on the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985

The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed by Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald (‘Garret the Good’) and Margaret Thatcher on 15 November 1985, with the intention of creating peace in Northern Ireland. The Provisional IRA and loyalist paramilitaries rejected the agreement and continued fighting. Magill was a left-wing magazine founded by Vincent Browne in 1977.

John Mulcahy’s Phoenix is an Irish Private Eye.

Permanent Collection

Magdalene Laundry Ledger, 1980

Magdalene Laundry ledger

A shocking indictment of Official Ireland

This exercise book contains a list of clients for the Magdalene Laundry run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity at High Park in Drumcondra. The list includes familiar names such as Buswell’s Hotel, CIÉ and Bank of Ireland as well as the Department of Justice and even Áras an Uachtaráin.

Steven O’Riordan, who made a film about the Magdalene Laundries, says, “This ledger proves that the state was complicit in [a form of] slave labour that operated in Ireland until as recently as 1996.” The last Magdalene Laundry to be closed was in Seán MacDermott Street.

Maureen Taylor was an inmate at High Park for four years in the 1960s. The following testimony is from a letter to the current Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter TD:

“After 14 years in an industrial school my mother found out where I was and when I was 16 years of age in November 1963 she took me to England. After nine months here it wasn’t suitable for me as my stepfather didn’t want me and he beat me a lot. My mother got in touch with the nun in Mallow and she told my mother she would bring me back to Mallow and get me into a training centre as I was still 16. This is where my life from hell started. I arrived in Dublin airport and was met by two guards. They brought me to a very large building with bars on the building. It was the Magdalene Laundry in High Park, Drumcondra, Dublin 9. A nun opened the door and brought me to a room, she made me take off all my clothes and stood there naked and she cut my hair. She also told me I would never again be known as Mary and called me Monica, after a saint. I went to bed in a big dormitory, there was about 40 people there. I was woken at six o’clock the next morning and had to kneel down by my bed to pray. Then seven o’clock mass and after that it was breakfast of bread and tea, and during breakfast one of the older women read a Holy Bible. There wasn’t any talking allowed, it was very hard work then in the laundry from nine o’clock to six o’clock five days a week. It catered for colleges, hotels, private homes and hospitals. There was no wages. A nun sat in the laundry room at all times and you never spoke, just prayed. I committed no crime, locked up for four years, no rights. Even prisoners have rights.”

With thanks to Steven O’Riordan