\"Grafton

Grafton Street time-lapse. Photo by: Eileen Murphy

The changing face of Ireland throughout the decades (PHOTOS)

\"Grafton

Grafton Street time-lapse. Photo by: Eileen Murphy

In the past 60 years, Ireland has undergone some astonishing changes. While there is still a large agricultural industry in the country, Ireland has also developed into one of the world's most sophisticated technology hubs.

The country has weathered the troubles in the north, poverty, upheavals in politics, challenges to religious influence and cyclical emigration. Yet through periods of great prosperity and grinding economic depression, the essential character of the Irish people has remained unchanged.

Ireland in 1954
Jimmy Barry-Murphy
Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy in his playing days.

Imagine a world with no television -- that's Ireland in 1954. Some people had TV sets on which they were able to pick up broadcast signals from the BBC, but there was no Irish programming available.

That would change in 1961.  RTÉ was already 28 years old, but it had been strictly a radio service. The television portion would make its debut in time for the New Year's Eve countdown on December 31, 1961, when a station full of formally dressed revelers welcomed in 1962.

Events: The government announces plans to build Cork Airport in Ballygarvan. The first public celebration of Bloomsday takes place in Dublin, led by Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O'Brien. Christy Brown's autobiography, "My Left Foot" is published.

Births: Singer Johnny Logan (May 13); Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy (Aug. 22), Fianna Fail TD Síle de Valera (Dec. 17).

Deaths: Captain Henry Harrison, last surviving member of Parnell's Irish Parliamentary Party, dies aged 87. Convicted murderer Michael Manning is the last person executed in the Republic of Ireland.

Ireland in 1964
RTE made its television debut on New Year's Eve in 1961.
RTE made its television debut on New Year's Eve in 1961.

It was a banner year for the Irish as they welcomed visits by Britain's Princess Margaret, Cuba's Minister for Industries Che Guevara and Jill, an Indian elephant headed for a new home at the Dublin Zoo. 

Events: The U.S. Embassy is officially opened in Dublin. A Garda training center was opened in Tipperary. The country celebrated the 25th anniversary of commercial transatlantic flight.

Births: Boxer Steve Collins (July 21), musician Jim Corr (July 31) and broadcaster Ray D'Arcy (Sept. 1).

Deaths: Author Brendan Behan (Mar. 20), Playwright Séan O'Casey (Sept. 18), former NYC Mayor (and Mayo native) William O'Dwyer (Nov. 24).

Ireland in 1974
Sean MacBride won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1974.
Sean MacBride, the son of Maj. John MacBride and Maud Gonne, won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

There was a strong current of unease in the country, with the Northern Ireland Executive collapsing within five months of its inauguration. Bombings in Dublin and Monaghan kill 33 people and injure 300 more.

Events: Powerscourt House in Enniskerry is destroyed by fire. Séan MacBride wins the Nobel Prize for Peace. A collection of Old Master paintings are stolen by members of the Provisional IRA. The first Kilkenny Arts festival is held.

Births: Singer Andrea Corr (May 17), "Late Late Show" host Ryan Tubridy (May 28), Boyzone singer Keith Duffy (Sept. 1).

Deaths: Poet Austin Clarke (Mar. 19); Michael Gaughan, Provisional IRA member, on hunger strike (June 3); Irish president Erskine Childers (Nov. 17).

Ireland in 1984
Singer Luke Kelly.
Singer Luke Kelly.

With the economy in crisis due to high unemployment, young people start to emigrate in large numbers. U.S. President Ronald Reagan arrives for a state visit, and drops by his ancestral village of Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary.

Events: Workers at the Henry Street branch of Dunnes Stores go on strike to protest the importation of fruit from South Africa. Ford Motor Car and Dunlop Tire factories in Cork close their doors. Bob Dylan headlines at Slane Castle with guests Van Morrison, Bono, UB40, In Tua Nua and Santana.

Births: Dublin senior footballer Bryan Cullen (April 7); Boxer Andy Lee (June 11) and Cork senior hurler Kevin Hatnett (June 4).

Deaths: Folk singer and former Dubliners star Luke Kelly (Jan. 30). Anne Lovett, aged 15, whose death after giving birth in secret in a grotto in Granard, Co. Longford sparked a national discussion on sexual abuse (Jan. 31). World champion flyweight boxer Rinty Monaghan (Mar. 3).

Ireland in 1994
Michael Flatley and Jean Butler starred in the original "Riverdance."
Michael Flatley and Jean Butler starred in the original "Riverdance."

Ireland wins the Eurovision Song Contest for the third year in a row with the forgettable ditty "Rock 'n' Roll Kids." But the real news comes at the intermisison, when Jean Butler and Michael Flatley take the world by storm with the original "Riverdance."

Events: Jack Charlton's Boys in Green thrill fans with their unexpected win over Italy in the World Cup, but a loss to Holland ends their trophy dreams. The Provisional IRA announce a complete cessation of military activity. Taoiseach Albert Reynolds resigns his office and is succeeded by John Bruton.

Births: Actress Saoirse Ronan (April 12).

Deaths: Trad musician and music collector Micho Russell (Feb. 19). Playwright M.J. Molloy (May 27). Criminal Martin Cahill (known as "The General"), shot and killed (Aug. 18).

Ireland in 2004
Olympic show jumper Cian O'Connor.
Olympic show jumper Cian O'Connor.

The Celtic Tiger was roaring, and the booming economy attracted thousands of immigrants to the country for jobs in construction and service industries. Ireland takes over the presidency of the European Commission. The main topic of conversation is the introduction of the smoking ban that prohibits tobacco use in pubs, offices and restaurants.

Events: Dublin horseman Cian O'Connor wins an Olympic gold medal for individual jumping, but it is later revoked when his horse was disqualified. Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan is murdered by her captors in Iraq. The Northern Bank in Belfast is robbed of £22 million. Irish golfers Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley are part of the winning European team in the Ryder Cup.

Deaths: Singer and actress Maureen Potter (Apr. 7); Former Provisional IRA Chief of Staf Joe Cahill (July 23); Ireland's oldest woman, 111-year-old Margaret Dolan (Dec. 2).

What have Ireland's last 10 years looked like? What were the seminal moments? The biggest losses? The greatest victories? Let us know what you think in the comment section, below. 

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: