80’s Ireland – Do You Remember?

Posted in News on 4th October 2018

1980's Ireland

80’s Ireland – Before the dawn of Boy Racer Boom Boom and the era of mobile phones there was a whole other kind of teen life.  The 1980’s the decade of the Mullet haircut, hair metal, big plastic earrings (of course they weren’t gawdy!😂)  and backcombing, the music of the 80’s was really the best wasn’t it!


Bandannas, air guitar and Youth Club Discos.  Trying to wind the brown tape back into the tape cassette with a pencil when your Walkman tried to eat it … I was an expert at that!  I was one of those that peeled the stickers off the Rubix Cube and put them in the right place because I always had one white square left on the red side. I wasn’t alone!

The Rubix Cube,  nearly every house in Ireland had one with the stickers peeled off and re-stuck over and over – the stickers were barely hanging on 😆 Notes home from school about headlice in the class and your Mammy pooching through your head in a panic.  Bottles of noxious Prioderm shampoo lined up on the counter.  If we put our hand to our hair she’d shriek “Are you scratching? Come here til I see if you have creepy crawlies”

We’d all go to school the next day smelling like a chemical factory.  That nit comb was vicious and no mercy was shown!  Come on, I’m not on my own here! 🕷 The fear was real!

14 hole Doc Marten Boots, ouch, limping wasn’t cool so I suffered it out while the skin of my shins rubbed itself raw on the tongue of the boots.  Before we had “Converse” we had Runnerboots 😁 nothing designer, we weren’t much aware of designer brands in the 80’s – certainly not like today’s teens! Over-sized jumpers, stonewashed jeans, big BIG hair, we were very easy to fund in comparison!

(My youngest child goes through a designer pair of trainers every month, mesh lightweight things that his toes pop through too regularly for my budget!  Oh my GOD, I have definitely turned into my Mother 😂 )

Tearing down the local hills at full pelt on a skateboard or boot skates wasn’t considered dangerous and nobody told your Mammy on you!!

Shell tracksuits, leg warmers, sweatshirt crop tops (which have made a comeback!)  Fat Frog was an Ice Lolly.  Glenroe, The Cosby Show, Dallas, Dynasty and Neighbours were watched by everyone.  It was the era of shoulder pads and power suits, Tom Cruise crushes and Kylie Minogue obsessions.  Being allowed to stay up “Late” to see Glenroe on a Sunday night … thrilled!

The Angelus Bell gong at 6pm every evening on RTE (does that still play?) Irish Dancing, spending the night before a Féis getting the rollers in so our little ringlet headed selves 👧could hop around a stage in some backwater down the country.

Singing Madonnas Like a Virgin aloud meant you were a bold girl – because that was vulgar talk!  The release of the Dreamworks Animation movie Shrek, meant every tiny tot in Ireland knew the song word for word in 2001!  My husband almost crashed the car when our two year old daughter sang every word from her car seat while munching a packet of Chickatees! That’s what happens when vulgar talk like that is included on a movie soundtrack! 😆

It wasn’t all blissful in Éire in the 80’s, and we’d be remiss to forget the events that shaped us as a Nation.  The Kerry Babies case of a young woman arrested for the murder of a baby found on a local beach … because she had been known to be an expectant unmarried Mother.  Blatant prejudices against women were still common, Church abuse scandals were rife and 48 young people die in the Stardust fire.  These families still have no answers about what happened that fateful night in the Artane Co. Dublin Niteclub.

Ireland as a nation, begins to see the bigger picture and to speak out against injustice.  The social conscience of the masses is born. Rallies in support of the H Block Hunger Strikers gather momentum nationwide and Bobby Sands is elected to Parliament in a landslide victory, Bobby died in May 1981 after 66 days on Hunger Strike.  Margaret Thatchers inhumane stance causing an outpouring of grief and hatred that fueled a generation, violence escalated in the North of Ireland and gripped the attention of the International Press.  Champion Racehourse Shergar is abducted … and is never found… Ever!

The 80’s gave us the best music, the funniest fashion and was the dawn of a changing Ireland.  How far we have come since then, Socially, Politically and in terms of Freedom of opinion and speech.  We’re certainly better dressed these days!

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