Thursday 21 September 2017

Capital celebrates 50th anniversary of Fab Four's famous visit

Allison Bray

Allison Bray

ONLY a handful of press photographers were on hand to greet the Beatles as they touched down at Dublin airport for their iconic visit to Dublin 50 years ago.

It is unfathomable now, but Beatlemania had yet to fully explode on the Irish scene.

However, former 'Irish Press' photographers Andy Farren and Padraig MacBrian, who started up Ireland's first press agency, the Lensmen Press and Public Relations Photographic Agency, in 1952, captured these stunning images.

The Fab Four were greeted by a smattering of journalists and up to 400, mostly female fans at Dublin airport.

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Mr Farren (97) and Mr MacBrian (94) took these iconic black-and-white shots as the Beatles walked down the gangway from Aer Lingus flight EI AJI from London shortly after noon on November 7, 1963.

And unlike today, press and fans alike were free to greet them on the tarmac without going through rigorous security as they arrived at the old terminal building, which has since been replaced by Terminals One and Two.

"In those days, people could just walk out to the terminal and meet people," said Dublin Airport Authority spokesman Paul O'Kane.

And while some fans did approach the Fab Four for autographs, most of their screaming teenage admirers were kept at a distance as the press greeted the band's arrival.

Among them was former RTE reporter Frank Hall, who interviewed the lads from Liverpool about their fame, hairstyles and the so-called 'Mersey Sound'.

The original terminal building, built in the 1940s, is also still visible today on the far side of Terminal One.

Copies of the photographs are available through Irish Photo Archives, which took over the Lensmen Collection of 3.5 million images.

The capital city will this weekend celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band's visit with the Dublin Beatles Festival. For more information on the festival, visit www. dublinbeatlesfestival.com.

Irish Independent

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