Saturday 3 December 2016

We were the very first TV addicts and all was right with the world

John McEntee and his brother joined the throng in O'Connell Street to hear Dev's speech to launch the station

Published 01/01/2012 | 05:00

We'd been staring at the grainy black and white test card for months. My brother Aindreas and I wondered who lived in the remote Connemara cottage Radio Telefis Eireann had posted on our 19-inch Bush TV set to herald the opening of the channel 50 years ago.

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Aindreas, seven, and an eight-year-old me sat motionless for hours on the dining room floor of our terraced home in Cavan imagining the family inside the little house. We were convinced we saw movement at the window or the shifting from foot to foot of the ass tethered outside the whitewashed gable.

We were Ireland's first generation of TV addicts. From a soaring aerial on the chimney we had access to a fuzzy BBC and UTV transmitted from nearby Northern Ireland. Compared to our channel-starved southern brethren, we were aficionados. We had The Lone Ranger, Grandstand, Crackerjack, Top of the Form, and Watch with Mother. We also had the dubious pleasure of watching the closing credits on the BBC of a young Queen on horseback outside Buckingham Palace to the strains of God Save The Queen.

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