Thursday 18 October 2018

Pirates of the airwaves recall days of radio and raids - and transmitters hidden in Jacob's biscuit tins

Declan Meehan holding a Radio Transmitter in a biscuit tin. Dublin City University will hold the Irish Pirate Radio Archive in the O’Reilly Library, DCU. Photo: Mark Condren
Declan Meehan holding a Radio Transmitter in a biscuit tin. Dublin City University will hold the Irish Pirate Radio Archive in the O’Reilly Library, DCU. Photo: Mark Condren
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

A transmitter disguised in a Jacob's biscuit tin so it could be quickly hidden in the event of a raid is one of the many items from the Irish Pirate Radio Archive, which has been donated to DCU.

The heyday of pirate radio was recalled in Dublin yesterday as some of those renegades who played a part in sticking it to the man - in this case Raidió Éireann - marked 30 years since the end of pirate radio.

Declan Meehan started Radio Vanessa in Santry in September 1980 with a group of friends, and later Radio Milinda in Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin. He recalled being raided by gardaí and officials from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs while live on air.

"Ultimately, we were fined £2 in court. It hurt [the fine] but it was a badge of honour because suddenly we were extra-special in the pirate radio fraternity," he said.

The archive was compiled by broadcast historian and self-confessed radio anorak Eddie Bohan, who said that between 1960 and 1990 some 1,094 pirate stations were set up around the county.

They broadcast from every available location, including in the case of Radio North, a caravan in Carndonagh, Co Donegal.

Irish Independent

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