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Sunday 17 November 2019

We danced, we laughed, we lived - a nation at play captured in stunning series of photos

John B. Keane and his son Bill (6yrs) with actress Maire Hastings at the opening night of the Hiker
John B. Keane and his son Bill (6yrs) with actress Maire Hastings at the opening night of the Hiker
Making-up for the last performance at the Old Abbey Theatre
Actor Peter O'Toole
Staff and performers during last night of the Theatre Royal Hawkins Street Dublin 1962

Ciaran Byrne

FUN AND GAMES - as a nation, we enjoyed plenty of those over the years and Irish Independent photographers were on hand to capture the best of times.

In part four of our fascinating pictorial series Irish Lives, published with the Irish Independent tomorrow, we take a look back into our recent history through images which capture the nation at play, enjoying sports, nights out and a bit of craic.

The last night of Dublin’s famed Theatre Royal features in this week’s issue – the closing down of the Hawkins Street site was for many a tragedy – and its replacement with a bland office block was a worse crime.

Veteran Irish Independent writer Myles McWeeney recalls the glory days of the Royal and we look back at the poignant images which captured the last night at the venue in 1962.

Also this week, the broadcasting legend Micheal O Muircheartaigh picks out his favourite social memories including a day at the Dingle races and the magic of time spent with family and friends.

The cabaret scene was one of the biggest draws in Irish entertainment in a special piece for ‘Irish Lives’ singer Tony Kenny shares with Ken Sweeney his time as the king of the crooners – and sets the record straight on his career.

Elsewhere, music writer Nick Kelly charts the evolution of Irish gigs – when we flocked to U2, Slane and the first early music festivals around the country.

With wonderful images from our archives, you can't afford to miss 'Irish Lives' - every Saturday.

* Feel free to send us your holiday picture memories of life in Ireland – and get a chance to win a fantastic Canon camera. We will publish the best ones in part five of the series.

The email address is and full details of the competition are on

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