8 incredible photos of Dublin in the 1960s
It’s amazing how much the city has changed.
Dublin in the 1960s was a different world to the place we know today. Remnants of old Ireland could be seen in places like the bustling Moore Street, with street traders hawking their wares, and religious traditions like the Corpus Christi parade. At the same time a new Ireland was emerging. The youth of the city were swept up in Beatlemania as they socialised at one of the many dances in the theatres and ballrooms that used to crowd the capital. The girls wore their hair in groovy bouffant styles in homage to the glamorous Jackie Kennedy who visited in 1963, one year after her husband John. The 1960s saw a host of other iconic personalities visit Ireland, from Audrey Hepburn, to Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Chaplin who visited almost every year throughout the decade to holiday in Kerry with his family. These photos, taken from the Irish Independent’s photo archive, chronicle our capital in this heady decade in modern Irish history.
When President John Fitzgerald Kennedy touched down on his ancestral soil in June 1963, the welcome he received would rival that of any of the decade’s rock and roll gods. Thousands of people turned out at Dublin Airport to greet the President as he arrived, and tens of thousands more swamped the city centre awaiting the Presidential motorcade.
Irish and American flags, flowers, banners and bunting were clutched in hands along the eight mile route from the airport to the Irish President’s residence, and a continual chorus of cheering and applause echoed across Dublin as the John F. Kennedy travelled through the city centre (above).
On November 7, 1963, the Beatles played two shows at the Adelphi Theatre in Dublin. The famous four were at the height of their fame, and the 'Beatlemania' that ensued caused chaos in the city. This image shows Gardai trying to contain the crowds outside the venue.
On June 15 1967 Jackie Kennedy touched down at Shannon Airport with her two children Caroline ad Johnny for a holiday in Ireland. Stepping off the Irish Airline’s Boeing jet she was greeted by thunderous applause from the crowds of people eager to catch a glimpse of her.
Speaking to the crowds after leaving the plane she said “I am so happy to be here in this land which my husband loved so much. For myself and the children it’s a little bit like coming home, and we’re looking forward to it dearly.”
O’Connell Street is the city’s most iconic promenade. Home to Dublin’s famous GPO building, the street is filled with traffic with trams running parallel across the road. Back in the 1960s, however, you might have seen the occasional tractor trundling down its length, as seen below.
The Theatre Royal was hub of variety for Dubliners from the 1940s to the 1960s. Unable to compete with the rise in popularity of the cinema the Theatre Royal closed on June 30, 1962.
The final bill was a triumphant celebration of the art of variety entertainment and featured esteemed performers including Noel Purcell, Joseph Locke, Jimmy O'Dea, Cecil Sheridan and Jimmy Campbell. Here, The Royalettes get ready for their final curtain call.
Moore Street in Dublin’s north inner city is one of the most iconic areas of the capital. The open air strip is the oldest food market in Dublin, with stall holders selling fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.
The street is also lined with specialty food shops selling wares from around the world, as well as long established butchers and grocers.
Model Grace O’ Shaughnessy poses outside Arnott’s department store on Henry Street in 1962. Arnotts is the largest and oldest department store in Dublin, below.
The origins of the business began in 1843 on Henry Street, where the flagship store still remains.
On March 8, 1966, a 121-foot tall granite monument in the heart of Dublin city was blown up in the early hours of the morning. Nelson's Pillar, a 13 foot statue of British Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson that stood atop a hollow granite obelisk, had towered over O'Connell Street for more than 150 years.
Miraculously, no one was harmed during the explosion, although a large granite stump was left surrounded by large pieces of rubble in the middle of Dublin's main thoroughfare. The image below shows the aftermath of the explosion. Six days later the Army detonated the remaining pillar causing a sizable amount of damage to nearby buildings.
Dublin in the 1960s, published by Mercier Press for the Independent Archives is available here. Use code BOOK10 to get 10% off.