Ireland in the Year 1976

Irish flagOccasionally, we take a trip back in time, to the Ireland of years gone by…

Our “Ireland in the Year…” posts are inspired by an Irish documentary television program, Reeling in the Years, which showcased some of the most important political events and cultural trends from specific years in Irish history.

To see our other Ireland in the Year posts, please click here.

This time, we’re going to look at the Ireland of 1976.

During September of this pivotal year, four schoolboys who attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin formed a group that would later take the music world by storm.

U2’s four members, Adam Clayton, Bono Vox, the Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr., began to put together the signature sound that would define cutting-edge rock and roll during the 80s.

The style of the times was pure, late-Seventies chic, with long, layered haircuts for the guys, iron-on t-shirts for both sexes and peasant garb for the ladies.

However, punk was about to become an important style influence (as well as a new and powerful cultural influence), and the first sightings of punk-inspired hair, makeup and clothing in the Emerald Isle occurred around this time.

Songs on the Irish hit parade during this year included Paul McCartney and Wings’ Silly Love Songs, and Don’t Go Breaking my Heart, by Elton John and Kiki Dee.

As you can see, punk influences were not yet in evidence on the music charts!

High and Lows of 1976

In March of 1976, Taoiseach Liam Cosgrove and his wife visited the American President, Gerald Ford, and the First Lady, Betty Ford. This get-together happened in Washington, D.C., at the White House.

During April, the final passenger train ran on the Limerick-Claremorris line, ceasing 80 years of north-south linkage on the Western coast.

In mid-July, four Irish prisoners fled when bombs went off in Dublin’s Special Criminal Court. Just a week later, a landmine in Sandyford County, Dublin, exploded, killing a UK ambassador (Chris Ewart-Biggs) and a civil servant (Judith Cook).

In May, sailor Tim Severin steered his vessel, the Brendan, from Dingle, Ireland to the USA, following the path that Irish monk Brendan followed during the 6th century.

To find out more about Ireland in 1976, be sure to check out this fun YouTube clip, which shows the original Reeling in the Years program…

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