33 Vintage Snapshots Capture Everyday Life in Ireland in the 1960s

The sixties was known as a period when social, cultural and political changes were increasingly challenged around the world. Ireland, with a long history of emigration, a great rural base and a protected economy, however, rarely had any chance to experience the economic miracles occurred in many other post-war societies.

Things shifted in the early sixties nonetheless, when the governments began to pay particular attention to economic growth and planning, thus paving the way for a national project including opening up the economy, courting foreign capital and applying for membership of the European Economic Community.

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George’s Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

Geopolitically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. As of 2016, 4.8 million lived in the Republic of Ireland, and 1.8 million in Northern Ireland.

The geography of Ireland comprises relatively low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland. Its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate which is free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, and most of it is non-native conifer plantations. There are twenty-six extant land mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus very moderate,[13] and winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant.

Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD. The island was Christianised from the 5th century onwards. Following the 12th century Anglo-Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, thus creating the Irish Free State, which became increasingly sovereign over the following decades, and Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In 1973, the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same. In 2020, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland included, left what was by then the European Union (EU).

Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, especially in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music, Irish language, and Irish dance. The island’s culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, golf, and boxing. (Wikipedia)

From Dublin to Kildare and Galway, these terrific vintage snapshots transport us back to a vibrant Ireland in the 1960s. More amazing collections could be found at the National Library of Ireland.

O’Connell Street, Dublin, 1963.
Capel Street, Dublin, 1960.
Clifden, Co. Galway, 1960.
A fishing trawler returning to Skerries, Co. Dublin with a full catch, circa 1960.
A man taking a breather in the Signal Cabin, Albert Quay in Cork city, 1961.
Dublin, 1961.
Two men at a pub in Moyvalley, Co. Kildare, 1961.
Theatre Royal on Hawkins Street in Dublin, 1962.
Patrick Sullivan’s Bar, circa 1963.
Group of men, Corpus Christi procession, Cahir, Co. Tipperary, 1963.
Kildare, 1963.
Garda directing traffic, O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, 1963.
Moore Street, Dublin, 1964.
Moore Street, Dublin, 1964.
A ‘Butterfly Nun’ in her cornette on Parnell Street, Dublin, 1964.
St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, 1964.
River Liffey at Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin, 1964.
Taxi driver at the rank on O’Connell Street beside the Sacred Heart Shrine, Dublin, 1964.
Protest against evictions from tenement buildings on York Street in Dublin, 1964.
Queen Street, Dublin, 1964.
American model Linda Ward (later O’Reilly) and two local boys on Winetavern Street, Dublin, 1960s.
A half-demolished Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street, Dublin, 1960s.
An Evening Press newspaper seller does a brisk trade on O’Connell Street, Dublin, 1966.
Holy Communion girls led by a nun pass no. 3, Halston Street, Dublin on the feast of Corpus Christi, 1969.
Heuston Station (previously Kingsbridge), Dublin, 1969.
Urinal on Ormond Quay, Dublin featuring a poster ad for the News of the World, 1969.
The Easter Rising memorial Arbour Hill, Dublin, 1966.
Dublin, 1969.
Cumberland Streeet in Dublin, 1969.
Dublin, 1969.
Outside the National Bank, Dublin, 1969.
St. Catherine’s Church on Thomas Street in Dublin, 1969.
Pigeon House Road, Ringsend, Dublin, 1969.

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