Those Were the Days - Dublin in the 80s

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1980s The VanView Image Gallery.

Mass unemployment and continuous emigration. On-going tragedy in Northern Ireland. Planning scandals. Hurricane Charlie, dreadful summers, pea-souper smogs. Urban decay and phone queues. Pirate radio stations, disco balls and leg-warmers. Eurovision highs and lows. Zig and Zag.

The 1980s have a lot to answer for.

Yet, for many people, these years were, to slightly misquote one of the hits of the decade, "the time of their lives." So this image gallery is also a celebration of the '80s, its highs as well as its lows. It has been developed to mark the selection of Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy as Dublin City Public Libraries' One City One Book 2015.  You can spot a public figure or two in the photographs, but on the whole the gallery concentrates on the local rather than the national, the social rather the political. To add to that total immersion experience, we have included quotes from the 80s, some from the Barrytown books, some from other writers, but mostly from the hits that made up the soundtrack of people’s lives.

The gallery consists mainly of photos from the Dublin City Council Photographic Collection, although we have included material from our other digital collections, notably some photographs by Donal McEnroe and Declan McManus.

To avoid duplicating material shown in other image galleries, we have not shown some of the events that many people think of as highlights of the 80s - our Euro '88 pictures, for example, can be viewed on the Dublin’s Sporting Heritage Gallery.

We don’t have headings for all of the images, so please feel free to tell us if you can think of suitable quotes for any of the pictures, or remember the people, places or events shown. How were your eighties? Why not add something to the comments section and let us know?

View Image Gallery.

Search and browse the Dublin City Photographic Collection online. This collection is an amalgam of photographs taken by City Council employees in the course of their work, including everything from civic events to street-cleaning. The bulk of the material dates from the 1980s and 1990s.

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