Society of Ireland

Events in 1960s

Ireland in the sixties was drab. The Catholic Church still held authority (there was even a clause in the Irish Constitution, since removed, which recognised the special position of the Catholic Church). Unemployment was high, with many people taking the boat to the UK or the US. There was only one TV station and one radio station, both Govt. run. Traditional Irish music was much listened to, but folk songs which spoke of "left wing" tendencies (Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dylan, even Luke Kelly) were frowned upon. Showbands, which played a mixture of traditional and pop music were very popular. Groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were considered to be a bad influence. Pure Rock & Roll (Elvis Preasley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry) also known as "The Devil's Screaching" was banned in most dancehalls. In the later years of the sixties, Ireland began to become more liberal. Economically, things improved, and with the availibility of BBC TV, Irish people could see for themselves how others lived. When Ireland joined the Common Market (EU) in the early seventies, things changed. Some people even think for the better. There are probably parallels that can be drawn between the changes which Ireland underwent in the sixties with the changes currently being experienced in some of the ex Warsaw Pact countries.

Very very catholic. Women where sent away if they got pregnant out of wed lock even if they where raped, look up the Magdalene sisters, its a great example of 1960's Ireland and what happened to women, only recently the bones of women where found under the grounds of some of the laundrettes these women where sent away to, some of the bones where badly broken and showed how badly some of the women where tortured and beaten by the nuns, it also uncovered the fact that allot of women where murdered will in these launderettes. Divorce and contraception where banned. The church had a very strong hold over the country. It was a very backward place, even the citys where backward and especially things like government housing. If you where poor you lived in absolute poverty.



ESHSI, Department of Modern History, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland Contact: Membership Secretary