Dublin: 10 °C Monday 27 September, 2021

13 things Irish kids actually used to do for fun

The RTÉ Guide has a lot to answer for.

1. Check the weekly TAM ratings in the RTÉ Guide

Would anything unseat Home and Away from its lofty perch?

rteg Source: RTÉ Archives

2. Tape music videos off Dempsey’s Den

It took a quick hand to get ALL of T’Pau, Transvision Vamp or The Fine Young Cannibals committed to VHS. (DO NOT TAPE OVER!).

Source: MrHaggis64/YouTube

3. Make perfume

Mashing your mother’s good pansies into jam jars of water, tipping in a healthy dose of her Lily of the Valley, and then attempting to sell it back to her.

Pansies Source: spiderwort

4. Rent the same three videos from Xtravision (or local alternative) in rotation

Beetlejuice, Turner and Hooch and Sister Act anyone?

Or maybe Hook, Mr Nanny and Short Circuit?


5. Read the jokes in the back of Ireland’s Own

And take a sneaky look at the Classifieds.

From #21feb1986 #1986 #21 #february #trowback #irelandsown #tubbercurry

A photo posted by Cawley's (@cawleystubbercurry) on

Quiet Irish Man is nearly as demanding #irelandsown #ireland

A photo posted by Darragh Doyle (@darraghdoyle) on

6. Circle things to watch in the Christmas RTÉ Guide

Red pens at the ready!

rte Source: Adverts.ie

7. Look up the cinema listings on Aertel and waiting for your own local to come back around

“We’re on Clonmel. Just another 27 pages to go”

not Source: RTÉ

8. Look at flights arriving on Aertel

Extra exciting if you knew someone coming back from holidays.

flights Source: RTÉ

9. See if you’d be let stay up late enough to witness ‘Closedown’ on the telly


10. Learn off the toy pages in a two-year-old Argos catalogue

Procured by your aunty on a visit to London. Maybe this would be the year you’d get the Sylvanian Families!

tre Source: retromash.com

11. Tape the Toy Show, and watching it on repeat for the rest of the year

Don’t pretend you don’t know the Samantha Mumba Billie Barry routine inside out.



12. Get at least three penpals from Aertel/The Den/the RTÉ Guide

Writing to far flung places like Cavan and Ennis about how many pets you had and where you were going for your summer holidays (Curracloe).

Handwritten Letters Source: Zach Pie Inglis

13. Go for a ‘picnic’

Two bottles of Robinson’s diluted orange, 12 crackers and 3 Club Milks begged from your mother, wrapped in a tea towel and eaten in a field 1.5kms away. Back in the day when you could vanish for seven hours and nobody would worry.

Still Source: A. McCoubrey Photography

Inspired by Aisling Marron and Oh My God What A Complete Aisling

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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