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The 21 most eighties Irish things ever

Self Aid, Ray Houghton, The Big Snow, Stephen Roche…

1. The Big Snow

January 1982 saw Ireland grind to a halt for a week after 25cm of snow fell in some parts of the country.

It will forever be known as The Big Snow, no matter how many big snows have happened since, or are yet to come.

Source: Daithi333

2. This tracksuit

A highly coveted Flahavan’s tracksuit – the one from the ad in fact – was recently presented to actor Andrew Scott on The Late Late Show.

Scott now plays Moriarty on the BBC’s Sherlock show, but he had a pretty impressive start.


3. Barry McGuigan winning the world title in 1985

Any child of the early eighties can tell you where they were when Barry McGuigan became the World Featherweight Boxing Champion.

He beat defending champion Eusebio Pedroza from Panama at Queen’s Park Rangers Football Ground, Loftus Road in London, on 9 June 1985. 

Boxing McGuigan Pedroza Source: Bob Dear/PA

4. Barry McGuigan’s manager Barney Eastwood

McGuigan’s manager Mr Eastwood was almost as famous as the boxer himself, as he guided him to global success.

The pair fell out not long after McGuigan’s massive win, and became embroiled in a legal battle.

Boxing - Protest at the Weigh-in Barney Eastwood and Barry McGuigan at the weigh-in before the 1985 world championship fight Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Dermot Morgan even wrote a song about Barney Eastwood, released as a single in December 1985:

Source: craigavonvideo

5. Alan Hughes’ hair in the Going Back ESB ad

This ad hit our TV screens in 1988, and we still can’t hear that song without having a little cry.


Source: fireeater999cmcc

6. Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche hitting the cycling big time

Roche and Kelly were responsible for a lot of this in the mid eighties:


Stephen Roche became a national hero when he won the Tour de France in 1987, while the eighties also saw Seán Kelly become one of the most successful road racers of his generation.

Pedro Delgado with Stephen Roche and Jeannie Longo Source: AP/Press Association Images

Cycling - Stephen Roche - Dublin Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cycling Sean Kelly Source: Lionel Cironneau

France Cycling Sean Kelly Source: AP/Press Association Images

7. The Seán Kelly cycling game

Kelly was such a fixture of the eighties that he got his own board game.


sean2 Source: CyclingBoardGames.net

8. These ice creams

Wouldn’t you kill for a Fat Frog right now?

HB Ice Cream Product Price Poster 1986 (HIGH ... Source: Facebook

HB Ice Cream Product Price Poster 1988 (HIGH ... Source: Facebook

HB Freaky Foot Ice Cream Wrapper 1989 Source: Facebook

Chilly Willy 1989 Source: Facebook

HB Bonanza Ice Cream Wrapper 1988 Source: Facebook

9. Ronald Reagan having a pint of Guinness in Ballyporeen in 1984

Sure you may as well not bother coming to Ireland if you’re not going to be pictured with a pint of the black stuff.

Ronald Reagan Ireland 1984 Source: AP/Press Association Images

And sure you might as well hold a local baby while you’re at it.

Ronald Reagan Ireland 1984 Source: AP/Press Association Images

10. Henri Hippo

If you joined Ulster Bank’s junior savings club in the eighties you were rewarded with an Henri Hippo money box, along with an assortment of other branded goodies; a wallet, a calendar, pencils etc.

Henri made a return to the bank a couple of years ago.

henry Source: Ebay

11. Zig and Zag’s first appearance on Dempsey’s Den

In 1987 the lovable aliens from Zog made their first appearance alongside Ian Dempsey.

Source: Shane OB

12. John Treacy and Eamonn Coughlan becoming household names

John Treacy won a silver medal for Ireland in the marathon at the LA Olympics in 1984 while Eamonn Coughlan set the world indoor 2000m record in 1987 which stood until 1998.

EVERYONE knew who they were and everyone pledged to train extra hard for the cross country events in Community Games.

Athletics - 1984 Los Angeles Olympics - Marathon John Treacy leads Great Britain's Charlie Speeding in the closing stages of the marathon at the LA Olympics in 1984, to claim Silver and Bronze medals respectively. Source: SG and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

PA-8647391 Eamonn Coghlan left, embraces America's top miler Steve Scott, right, after beating him for the first time in four years at the Kinney Invitational Meet in Berkeley in June 1983. Source: AP/Press Association Images

13. Johnny Logan winning the Eurovision TWICE

He won first for What’s Another Year in The Hague in 1980, and then again for Hold Me Now in 1987 in Brussels.

Johnny Logan - Eurovision. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Source: hall3010

14. Divorce Referendum

In 1986 a proposal to remove the prohibition on divorce from the Irish constitution was rejected.

The ban on divorce was eventually lifted in 1996.

Divorce Referendums 1986 Source: Photocall Ireland

File Pics There was also a significant jump in the divorce rate since 1996 when just 9,787 people were divorced. Polling day in Ballymun in 1986.

15. Northern Ireland hunger strikes

The hunger strikes of 1980 and 1981 represented the culmination of protests by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland.

The strike of 1980 ended after 53 days and all involved survived. The strike of 1981 resulted in the deaths of 10 prisoners, including Bobby Sands.

IRA Hunger Strike 1981 Local residents erect a barricade across the road in the Springfield Road area of Belfast, Northern Ireland on 30 April 1981, during preparations for possible civil disorders, which were expected to follow the imminent death of Bobby Sands. Source: AP/Press Association Images

IRA Hunger Strike 1981: Bobby Sands funeral Led by an Irish piper, and escorted by masked IRA men, the hearse carrying Bobby Sands'’ coffin moves through crowds of spectators, en route to Belfast's Milltown cemetery, Northern Ireland on 7 May, 1981 Source: AP/Press Association Images

16. Self Aid

On 17 May 1986 a 14 hour concert took place in the RDS, Dublin to highlight the unemployment problem in Ireland. A quarter of a million people were out of work.

Rory Gallagher, U2, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and Thin Lizzy were among the artists who played on the day.

Self-aid_poster Source: Wikimedia

17. My Left Foot

Directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker won two Academy Awards for the lead actors.

myleftfoot2 Source: Wordpress

18. Who put the ball in the English net? Ray did!

On 12 June 1988 the Irish football team made their debut at an international competition in their first game at the European Championships in Stuttgart.

Ray Houghton scored the match’s only goal, against England, and sealed his name in the history books forever.

Soccer - European Championships - Euro 88 West Germany - Group Two - Ireland v England - Neckarstadion Source: EMPICS Entertainment

Source: Chimpanzeethat

19. We are the Boys in Green

We are the Boys in Green was Ireland’s first big football anthem, and the lads and Jack Charlton and Gay Byrne gathered on The Late Late Show to sing it for the nation.

Source: GreenArmyTunes2012

20. U2 at Croke Park

U2 played several major concerts in Ireland throughout the eighties, but their first headlining stadium show was at Croke Park in 1985.

U2 CREW ROADIES Source: Photocall Ireland

u2crokepark Source: BlogSpot

21. Mike Murphy gets Gay Byrne on Candid Camera

It doesn’t get much more eighties than Mike Murphy and Gay Byrne, and in 1982 Murpy and his Candid Camera show got Gay Byrne. They got him good.

Source: APintTurtle

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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