Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 2)

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 2)
Capitol Radio, one of the stations featured in this episode of ‘The Irish Pirates’ (image courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

We bring you the second instalment in Leon Tipler’s acclaimed documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’, focusing on the period 1979-1982. In this edition Tipler discusses his visits to Dublin in 1981 and 1982 and features recordings of the pirates as well as interviews with those involved. Stations featured include ARD (Alternative Radio Dublin), Radio 257, Radio City, Capitol Radio and Double R Radio. The distinctive sound of Radio Leinster is commented upon and Tipler also interviews Tony Allan, whose voice was heard increasingly on the Irish pirates. While the focus in this episode is on the smaller stations, there is no escaping the fact that the Irish radio landscape is facing a major upheaval following the arrival of Sunshine Radio and Radio Nova. Below, you can also hear the original recording made by Tipler of the talking butcher’s shop in Moore Street as he walks to the Radio City studios in Capel Street.

These recordings are from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Index of Volume 2

00:00 ARD visit 1982
01:52 Jason Maine on Radio 257 in 1980
03:09 Radio 257 jingle Tony Allan
04:20 Radio 257 news
06:00 1980 visit to 257 at Crofton Hotel
08:50 Talking butcher’s shop on Moore Street
10:00 1980 Visit to Radio City
15:25 Interview with Tony Allan
18:25 Capitol Radio
20:45 1981 visit
21:20 Sunshine Radio News
22:10 Ads on Radio City
23:20 BLB
23:40 Radio Nova tests on 846 AM
24:43 Treble TR
24:56 Dún Laoghaire Community Radio
25:15 Radio Leinster
23:40 Southside Radio
26:00 Community Radio Drogheda
26:05 Sonic Weekend Radio
26:18 Radio Dublin telephonist sought
26:55 Big D
27:10 ARD breakfast with Uncle Bren
29:00 Boyneside Radio
29:45 Sunshine car stickers
30:45 Boyneside on FM
32:00 Radio Leinster feature
34:10 Radio Leinster interval signals
36:33 Kennedy’s of Castleross on RTÉ
37:21 Irish Sweepstakes on RTÉ
41:00 1981 visit to Radio City
41:30 John Paul on air
47:45 Dave Charles and Al Dunne on Radio City
51:30 Double R Radio
54:25 Interview with Seán Day of Double R

Full recording: Radio Dublin

Full recording: Radio Dublin
Radio Dublin badge courtesy of Brian Greene.

Here’s a short recording of the late Seán Day (Murphy) on Radio Dublin on the 18th of May 1983 from 1639-1651. There are plenty of requests and dedications but no mention of the raid on Radio Nova that morning. Radio Dublin was one of only two Dublin stations to continue broadcasting after most of the pirates left the air voluntarily the following day. Many DJs from those stations flocked to the cramped Radio Dublin studio in Inchicore and the station’s popularity soared as listeners re-tuned their radios. In 1981, Seán Day set up Double R Radio, a small Dublin pirate, from his house also in Inchicore.

This recording is from the Skywaves Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International was a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: Double R Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Double R Radio (Dublin)
Double R Radio sticker, courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

Double R Radio was an earlier incarnation of Westside Radio, one of the smaller Dublin pirates of the early 1980s. The origin of the Double R name has never quite been clarified. Ian Biggar reports that he has heard Railway Road, Radio Ripple and RocknRoll from various sources. Short Wave News from November 1981 reports Double R Radio on 1035 kHz from the Waldorf Hotel, Eden Quay with a 24 hour daily schedule. Short Wave News in January 1982 says Double R Radio has been evicted from the Waldorf Hotel and is now at the Spa Hotel, Lucan. Co. Dublin. The March 1982 edition states that Double R Radio is probably off the air now. The May 1982 edition says that Double R Radio has disappeared after being thrown out of various hotels, but a new operation, possibly related, is Westside Radio on the same frequency with an address in James’ Street.

This recording was made by DX Archive on a tour of Ireland in 1981. It was really strong around the Inchicore area of Dublin at that time so they assumed that was where it was coming from. Gary Hogg noted on his trip in April 1982 that Double R had been replaced by Westside Radio on 1035 kHz so we can safely say same station, different name. The recording, courtesy of Ian Biggar, is of Paul Cantwell followed by Declan George on the 14th of August 1981 from 2030-2119.