In February 2021, the director and writer of an Irish language film to be known as Fanacht contacted Pirate.ie about using clips from our archive as ‘radio filler’. Colm Bairéad told us that the film was based on Claire Keegan’s novel Foster and set in Louth and Waterford over the summer of 1981. In order to give a flavour of local radio from that era, he said that they would like to use audio of DJs and adverts on Radio Carousel and ABC Radio from the early 1980s. We were more than happy to support this and wrote back to Colm in Irish and English with information about using or adapting the clips.
Two years later and what is now known as An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) has become a huge hit in Ireland and across the world and is the most successful Irish language film ever. It received numerous awards and was nominated for the 95th Academy Awards in the ‘International Feature Film’ category of the Oscars. An Cailín Ciúin is supported by TG4’s Cine4 scheme, an exciting initiative that has boosted several new films in Irish in recent years. Screen Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland also provided assistance. Pirate.is is proud to have contributed to the film’s success in a small way and we are delighted that Irish pirate radio audio from our archive has been heard at film festivals and cinemas throughout the world as an authentic representation of the cultural and audio history of Ireland in the 1980s.
To mark the occasion, we have adapted a 1985 poster by the then new Dublin pirate station Q102, which used the tagline ‘the Quiet Storm’ in its early months on air. Q102 was the newest ‘super-pirate’ in the city, a large and professional operation that went on to enjoy commercial success until it closed down at the end of 1988 in line with new broadcasting legislation. An Cailín Ciúin is also ‘an stoirm chiúin’ – the quiet storm – that has taken the cinema world by storm and made (radio) waves in Ireland and abroad.
Déanaimid comhghairdeas ó chroí le Colm Bairéad, an léiritheoir Cleona Ní Chrualaoich agus aisteoirí agus criú uile an tsárscannáin An Cailín Ciúin. Tá ‘stoirm chiúin’ spreagtha agaibh i saol na scannánaíochta agus na Gaeilge in Éirinn agus ar fud na cruinne agus táimid fíorbhródúil asaibh.
Radio 257 was the new name for ARD (Alternative Radio Dublin) when the station relaunched on 4th January 1980. Many of the DJs on ARD/Radio 257 would go on to become household names in Irish radio, including John Clarke, Mike Moran, Tony Allan (RIP), Paul Vincent and Ian Dempsey. The station closed in 1982 as the super-pirates gained dominance in the Dublin radio market.
Radio 257 reverted to the ARD name at a later stage but in this recording from April 1981, both versions are heard in links and idents. First up is Chris Barry with his drivetime show which includes plenty of adverts and generic jingles re-cut with the ‘257’ tagline. He is followed by David Dennehy who has a write-in competition for listeners. Both Chris and David went on to work in larger pirate stations and eventually licensed radio.
This recording was made from 99.9 FM on 2nd April 1981 and Part 1 above runs from 1727-1815. Part 2 below is from 1815-1833 on 2nd April and is followed by part of the Night Train show from 3rd April 1981, presented by Gary Edwards.
The tape is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
This is a recording of the evening drivetime show on Dublin pirate Big D as it began to decline towards the end of 1981. Aidan Cooney is on air from the studios in South Richmond Street in the city centre and takes calls from listeners entering a quiz. The voice of the late Tony Allan is heard on some of the adverts, but commercials are relatively thin on the ground given the time of day. By this time, the Dublin radio market had been shaken up by the arrival of the larger and more professional Sunshine Radio and Radio Nova and the days of pioneering 1970s stations such as Big D were numbered. The station would be relaunched as Big D Automated in 1982, playing continuous music only, but it was gone by the end of the year.
The recording was made on 21st September 1981 from 1116 kHz, announced as 273 metres. Part 1 above runs from 1747-1832 and Part 2 below from 1840-1925.
Audio quality is fair with variable levels and increasing co-channel interference as darkness falls. Our tape is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
This recording of Alternative Radio Dublin (ARD) was made on a Saturday afternoon in 1981. Hugh O’Brien is on air with mostly oldies and is joined by David Dennehy with sports news. Both would be heard on other pirates throughout the 1980s and on licensed radio thereafter. The recording includes a news flash about the highjacking of an Aer Lingus plane in Paris.
There are plenty of adverts including one for Channel 3 television, later to be known as Channel D. Channel 3 was one of a handful of short-lived pirate television stations broadcasting in the 1980s. It was set up by Don Moore of ARD and Michael Tiernan of the National Independent Broadcasting Organisation, a grouping of commercial pirate stations. Other voices heard on adverts are Paul Vincent, Dave C. and Tony Allan. The cassette has become degraded over time and there is some audio distortion.
The recording was made from 99.9 FM from 1659-1745 on 2nd May 1981. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
John Dolan (real name Tadhg Dolan) worked in the first Cork pirates CBC and CCLR in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also did some shows on Sunshine Radio in Dublin as well as stints with RTÉ’s Cork Local Radio and licensed station Radio South (later Cork’s 96 FM).
This airchecked recording is of John’s first show on Sunshine Radio between 1955-2100 sometime in May 1981. Audio is fair as the recording was made by placing a cassette recorder up against a radio. John is introduced by the previous DJ, Tony Dixon (RIP) and the voice of Sunshine boss Robbie Robinson (RIP) is heard on some of the adverts. Broadcasting ends at 2100 with the iconic Desiderata song, which closed the station down each night.