The Eighties

The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer took place in 1981, and the decade ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan survived assassination attempts in 1980 and 1981, while John Lennon was murdered in New York. President Reagan visited Ireland in 1984.

CNN began broadcasting in 1980, while the Falklands War erupted in 1982. Russian premier Mikhail Gorbachev called for Glasnot and Perestoika and Bob Geldof organised the Live Aid concert in 1985. The Challenger space shuttle exploded in 1986, the same year as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The Lockerbie Air Disaster in 1988 saw 270 passengers die when Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York was bombed.

The Simpsons made their first appearance on the Tracey Ullman show in 1987.

In Ireland, the Stardust fire tragedy claimed 48 lives in 1981, and a hunger strike at Long Kesh Prison ended after ten IRA and INLA prisoners died in 1981. Sherger was kidnapped in 1983, the year that saw the first motorway open in Ireland, the eight kilometre Naas bypass.

The Kerry Babies Tribunal dominated the headlines in 1984, while 1985 was dominated by the moving statues phenomenon. Johnny Logan won the 1987 Eurovision song contest with ‘Hold Me Now’. In the same year the National Lotto was launched. Ireland won the Triple Crown in 1982, while Kerry’s footballers enjoyed a very successful decade, with All Ireland wins in 1980,1981,1984,1985 and 1986. Ireland’s soccer team qualified for their first major international tournament, Europe 1988 in West Germany.

One of the big occasions in the Manhattan Hotel in 1983 was the McEllistrim family celebration of 60 years in politics.