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29th Nov 2019

This Old RTÉ Footage Shows What Dublin “Gangs” Looked Like In 1983

James Fenton

“Punks, Mods, Rockers, Teds, Greasers, Futuristics, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Skinheads, Rudie Skinheads, Boot Boys, Hells Angels, Bikers and Ska Boys.”

Quite a mouthful for Gay Byrne to introduce a Late Late Show segment with but he managed to get it all out in the end.

This 1983 clip from RTÉ’s long-running chat show serves a window into our city’s past as Gaybo chats with representatives of Dublin “gangs” who roamed the streets at the time.

We are introduced to Donncha, a 20-year-old punk from Crumlin who tells us, cigarette in hand, that he spends his days doing “not much” while only one pub in Dublin will let him and his friends in at night. He speaks of how his gang stand around St. Stephen’s Green and the public find them to be a threat. He also says that he lives on about £8 dole money a week because the rest goes to his mother.

Alongside Donncha is 19-year-old Siobhán who works as a sales assistant, 20-year-old John, whose unorthodox hairstyle and laissez-faire attitude raised a lot of chuckles from the audience, and 20-year-old Gerard who speaks of his clean-cut lifestyle as a Mod.

The whole clip is well worth 12 minutes of your time and you can view it by clicking here.