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Project Description




1950 - 1960


With the end of World War 2, America and the Soviet Union (Russia) do not trust each other and continue to build up their armies. This becomes known as The Cold War.

In Ireland, there are very few jobs for workers. Many people have to emigrate to England or America to find work. The population of the Republic of Ireland now stands at 2,818,000.

1954 - The Marian Year. To honour the special devotion to Our Lady, shrines and grottos are built in many parts of Ireland. Many of these can still be seen today.

1957 - The Common Market is launched. In time, this will become the European Union. Ireland is not a member of the Common Market at this time.

1958 - Aer Lingus begins its first scheduled flight from Shannon/Dublin to New York. Up to now, the only way of getting from Ireland to America was by ship. Now the same journey by plane is possible in a matter of hours. However, travelling by plane is still very expensive and beyond the reach of most people.

In Dublin, trams are phased out. Tram tracks are removed from streets. People now travel by bus or car.

O Connell Street 1950's

Talking Points

Which is higher - Nelson's Pillar or the GPO?
How is it possible for people to climb to the top of Nelson's Pillar?
How is this photograph of O Connell Street different to the one taken in 1944?
Tram tracks have been removed from O Connell Street - why?
What advertisements can you see in the photograph?
From the photograph, can you figure out any popular pastimes of the time?
(Hint - sign for CAPITOL also newspaper seller near GPO)


Home Life

Homes still have few of the things we take for granted today. Refrigerators are just starting to come into general use. Without these, people have to shop each day for the food they require. There is no frozen food. In fact there is little if any 'convenience' food. Most meals have to be prepared at home. There are no supermarkets either! Without refrigerators, people have to shop for ingredients from day to day. Most of this shopping is done in smaller grocery shops. Items such as tea and sugar are not packaged like today. They are sold and wrapped by the shopkeeper as required.

With no television, children spend most of their free time playing outside. The highlight of the week for many people is a visit to the cinema to watch a film. Westerns and gangster films are particularly popular.

The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) begins the process of rural electrification. This involves bringing electricity to rural areas. Poles are erected to take the supply to farms. Special ceremonies are organised to mark the turning on of the power.

Tractors are introduced on some farms. Although they are expensive, they help to ease the workload of the farmer.


Irish Classroom 1950's


Achievements and Discoveries

1950 - The first photocopying machine is built. However, it will be many years before photocopiers become common.

1953 - IBM produces the IBM 650, the first computer to be produced in large numbers. It has a memory of just 10 kb and can store as much information as about 6 floppy disks!

1953 - Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Sherpa Norkey Tenzing from Nepal become the first people to climb Mount Everest(8,848m/29,028 ft.), the highest mountain on Earth.

1957 - The first satellite is launched by the Soviet Union (Russia). Sputnik 1 weighs 84 kg and circles the Earth in 95 minutes. This marks the beginning of the Space Age. In the same year, Sputnik 2 is launched carrying Laika, a dog, on board. This is the first living creature to go into space.



1950 - Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1 in the final of the World Cup held in Brazil.

1954 - Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. This was achieved on May 6th with a record time of 3 mins 59.4 secs.

1955 - Charles Dumas (USA) aged 19 becomes the first person to clear 2.1 m in the high jump.

1956 - In the Melbourne Olympics, Dublin's Ronnie Delaney takes a gold in the 1500 metres.


Fashion and Entertainment

Increasingly, young people want their own distinctive music and fashion. Tight jeans become fashionable for men and women. Rock 'n Roll music becomes popular. Bill Haley and the Comets release "Rock around the clock"and worldwide sales exceed 17 million records. A new singer called Elvis Presley is especially popular in America.

Shoes with pointed toes and stiletto heels become fashionable!

Disneyland opens in California (U.S.A.). Created by Walt Disney, this is the first theme park in the world. The hula hoop is developed in America and quickly becomes popular.

1956 - The Eurovision Song Contest is launched. The first winner is Switzerland's Lys Assia singing 'Refrains'.



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