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Project Description




1980 - 1990


The population of the Republic of Ireland now stands at 3,540,000.

1981 - Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington State (U.S.A.) erupts killing 34 people. This is the largest eruption in American history and is 500 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The ash thrown up by the volcano affects world temperatures for months after the eruption.

1981 - Pope John Paul II is shot and injured in an assassination attempt in Rome.

1985 - Halley's Comet is visible in the night sky after a wait of 75 years!

1985 - Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe, erupts. Since 1800 BC Mount Etna has erupted about 90 times.

1985 - There is widespread famine in Ethiopia. In an effort to help, Bob Geldof organises Band Aid and Live Aid which help to raise large amounts of money for famine relief.

1986 - The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after take-off killing all 7 crew members.

1986 - An explosion takes place at a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl near Kiev in the Soviet Union. Thousands of people die following this explosion and large areas have to be evacuated. Although these areas look perfectly normal they will be uninhabitable for thousands of years.

1989 - The Berlin Wall comes down. East Germany is now reunited with West Germany.

O Connell Street 1980's

Talking Points

Trees have now been planted in the centre of O Connell Street. Is this a good idea?
Planting trees means there is less room for car parking. Is this a good idea?
A new building has been erected to the left of the GPO. Does it fit in with the rest of the street?
What improvements could be made to O Connell Street to make it a nicer street?
Compare the above photograph with that of O Connell Street in 1916.


Home Life

Video recorders (VCR's) become popular. Phone cards are introduced. The first mobile phones go on sale. However, these are much larger and heavier than mobile phones of today and reception is generally poorer.

Fast food restaurants open in many Irish towns and cities.

Shops and offices start to use computers although only a small number of people have computers at home. The floppy disk is the standard way of storing data. The number of computers connected to the internet is quite small.

'Package holidays' become popular. With these holidays, people pay an all-in price to include the cost of the plane and the use of a holiday apartment. Holidays in sunny countries such as Spain become popular.

The National Lottery begins operations. Large prizes are offered each week.

ATM machines are introduced on the outside of banks. These allow people to withdraw money etc outside of banking hours.

In supermarkets, more products carry a barcode. At check outs scanners can now 'read' data such as price using these bar codes.

More and more homes now have central heating. In Dublin, the government ban the use of smoky fuels in an effort to tackle the growing problem of smog. Windows and doors are made from aluminium or uPVC. Many homes install double glazing in an effort to save energy.


Achievements and Discoveries

1981 - Columbia, America's reusable space shuttle, makes its first flight. Unlike previous rockets, the space shuttle can land on a runway like an aeroplane and be re-used in further missions. This saves a lot of money and makes space exploration more cost effective.

1983 - The Compact Disc (CD) is launched by Sony.

1983 - Apple Computers launch 'Lisa', the first computer to use a mouse and a pull down menu.go on sale.

1985 - The wreck of the Titanic is located - 73 years after it sank.

1986 - The US space probe, Voyager 2, passes within 81,000 km of Uranus.



1980 - The Olympic Games are held in Moscow. However, 65 countries including the U.S., Germany and Japan boycott the games in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the previous year.

1981 - Kerry footballers win four-in-a-row All-Irelands. In 1982, they narrowly miss winning five-in-a-row losing to Offaly in the last two minutes of the game.

1984 - Centenary of the founding of the GAA.

1987 - Stephen Roche becomes the first Irishman to win the Tour de France cycling race. In the same year, he also wins the Giro d'Italia and the Super Prestige Pernod Trophy for the Cyclist of the Year.


Fashion and Entertainment

By the end of the 1980's there are more CD's than vinyl records being sold. 'Dallas' is one of the most popular programmes on television.

In fashion there are strong American influences with casual clothes and sports wear particularly popular.



To learn more about......

Space Shuttle

Third World Development

Third World Development


Mount Etna