By Siobhán Cronin
RENOVATION work on a property in Skibbereen resulted in the unearthing of a magazine from 50 years ago, which showed a very different Ireland.
Vincent O’Neill was doing some work at his daughter Grainne Collins’ salon on Bridge Street, when he came across a copy of This Week in Ireland, from October 24th 1969 – exactly five decades later.
The property was previously known as ‘The Favourite’ and was a popular grocery and newsagents.
The magazine featured an article on civil rights activist Bernadette Devlin by Frank Corr, who described the Cookstown woman as ‘the jet-age Joan of Arc in denim armour’ to the ‘Catholics of Northern Ireland’ and also a lengthy article on pilgrimages to Lourdes.
But it also contained some very risqué photographs in an article about the acceptance of the ‘mini skirt’ and fashion designer Mary Quant, while an ad for Smirnoff vodka referred to ‘the best selling vodka in the whole swinging world’.
There were also a number of cheeky cartoons, including one embedded in the Mary Quant article depicting two mini-skirted women chatting in an office, with one telling the other: ‘Every time I raise my hem, he raises my salary!’
Another article, penned by Fr Fergal O’Connor, was headlined: ‘Be FAIR to the HIPPIES’.
There was also a very interesting letter to the editor from Mairin Lynch, wife of then Taoiseach Jack Lynch, who said she wished to correct an earlier article saying the family owned a house in West Cork.
She referred to the article having stated that ‘my husband and I have realised a long cherished ambition to own a little house by the sea in West Cork.’
She added: ‘It is correct to say this is our ambition, but unfortunately it has not been realised. We did have a lovely holiday for two weeks near Baltimore in a house which we did not own. Perhaps this may have caused your misinformation.’ In response, the editor Joseph O’Malley said: ‘We apologise and hope you achieve your ambition.’
The Lynchs did, of course, eventually realise that ambition, by buying a house near Lisheen later!