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Dublin: 9°C Monday 27 September 2021

Dublin before the internet: weight gain pills, big hair and swimming pools in nightclubs

The exhibit runs in the Little Museum of Dublin until January.

A NEW EXHIBITION in Dublin aims to bring visitors back to Ireland pre-internet, where women avoided being called skinny and Terry Wogan was a voice on pirate radio.

Brian ‘Doug’ McMahon’s site Brand New Retro, has scanned and digitised images from Irish magazines that have never been put on the internet before.

After online success and a book, McMahon has moved on to a museum exhibition which opened in the Little Museum of Dublin this week.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie he says he is “delighted” with the end result, which brings together his love of retro pop with a snapshot of what Ireland was like in the 60s and 70s.

“I’m delighted with it. It feels like it came together at the last minute, but It is exactly what I wanted as a medium for showing the collection.

“I think it’s different, it’s an explosion of colour and information.”

PastedImage-33527 Source: Brand New Retro

Be it a retro jukebox playing McMahon’s own 45s, early magazine interviews with Anne Doyle or information on Ireland’s first gay nightclub, the exhibition gives either a nostalgic blast from the past or an insight into an Ireland many of us haven’t seen.

And it is all sourced from McMahon’s own collection.

I grew up loving pop and when punk came around, me and my brother started a fanzine, which gave me an appreciation of what went into making magazines, so I rarely threw them away. So a built up a collection from there.

“When I started the blog, it was to put up stuff I had done or was interested in that wasn’t on the internet.

“And I found there was a load of Irish stuff that wasn’t on the internet.”

71-03-club-milk-jacobs Source: Brand New Retro

McMahon’s collection now includes thousands of magazines from the 60s, 70s and 80s, but he still has a soft spot for certain things.

“I like something that has a geographical reference and is of its time.”

He points to the exhibition’s main image, of Miss Ireland 1965 Gladys Waller sitting on a Morris Minor on the bridge to Bull Island in 1966 wearing clothes from Brown Thomas .

“I get a great satisfaction out of the rejuvenation of things like that.

I love that people will see things for the first time. There’s something for everyone. I like that it’s interactive as well, that’s the experience.”

The exhibit runs in the Little Museum of Dublin until January.

Read: New book brings Ireland’s forgotten magazines to life

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