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An t-eireaball fada

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The summer of 1968 left three indelible marks on my fifteen-year-old mind. After hearing of the shooting of Robert Kennedy I went out into our back yard. Using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays, I burnt the date, 6/6/68, into a wooden slat on the side of the garden shed. In July I took the bus into town to see 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Plaza Cinerama. I was so awe-struck by the film I went back to see it twice within a fortnight. Then in August I heard “Hey Jude” for the first time. I was, of course, aware of the Beatles before I heard their new single on the radio. A few years earlier, on another visit to the cinema with my father, I had seen them perform “She Loves You” in a colour film of one of their concerts. Whether it was the sight of Paul and George shaking their mop-tops while they “oohed” loudly into the microphone, or hearing those closing “Yeah, yeah” harmonies, I was left giddy with excitement. By 1967 I was interested in the opposite sex and went to my firs

Na seascaidí scóipiúla

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"Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive But to be young was very heaven." These famous words by William Wordsworth capture his youthful enthusiasm for the French Revolution. They also sum up the attitude of many who lived through a more recent rebellion against the old order. I refer to the cultural revolution that took place during the 1960s. In later life the zeal that Wordsworth felt for the heady days of his youth waned considerably. As the years go by my own thoughts about the 1960s have also changed. Yes, a lot of great things happened during that time, especially in music. But was it all positive? Historian Arthur Marwick has argued that the sixties cultural revolution altered permanently the "material conditions, lifestyles, family relationships, and personal freedoms for the vast majority of ordinary people".[1] In other words, we are now living in a post-revolutionary world in which the past, i.e. before 1960, really is a 'foreign country'.