Queen’s University Belfast student newspaper is one of longest-running in the UK

‘The Gown’, which launched many a career, celebrates 60 years

The Gown, Queen’s University Belfast’s independent student newspaper, is celebrating 60 years of publication by developing some of its “most striking” covers into artworks for a public exhibition.

A ceremony at the university’s Naughton Gallery on Wednesday marked the milestone with an exhibition of the covers.

Founded in 1955 by American student Richard "Dick" Herman,The Gown is one of the longest-running independent student papers in the UK. It has covered events in the North during a tumultuous period that spanned the Troubles and the peace process, as well as carrying interviews with paramilitaries.

Berlin Wall

Paul O’Kane, who edited





Danny Smyth

, deputy editor of the


, was in charge when the Berlin Wall fell.

“In our November 1989 issue, Danny and I did a travel spread on eastern Europe and going behind the Berlin Wall, what it was like going through checkpoints and everything,” he said. “The night before the paper was due back for distribution we went out for a few pints. We went into college early the next morning to get the paper and were handing out copies with the blurb ‘Behind the Berlin Wall’ on the front.

“The second or third person we handed the paper to said, ‘Jesus, that’s really impressive. You guys are really on the money with the Berlin Wall story.’ I said ‘What do you mean?’ and he said, ‘The Berlin Wall fell last night.’ We couldn’t believe it.”

O'Kane spent 15 years in journalism, working with the Sunday Tribune and The Irish Times. The Gown has nurtured some of Ireland and Britain's most well-known journalists, including Mark Carruthers, Maggie Taggart, Don Anderson and Nick Ross (BBC); Alf McCreary and Eamonn McCann (Belfast Telegraph); Peter Montellier (Newcastle Journal); Henry McDonald (the Observer) and Conor O'Clery and Martyn Turner (The Irish Times).

The artworks will be on view until May 3rd.