The Times We Lived In: The Beatles in Dublin, 1963

‘They trooped upstairs to the mezzanine floor, dressed and coiffed as few others in Dublin were then’

The Beatles in dublin in November 1963. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea/The Irish Times.

The Beatles in dublin in November 1963. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea/The Irish Times.

 

Published: November 8th, 1963

Photograph by Dermot O’Shea

It’s 55 years since the Fab Four came to Dublin. Imagine.

Way back in 1963, The Irish Times wasn’t really what you’d call rock and roll. Nevertheless our photographer Dermot O’Shea was despatched to the boardroom of the Adelphi cinema - which, to be fair, wasn’t all that rock and roll either - to capture a shot of the Liverpool lads.

Five years ago, Eanna Brophy - one of just a handful of journalists who got in on the action - penned a wonderful Irishman’s Diary recalling the big day. “They trooped upstairs to the mezzanine floor, dressed and coiffed as few others in Dublin were then,” he wrote.

“It was immediately clear that these new Beatle chaps were sharp, witty and totally clued in to how publicity worked. You wanted a four-column photo? They obliged with a a wide-armed, leg-kicking ‘ta-dahh!’ pose. Single column? They somehow put their heads atop each other on an adjacent table.”

The cynical snappers, he added, were utterly charmed. Our photographer went for the “single-column stack” and his shot has languished, unused and unloved, in the archives ever since.

We feel it should get a whirl as, in retrospect, it conveys the four very different personalities involved in the band. Paul looks cute. Ringo looks ironic. John looks as if he’d rather be somewhere else. And George - who, Brophy remembers, slipped away as soon as was decently possible, to meet up with his Irish relatives - looks, as he always did even in those insane early days, like himself.

Cleverly, the photographer managed to squeeze a racing photo into his shot - possibly to reassure Irish Times readers that the invading mopheads hadn’t yet managed to completely unravel the fabric of Irish society. Although, what’s that unidentified liquid in the glass on the table? Far be it from us to suggest that the Fab Four were anything less than totally wholesome but it looks suspiciously like, ahem, Alka-Seltzer.

If you feel like singing along with the anniversary, the Dublin Beatles Festival is hosting a number of events at the Workman’s Club in Dublin today including a stage play (2pm), a table quiz (3pm) and the tribute band Revolver (8pm).

Arminta Wallace

You can buy this photograph and other Irish Times images from irishtimes.com/photosales.

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