1985: The year that was...

Live Aid, Heysel Stadium disaster, moving statues and PDs

On July 13th, 172,000 concert-goers filled two venues in London and Philadelphia, raising over £50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia

On July 13th, 172,000 concert-goers filled two venues in London and Philadelphia, raising over £50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia

 

Famine, the cold war and the threat of Aids cast long shadows over 1985, the year of the Live Aid concerts.

On July 13th, 172,000 concert-goers filled two venues in London and Philadelphia, raising over £50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia. Over £7 million was raised in Ireland, the highest per capita donation.

There was another major international disaster in May, when Bangladesh was hit by a tropical cyclone, killing approximately 10,000 people.

The year began with US president Ronald Reagan being sworn in for a second term. Before the end of the year, he met Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Global terrorism remained a major threat and, in June, an Air India Flight was blown up above the Atlantic off the Cork coast, killing all 329 aboard.

May was a grim month for football when fire engulfed a wooden stand at the Valley Parade stadium in Bradford, England, killing 56 spectators. Weeks later, 38 people were killed when a wall collapsed at the European Cup final between Liverpool FC and Juventus at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.

It was the year also that British scientists declared they had discovered the ozone hole, and the US Food and Drug Administration approved a blood test for Aids. On September 1st, the wreck of the RMS Titanic was discovered. In November Microsoft released the first Windows.

In domestic politics, Des O’Malley was expelled from Fianna Fáil, later followed by Mary Harney – who lost the whip for voting in favour of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. They founded the Progressive Democrats in December.

Ballinspittle grotto

It was a good year for Irish sport with the rugby team winning the Triple Crown and Dennis Taylor taking the world snooker title. One of the anthems of the year was the charity single We Are the World, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.

Other chart-toppers were provided by Simple Minds, Phil Collins, Billy Idol and Madonna, and number ones included 19 by Paul Hardcastle; Move Closer by Phyllis Nelson; and Kirsty Mac Coll’s A New England. In June, Slane Castle hosted Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for their debut Irish concert.