Where were you? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000

“You won’t be alone… at least you’re in” David Bowie wrote in his lyrics for Join The Gang and in those lines you have the essence of the need for like-minded souls to celebrate the music they love and its related style of dress. It was a means of expression, of identity, of inclusion and individuality – even when the overall look had a distinct similarity. It was all a part of belonging to a particular tribe. A dress code that brought you a sense of being ‘in’, of being a part of something that was oftern larger than the numbers in your own group.

This is how the foreword of the book “Where were you? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000” starts. These words by Steve Averill couldn’t be truer. It is that feeling of belonging to something and being different that makes us feel proud of who and what we are.


Where were you?, published in November 2011, is a photographic celebration of Dublin’s youth culture. street style and teen life, from the 1950s to the 1990s. From a pool of over 5,000 images, this fascinating visual record features over 800 photographs, taken from a huge range of sources. Included is the work of established photographers such as Tony O’Shea, Derek Speirs, Bill Doyle and Fergus Bourke, alongside an incredibly diverse and eclectic mix of snapshots, photobooth and Polaroid photos contributed by the public. A selection of ticket stubs, badges, flyers, adverts, quotes and newspaper clippings complement the photographs and enhance this unique social document of an often overlooked aspect of Dublin’s past.

I would like to thank Garry O’Neill, the man behind this fantastic book, as I got in contact with him to use the pictures for this post and Garry kindly agreed. As this blog is focused on the late 60’s and early 70’s, that’s the period from the book that I would like to cover today.

  • O’Connell street, 1969


  • Spotlight Magazine, Ocotober 1969

“Music and love is the message and anyone who digs the Pioneers and Desmond Dekker is their mate…”


There are other interesting pictures from the late 60’s but as I don’t have a scanner, I can’t show them to you ;)

Moving on to the 70’s, here we can see how the Skinhead thing was in Ireland. Skinheads didn’t take long to apread across the Irish sea, with various newspaper articles relating to Skinhead activity in the city appearing as early as October 1969 (see photo above).

Some early Skinheads bought their clothes while on holiday or on work trips to England. After returning home, some were approached by shop owners, aware of the popularity of the new trend and eager to copy the cut and style of certain brands not available in Ireland.

  • Spotlight Magazine, 10 april, 1970


  • Middle Abbey Street, 1970


  • Trip to Kilkenny beer festival, 1970


  • Sunday Independent, 19 April 1970


  • O’Connell Street, 1972


  • Weaver Square, Cork Street, 1974


  • O’Connell Street, 1973


  • O’Connell Street, 1972


  • O’Connell Street, 1973


  • Johnny Eagle’s Tattoo Shop, Capel Street, ca. 1975


  • O’Connell Street, 1974


I find this book brilliant and I bought it when it came out. As you can see, Where were you? has loads and loads of great photos, most of them unknown to us before the book was released; therefore, I highly recommend it. Moreover, if you are a fan of youth cults in general, you will love it as it is quite complete. You can purchase the book through their Webpage and you can also follow the updates on their Facebook Page.

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And as always in parting, a nice little tune. So the Irish skinheads liked The Pioneers, me too!