Christmas 50 years ago
In December 1922 the people of most of Ireland celebrated their first independent Christmas. Fifty years later, in December 1972, Ireland was about to make great leaps of progress. On 13 December 1972 the country joined the European Economic Community (EEC), now known as the European Union (EU), heralding in a huge advancement socially and economically. Across the water Jimmy Osmond was at No. 1 in the music charts with ‘Long-haired lover from Liverpool,’ while Thin Lizzy were top of the Irish singles chart with ‘Whiskey in the Jar.’ The most popular television programmes were ‘The Late Late Show’ and ‘The Riordans.’
Locally, there were some changes to the landscape with the opening of a ‘notable addition to the list of first-class modern hotels in this country’ the ‘new 36-bedroom Hotel Cill Dara’ at Kill. A Sunday Independent feature of 17 December 1972 boasted that the Hotel Cill Dara was only twenty minutes’ drive from Dublin’s O’Connell Street Bridge! It also said there was parking for 300 cars and that 1,000 trees had been planted to landscape the four-acre roadside site. The owner was the well-known property developer and Cashel native James Cawley and his wife Patricia. ‘A number of highly successful functions have already been held in the short time since the hotel opened including the Golden Jubilee dinner dance of Naas Rugby Club,’ the Independent said. The Cill Dara ‘Festive Season Programme’ included ‘Dinner and Dance on St. Stephen’s Night at £3.00 per person (including tax),’ while the ‘New Year’s Eve Ball and Cabaret was £3.50 per person’.
Christmas was always a bumper time for newspaper advertisements with whole pages dedicated to local shopping. The Leinster Leader of 7 December 1972 carried a front-page prediction: ‘Fewer turkeys forecast this year.’ The then Naas-based paper said, ‘Co. Kildare housewives may have to pay more for their Christmas turkeys this year. So far forecasts are that there will be fewer birds on sale than last year. While this trend will be a blessing for the producer, it will inevitably mean dearer turkeys for the consumer.’ The main reason cited was the reduction in markets in which the Co. Turkey Marketing Committee was holding. There was no market in Naas, which had held two the previous year, while the market was to continue in Athy along with an alternative to the Naas market to be held in Prosperous.
Kildare Local Studies, Genealogy & Archives will close on 23 December 2022 and reopen on 2 January 2023. We wish all our readers and patrons a safe and Happy Christmas and a Prosperous and Bright New Year.
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