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December 1961 - November 1978

General Presentation [1]

The first television service to originate in the Republic of Ireland launched in 1961. Up until then, the population relied upon signals from across the border in Northern Ireland (BBC Northern Ireland and Ulster Television) and later from the west coast of Great Britain (mostly BBC Wales and WWN/TWW/HTV Wales).

Irish Prime Minister/Taoiseach Seán Lemass gave the green light for television in Ireland in the late-1950s; legislation was put before Dáil Éireann in 1960. The government-controlled Radio Éireann became a public corporation and was given the responsibility of setting up the new television service. Irish-born broadcaster Eamonn Andrews - already well established on UK television - was appointed chairman of the Radio Éireann Authority and oversaw the set-up of Telefís Éireann.

Unfortunately, we don't have much footage of Telefís Éireann/RTÉ One presentation from this period in our archive. If you have recordings of continuity links/presentation from this period, or recollections of presentation from these years, we'd be delighted to hear from you. Please refer to the Contact Us page for details of how to get in touch with us.

Our thanks to the late Eamonn Hanratty for the reconstructions included on this page.

Above: the President of Ireland, Éamon DeValera, officially opened the new television service.

Above: Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, gave a further address on opening night.

Above: Cardinal d'Alton also spoke to viewers on launch night.

Above: images from the live concert from the Gresham Hotel [1]. This event - from O'Connell Street, Dublin - marked the official launch of Telefís Éireann. The concert featured the Artane Boys Band and Patrick O'Hagan.

Above: images from the live concert from the Gresham Hotel [2].

Above: images from the live concert from the Gresham Hotel [3].

Above: images from the live concert from the Gresham Hotel [4].

Above: images from the live concert from the Gresham Hotel [5]. Chairman of the Radio Éireann Authority, Eamonn Andrews.

Above: Telefís Éireann ident [December 1961 - December 1963] [left]. The St Brigid's Cross was adopted as the symbol for Telefís Éireann. This particular design was created by Édith Cusack. Telefís Éireann clock [early-1960s] [right]. Believed to be the first Telefís Éireann clock; not sure how long it remained in service though.

Above: you can just about make out the St Brigid's Cross ident and station clock on the monitors in this picture of the Telefís Éireann continuity control room [left]. Was this variation of the Édith Cusack design used as an on-air ident [right]?

Above: Telefís Éireann ident [December 1961 - December 1963] [left] [reconstruction]. This ident was used interchangeably with the white-on-black Édith Cusack design. Created by Dick Butterworth, this design was less prone to strobing. Telefís Éireann ident [December 1963 - July 1966] [right]. This streamlined version of the St Brigid's Cross was created by Jim Jones.

Above: prior to the formation of the statutory organisation Radio Telefís Éireann in July 1966, a new St Brigid's Cross logo was launched, designed in-house by Jim Jones. Two versions were used: one black-on-white [left] [reconstruction], the other white-on-black [right] [reconstruction].

Above: RTÉ ident [July 1966 - September 1969] [left]. The St Brigid's Cross logo introduced in mid-1966 was soon updated to include the letters 'R', 'T' and 'E', forming what became known as the 'four boxes' logo. RTÉ ident [September 21 1969 - early-1970s] [right] [reconstruction]. One of the most enduring symbols in RTÉ's history; this take on the St Brigid's Cross was designed at RTÉ by Don Farrell and John Cogan.

Above: RTÉ ident [early-1970s - 1976] [left]. The 1969 design was later revised to include 'RTE'. RTÉ ident [1976 - 1978] and RTÉ One ident [1978 - February 01 1980] [right] [reconstruction]. The early-1970s ident went colour in 1976, when RTÉ completed the conversion of its TV studios to colour.