Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ireland Unified by Radio


The border between the new Irish Free State and Northern Ireland was not to everyone’s liking but radio did not recognize so called hard borders and its signal in the ether was transnational. On December 13th 1927 at 8pm a unique experiment took place that for forty five minutes united the island of Ireland. A comedy revue titled ‘Hip Hip Hooradio’ was staged at the Empire Theatre in Belfast. The show was transmitted live by the Belfast radio station 2BE but in a moment of broadcasting history it was also relayed live and simultaneously by 2RN in Dublin and 6CK in Cork.

The Lord Mayors of the three cities recorded greetings for each other which were aired before the relay. The Lord Mayor of Belfast Rt. Hon. Sir William Turner attended the Empire in person and spoke into the microphone from the stage. The comedy revue was written by Richard Hayward and Gerald McNamara and was described in the pre-publicity as having ‘seventeen scenes of fun and frolic’ performed by the Ulster Players. The show was set in a radio station studio. Some of those who performed in the show were Vivian Worth, Marian Wright, Kitty Murphy, Dorothy Camlin, Jack Chambers, Richard Hayward, Jack Gavin and Kenneth Coffey. 

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