"It Was Liberation for Women All Over"


About this Item

On International Women's Day in 1991, Nell McCafferty and Marian Finucane remember the condom train and the time Gay Byrne gave his 'Late Late Show' seat to Marian.

  • Title
    Condom Train and Women in the Media
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Gay Byrne (Presenter)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    The Late Late Show
  • Clip title
    "It Was Liberation for Women All Over"
  • Extended description

    On International Women's Day in 1991, 'The Late Late Show' invited a panel of women to discuss the women's movement in Ireland. In this clip, journalist Nell McCafferty and broadcaster Marian Finucane reminisce about the condom train in 1971, when members of the Irish Women's Liberation Movement travelled to Belfast to buy contraceptives. Nell was on that train, but says that she was in charge of the pills. Marian says that half of the women didn't even know what condoms looked like and "nearly died of embarrassment".

    Presenter Gay Byrne then plays a TV clip from what he regards as one of Nell's greatest moments: a 'Late Late Show' on women in the media from 1980. In response to a comment in a report submitted to the RTÉ Authority that Marian Finucane will never get the chair of 'The Late Late Show', Gay Byrne offers Marian his seat while Nell whoops and cheers that "we're free at last".

  • Information

    'The Late Late Show' was intended to be a summer "filler" but proved so successful with the public that it became part of the regular schedule. The idea for the programme came from the show's producer, Tom McGrath, who wanted to present an Irish version of the American talk show 'The Tonight Show'.

    Gay Byrne was to be the show's presenter and would remain so for the next 37 years. Tom McGrath's original idea was that the show would be informal and have the feel of people dropping in for a chat.

    'The Late Late Show' became an important forum for the airing and debating of many issues in a changing Irish society.

    The first programme of 'The Late Late Show' was broadcast at 11.20 pm, 6 July 1962. At the time, it was unusual to have a live talk and entertainment show on so late in the day's viewing. On that first show, the guests were Count Cyril McCormack, Ken Gray, George Desmond Hodnett and Harry Thuillier. McGrath would go on to pioneer many other successful variety shows on Irish television.
    Pat Kenny replaced Gay Byrne as presenter in 1999 and remained in that position for 10 years.The programme is still running today and is presented by Ryan Tubridy.

  • Local keywords
    International Women's Day, Women's rights, Women in the Media, Contraception, Condom train, Irish Women's Liberation Movement, Marian Finucane, Nell McCafferty, Mary Kenny, June Levine, Ailbhe Smyth, Josephine Hart, Anne Enright
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    Society and Social Issues
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
    RTÉ One
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
  • Rights terms and conditions

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  • Item type
  • Item colour
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)