Sixty years of RTÉ television marked in an exhibition of photographs at the National Photographic Archive.

On 31 December 1961 Ireland’s first television service Telefís Éireann went on air. During the countdown to a new year the live broadcast cut to a clock face with both hands on twelve. The clock at the Custom House in Dublin had been photographed at midday weeks in advance. The photograph mounted on a black card through the magic of television created the stroke of midnight in the mind of viewers.

An integral part of television production and promotion, photographs were used in news reports, in the creation of graphics and title sequences for programmes. The images have been the backdrops in television studios and illustrated stories and covers in the RTÉ Guide.

RTÉ with the National Library of Ireland is marking RTÉ television at 60 with, Ireland On The Box, an exhibition of photographs. These images reveal the changing styles in programme production and presentation. They offer a taste of the range of news, sport, drama, entertainment, education and events produced and broadcast on RTÉ television. They remind us of the presenters, performers and people who have contributed to putting Ireland on the box.

Ireland On The Box runs at the National Photographic Archive, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin from Wednesday 29th December 2021. The free exhibition is presented by RTÉ Archives and the National Library of Ireland.