A new national radio station goes on the air - Radio Ireland is launched on St. Patrick's Day.

Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule in 1997. Britain's 99-year lease on the colony expires.

Ireland gets a change of government this year. Fianna Fail and the PDs replace the Rainbow Coalition. They rely on the support of Independents.

After eighteen years in power, Britain's Tories suffer a crushing election defeat. 'New Labour' wins by the biggest margin this century.

English nanny Louise Woodward is convicted of murdering an eight-month-old baby. The judge reviews the jury's decision. The verdict is changed and the sentence reduced.

1997 sees a crisis in Ireland's immigration system. Asylum-seekers and refugees arrive in record numbers.

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Watch: Asylum-seekers and refugees - Nationwide reports on 23 June 1997 (via RTÉ Archives)

After the failure of huge 'pyramid investment' schemes, Albania collapses into anarchy. Desperate Albanians flee their country.

Ireland hosts the Eurovision - again. Katrina and the Waves win for Britain with their song Love Shine A Light.

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Watch: Eurovision 1997 - RTÉ News reports on 3 May 1997 (via RTÉ Archives)

Paris, 31 August 1997: Britain's Princess Diana is killed in a car crash. Her companion Dodi al-Fayed and driver Henri Paul also die. Diana's death is followed by exceptional scenes of public grief.

1997 also sees the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Portadown: The RUC and British Army seal off the Garvaghy Road so that Orangemen can march through. There is widespread rioting in nationalist areas. As peace efforts intensify, the IRA calls a new ceasefire on 20 July. Sinn Fein joins multi-party talks in Stormont. Ulster Unionists refuse to deal directly with Sinn Fein.

After announcing that she will not run again for President, Mary Robinson becomes UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Spice Girls are 1997's biggest pop act. 'Girl Power' also comes to Ireland.


Watch: Girl Power - RTÉ News reports on 21 February 1997 (via RTÉ Archives)

Clare beat Tipperary in the All-Ireland Hurling Final. Mayo's second All-Ireland Football Final in a row only brings victory for Kerry.

At Wicklow's Glen of the Downs, 'Eco-warriors' protest against road-building.

Dolly the Sheep causes worldwide debate in 1997. As Dolly is the world's first-ever cloned mammal, fears grow about further cloning experiments.

The McCracken Tribunal reveals a hidden money trail. Charles Haughey initially denies any knowledge of getting £1.3 million. He eventually admits that he personally received Ben Dunne's money. Other allegations force Ray Burke to resign from government.

Mary McAleese is Fianna Fail's victorious nominee for President, running against Adi Roche for Labour, Mary Banotti for Fine Gael, and Dana and Derek Nally as Independents.


Watch: President Elect Mary McAleese - RTÉ News reports on 31 October 1997 (via RTÉ Archives)

For the first time in nearly 4,000 years, Comet Hale-Bopp visits our solar system.

Mars: the 'Pathfinder' space probe visits the Red Planet. The mission is a major success for NASA.

1997 - The Playlist:

Hanson - Mmmbop

The Corrs - I Never Loved You Anyway

Texas - Say What You Want

Katrina And The Waves - Love Shine A Light

The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony

Boyzone - Baby Can I Hold You

Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life

U2 - Staring At The Sun

All Saints - Never Ever

OTT - The Story Of Love