1986 is a year of Unionist opposition to the recent Anglo-Irish Agreement.

1986 is also the year of the Challenger disaster. Seven people die on board the space shuttle. At Chernobyl in the Soviet Union, a nuclear reactor explodes. It is the world's worst civil nuclear disaster.

A military helicopter above the Chernobyl nuclear plant,
a few days after its No 4 reactor exploded

As the Lebanese civil war worsens, Belfast man Brian Keenan is kidnapped. He will spend four years as a hostage.

Hurricane 'Charlie' reaches Ireland in August. The East and Southeast are worst hit.

Claims of misconduct are made against John Stalker. He is removed from his two-year investigation into an alleged RUC 'shoot to kill' policy.

Rubbish piles up in Dublin's streets as Corporation workers go on strike. When the Army are sent in to clear the rubbish, the dispute turns nasty.

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A load of rubbish - RTÉ News reports on 8 June 1986 (via RTÉ Archives)

The Irish Sweepstakes closes after 56 years. A new National Lottery will begin next year.

London, 23 July 1986: Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew are married.

The 'Self Aid' telethon highlights unemployment as the jobless figure reaches 250,000.

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Self Aid rocks - RTÉ News reports on 17 May 1986 (via RTÉ Archives)

The Kowloon Bridge tanker runs aground off the County Cork Coast.

Ireland goes to the polls over proposals to introduce divorce. Voters reject divorce by 935,844 to 538,279.

At the RDS in Dublin Barry McGuigan fights Danilo Cabrera. With the help of manager Barney Eastwood, the 'Clones Cyclone' retains his world title, although he will lose it later in the year.

Evelyn Glenholmes is released from court as British extradition warrants are deemed defective. She is wanted for questioning on an IRA bomb campaign. Gardai follow her through the streets. One detective fires shots into the air. Despite the efforts of Republican supporters, Evelyn Glenholmes is re-arrested.

A new airline opens for business: Ryanair cuts fares on flights to Britain.

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Ryanair takes flight - RTÉ News reports on 23 May 1986 (via RTÉ Archives)

Another generation turns its back on Ireland. Thousands of young people emigrate. At the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, visa applications rise by 25 per cent .

30,000 people emigrate in 1986.

1986 - The Playlist:

Simply Red: Holding Back The Years

Dire Straits: Walk Of Life

The Waterboys: Whole Of The Moon

Billy Ocean: When The Going Gets Tough

Chris de Burgh: Lady In Red

Housemartins: Caravan Of Love

Bon Jovi: You Give Love A Bad Name

Dermot Morgan: Thank You Very Much, Mr. Eastwood

Wham!: Edge Of Heaven

Mary Black: As I Leave Behind Neidin