Live broadcast in Dublin in 1883? Yes, it’s true!

In the centre of this photograph can be seen the mount in which eight silk theatre programmes are set. They are well over a century old and each has a tale to tell
In the centre of this photograph can be seen the mount in which eight silk theatre programmes are set. They are well over a century old and each has a tale to tell

On the 1st and 2nd of May, 1883, just seven years after  Alexander Graham Bell secured patent for the telephone, people in Dublin decided to give the new-fangled contraption a go.

Actor_portraying_Alexander_Graham_Bell_in_an_AT&T_promotional_film_(1926)
An actor portraying Alexander Graham Bell speaking into an early model telephone.

A connection was set up between the Gaiety Theatre and a charity bazaar at the Coombe hospital to all visitors so they could hear a live opera.

Barton_McGuckin_A
Barton McGuckin (1852-1913) tenor, who was born in Dublin and whose performances in Italy, London and the United States were received rapturously.

One of the singers, whose voices was heard over the telephone, was Barton McGuckin whose name appears on the programme in the top right of the mount at Mulligan’s lounge bar. (This programme refers to a different performance, Faust, at the Theatre Royal).

The Freeman’s Journal reported on the event in its edition of 24 April, 1883:

The different airs , choruses and the music from the orchestra were distinctly audible while the noisy gods (people in the audience) …were also to be clearly heard.

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