During the 1960s and 1970s, viewers in the North and East of the Republic of Ireland had easy access to the British TV networks; most of the remainder of the country had to make do with the one-channel service provided by RTÉ.
In 1977, the Irish Government authorised a second TV channel, to be run by RTÉ. During 1978, RTÉ upgraded its transmission network, with a view to having the new channel available to ninety per cent of the population at launch.
RTE Two launched at 8pm on November 02 1978, with a gala concert from the Cork Opera House. The channel's schedule was made up of programmes from the BBC and ITV, as well as various imports from further afield, mostly from the US. Some UK programmes, such as 'Top Of The Pops', were relayed live on RTÉ Two. The channel was also home to a small number of home-produced programmes, such as 'Landmark', 'Mart And Market', 'Mailbag' and the late-night 'Newsnight'.
Presentation-wise, there was nothing too elaborate. In-vision continuity was very popular. Out-of-vision announcements were typically made over a mechanical channel symbol or, a very basic, electronically-generated caption - typically, a blue background with yellow text, produced using a very basic caption generator.
There were no programme holding captions as such. However, in-programme captions were used at the start and end of commercial breaks; these were typically yellow text on a blue background, with the programme title displayed bottom left of screen, with the channel name immediately underneath, left aligned.
Unfortunately, we don't have much footage of RTÉ Two presentation from this period in our archive. If you have recordings of RTÉ Two continuity links/presentation from this period, or recollections of presentation from these years, we'd be delighted to hear from you. Please refer to the Contact Us page for details of how to get in touch with us.