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'It was wondrous': Pat Kenny on receiving Ireland's first mobile phone call 35 years ago

The first phone call ever made on a mobile phone in Ireland took place on this day 35 years ago. ...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.38 11 Dec 2020


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'It was wondrous': Pat Kenny o...

'It was wondrous': Pat Kenny on receiving Ireland's first mobile phone call 35 years ago

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.38 11 Dec 2020


Share this article


The first phone call ever made on a mobile phone in Ireland took place on this day 35 years ago.

Then Minister for Communications, Jim Mitchell, phoned Pat Kenny on December 11th, 1985.

The pair had a brief chat about the broadcaster's Best Dressed Man Of The Year award.

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Pat Kenny was on the street in Dublin when he received the call and when asked how he could afford to be Ireland's best-dressed man, he replied that broadcasters "can dress for half price because we only have to dress from the waist up".

He was joined by the CEO of Dixons Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse, Jim O' Hagan, today to talk about the mobile phone business and its evolution in Ireland.

Pat specifically remembered how just big the phone was and described the experience of being able to call anyone from anywhere as "amazing".

He said: "I remember that time vividly because it was a big Motorola block I was using to make that call to Jim Mitchell and I'd had it for a few days beforehand to practice.

"I used it everywhere and I just found it amazing that I could make a phone call from the top of a bus or in the middle of a field or wherever it might be.

"It was a wondrous thing to arrive in our hands.

"I remember the first phone I actually owned myself, because I had borrowed the Motorola for a few days, it was a carphone made by Phillips that was permanently installed in my car."

Mr O' Hagan agreed that it was a "phenomenal" moment and that the phone that Pat used cost over £3,000 at the time.

It took seven years for text messages to arrive on our phones and for the devices to transition from being "bricks" to smaller designs.

He said: "It was really in the 1990s and the evolution to the smartphone that we saw the commoditisation of the mobile phone.

"The memories of consumers using them and saying 'I'm running out of credit' is probably the most famous thing."

'It was wondrous': Pat Kenny on receiving Ireland's first mobile phone call 35 years ago

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Main image: Pat Kenny pictured in 2016. Credit: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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