The Times We Lived In – A rest between rides on Sandymount Strand

Published: August 4th, 1970; Photograph: John McGarth

The scene at Sandymount Strand, Dublin, on August 4th, 1970. Photograph: John McGarth

The scene at Sandymount Strand, Dublin, on August 4th, 1970. Photograph: John McGarth

 

When we think of horseriding on beaches nowadays, we have a mental picture of punters cantering along the misty shoreline of the Wild Atlantic Way – or indeed Ireland’s Ancient East – with the wind in their hair and the world at their feet.

Half a century ago it was a much more down-to-earth affair. A boy, a pony or a donkey, and a rope. That was your lot. If you were lucky there might even be a saddle.

Though not, by the looks of it, in this case. Our photo from the summer of 1970 shows a young man and his four-legged friend, braving the sun and scanning the horizon for potential customers.

They’re a pair from another era, and no mistake. But the real eye-opener in this photograph is the location, as revealed in the caption, which reads: “The rest between rides: a scene at Sandymount Strand yesterday”.

Excuse me? Sandymount? But look at all those families, swimsuits, buckets, spades, towels and sandwiches, camped out on the sand for a proper day at the beach. Can you imagine it happening now? Not in a million years.

The photographer has blurred out the background, but if you look carefully you can see a couple of daredevils sitting atop the sea wall – which, before its outer perimeter was lined with “rock armour” to help prevent flooding of the streets beyond, was impressively high.

You can also see the Martello Tower. Its door is open, suggesting that its popular cafe – long since closed down – was also doing a brisk trade. For those who required more salty sustenance, there was a pit-stop on the beach itself (just behind the pony), where a crisp-seller is perched on an upturned wooden crate. Judging by the height of the pile of boxes inscribed with the legend “Tayto”, this, too, was a popular seaside institution.

Bondi, eat your heart out. Sandymount Strand. Who knew?

Arminta Wallace

These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. A book, ‘The Times We Lived In’, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced at €19.99.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.