Summer Snaps: A little superstar in shades

I love this image because it reminds me of all the adventures my dad took me and my siblings on across the country

Alice McLoughlin and her father on Lecanvey Beach, Co Mayo

Alice McLoughlin and her father on Lecanvey Beach, Co Mayo


This photograph was taken in the 1980s on Lecanvey Beach in Co Mayo, a place that remains a regular haunt for our family. I’m 30 now but I must be about four or five in the photograph, and I’m posing with my dad in Ber’s sunglasses.

Ber is my Aunt Bernadette, but we never called her “Auntie”, it was always just Ber. At the time she was away working in the Shelbourne Hotel, back when it was the place to be. To us at that time, Dublin was a far-away land, and she was this exotic being who always dressed impeccably. So to wear anything of Ber’s made me feel like a little superstar.

Ber was very artistic: she would embroider cushions with thoughtful designs, and she once created a mosaic patio for my grandparents’ garden. She lives in Colorado now with her fabulous American husband, Dan. She has green fingers and is still so thoughtful. She recently sent me some seeds to plant flowers on my balcony.

I love this image because it reminds me of all the adventures my dad, Pádraig, took me and my siblings on across the country. He is a retired English and history teacher, the kind all the students missed when they left school, because he was a gifted teacher (and I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad).

He always fostered a love of English in myself and my two brothers and two sisters. I have treasured memories of nights snuggled up with him reading Roald Dahl’s stories and doing all the voices.

At the beach he taught us to swim – “always parallel to the shore” – and we would have the obligatory 99 on the way home. You don’t forget those times. We were very lucky children.

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