Summer Snaps: The shutters come down on your holiday pictures

Revealing swimwear, Queen Beatrix in a gay bar, and buggies driven under the influence: here is our final pick of readers’ summer memories

Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 01:00


A born optimist

Like other Limerick families, we spent our annual holidays in Kilkee, Co Clare. This photograph was taken in the summer of 1949 and shows my mother and me walking along Marine Parade, overlooking Kilkee’s misty horseshoe bay.

The weather was too wet for the beach, so my mother decided to take me for a walk – an idea shared by the other people in the photograph who are wrapped in their raincoats and sheltering under an umbrella.

My mother was wearing a yellow hooded raincoat that she had recently bought. It must have looked like a burst of sunshine on such a grey day.

Always the optimist, she was carrying my bucket and spade in case the weather miraculously improved. Somehow, she was able to obtain a length of similar material to her yellow raincoat, and she made me a small shower cloak with a matching hood.

Clearly it was near dinner time when the photograph was taken, as I am doing my best to chew the edge off my cloak. Pat Dargan



This is my friend Zoltán Gál from Pécs, Hungary, taking shelter while hiking in the Wicklow mountains.

Our expedition with 23 other hikers took us across the mountains of Cushbawn, Ballinacor, and Croghanmoira. We were an eclectic mix: people from Rome, Barcelona, China and exotic places such as Rathdrum, Wexford, Galway and Mullingar. On these hikes we use satnav to find the path less trodden, and sometimes climb over an extra mountain by mistake.

Zoltán spent the past few months working as an economist with a Dublin university.

On the day this photo was taken, the beautiful sunny morning had held no hint of the afternoon’s deluge. Zoltán arrived without appropriate rainwear. When the heavens opened, he was delighted to find a plastic bag in his jacket pocket. He joked that it was a great investment for the bag tax of 22 cent. It’s not the first time a visiting economist has discovered a watertight tax shelter in Ireland. Ciarán Walsh


The railway children

My grandparents were gatekeepers on the railway in Moate, Co Westmeath. They lived in a little two-room cottage at the railway. I took this photo outside the station when I was 13. It was the summer of 1967, and my cousins, sisters and brother are drinking lemonade from china cups. Some of us slept in granny’s, and the rest in my grand-aunt’s cottage where there was no running water or television, a novelty for us Dubs. We used to go to a neighbour for buckets of water and made sure to go at a time when we could watch their television. The 5pm express train from Galway to Dublin whizzed past every day. My job, as the eldest, was to gather the other 10 cousins together, in case they strayed on to the railway. Every Saturday night we were all bathed in turn in a zinc bath, the water from which was then used to wash the floor. Then we’d get our Sunday clothes on for Saturday-night Mass. Afterwards, Gran would bring us for chips and give us a shilling for the jukebox. We were a lucky bunch and we knew it. Mary Jackson


Pram crawl

This picture was taken in summer 1988, the weekend of the annual festival in Tramore, Co Waterford. This was the pram race. Some friends and I had borrowed my cousin’s Silver Cross buggy, which she was still using at the time.

I am the one in the black-and-white-striped jumper, pushing my friend Fiona, who emigrated to Canada a month later. I haven’t seen her since. To the far right, two of my uncles are cheating with a beer trolley from O’Shea’s Hotel.

There were four people to a team; one sat in the pram while the other three pushed. The organisers cruelly decided we would start at the end of the town by the amusements, and work our way uphill.

During bar pit stops, we took it in turns to run inside and down a pint of lager, before running back out and swapping places with the person in the pram. Once all pit stops were made, we took a mad dash back down to the finish line. This was a memorable summer for me for another reason: I met my husband that year. The pram race was a one-off event – I can’t think why it never happened again. Mary Crowley


Indecent togs

There were four of us, two boys and two girls, all born in the 1950s near Dundrum village. In the summer our father would take us to Killiney beach by train. Preparation for these outings involved making a big pack of sandwiches, gathering buckets and spades, a rug, jackets in case the weather changed, and sugar and milk for tea.

All this was packed into my father’s haversack, which had accompanied him since his time in the Home Guard during the war. At the time, Killiney strand housed a line of huts where women sold pots of tea. My parents always went to the same woman.

My father gave us swimming lessons, holding us by the chin and showing us how to use our arms and legs. He always wore the same black, woollen swimming togs. During one outing we noticed the moths had been having a feast. As he strolled down to the water, we could see that his togs were full of holes. A group of ladies nearby who saw this were in fits.

The snap is of me and my brother on the beach in Killiney on one of those wonderful summer outings. Ann O’Rourke



Queen Beatrix

We met “Queen Beatrix” on the Canary Islands, in the gay hot spot that is the Yumbo Centre on summer holiday in 2005. One night, a gang of us stumbled across something we had never seen before: a Dutch-themed gay bar. The walls were adorned with pictures of the Danish royal family and Queen Beatrix herself (Princess Beatrix since her abdication last year).

Dutch gays love Queen Beatrix, as she is a long-time supporter of LBGT rights. On our way out of the bar, we bumped into Queen Beatrix herself. That’s me in the glasses on the right.

We returned to the bar for one more drink and persuaded the “queen” to regale us with tales of the palace and gossip about other royals. The boring truth? It was a random, albeit very posh, Dutch lady who bore more than a passing resemblance to the actual queen.

We ended up enjoying a mad night out, with all the bar patrons cheering for the queen(s). This picture brings back memories of a fantastic summer night out. I still like to think maybe it was the real Beatrix, slumming it for a night.

Paul Dunphy

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