‘The wacky history of the Border’


Sir, – The account by Diarmaid Ferriter of “The wacky history of the Border” (Weekend Review, February 9th) reminded me of my first crossing of the Border in 1961. I was selected to play on the Leinster chess team in a match against Ulster to be played in Newry or Warrenpoint.

Our team of 20 assembled in Dublin and were assigned to cars and driven north but almost all the cars did not have the necessary triptyque (a customs permit for the temporary importation of a car) to allow them to drive across the Border.

One exception was the car of the then Indian ambassador to Ireland who was a member of the Leinster team; his car had diplomatic plates and could enter freely.

The rest of the Leinster team headed down along the Carlingford peninsula towards Omeath and somewhere on that road we left the cars and entered rowing boats.

Thus, my first entry to Northern Ireland was by rowing boat. We were met on the northern side by cars and brought to our match venue.

After the match, which I am happy to report we won, we were driven back to the rowing boats to re-cross Carlingford Lough, back to our cars. I should mention that relations at that time were excellent between the chess associations north and south and that players from Northern Ireland regularly played on the Irish teams.

Hopefully after Brexit we will not have to take to the rowing boats again. – Yours, etc,


Malahide, Co Dublin.