Curracloe Haven

In the late ’70s and right through the ’80s, my family spent our summer
holidays in Curracloe, County Wexford. For me, it was just magical. Those two
weeks every July and August in a rented mobile home in Whyte’s Caravan Park
was the highlight of every year.
Dad’s green Hillman Hunter, lovingly named “Betsy”, was packed to the brim
both inside and out, with all seven of us squashed in the car like a tin of
sardines. Also included was our black Labrador Sam.
Some years, our extended family came on holidays with us too. Renting
another mobile home or pitching a tent on the site in the caravan park. We’re
All Going on a Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard was our theme tune, and we
never got bored of singing it over and over.
While Mam and Dad unpacked everything from the car, we would sprint off to
the beach to explore and have fun. The beautiful, unspoilt sand dunes became
our playground. We spent hours rolling around or playing hide ‘n’ seek, as the
constant crash of the waves could be heard in the background.
To this day, Curracloe’s soft sandy beach is one of Ireland’s little gems. We had
no fear of the huge waves, we just dived in. Even through mouthfuls of
saltwater, we laughed. Endless hours were spent jumping over and through
the waves, while the lads carried the girls on their backs in a piggyback race.
Even the jellyfish couldn’t stop us from having fun.
Sandcastles were all the rage: the bigger, the better, and the panic and upset
that ensued after the tide came in and destroyed our creations, was short-
lived, as tomorrow was another day. I kid you not, I never come across such a
variety of sea shells that adorned the beach. We collected bags of them and
brought them home. Dad would display them in the garden as our souvenirs.
“Did you know when you put a sea shell to your ear, you can hear the sea?”
A few days a week, Dad and the lads would head into Kylemore Quay and head
off in a fishing trawler to catch fish for tea. Sometimes they would arrive back
with a bucketful of fish. After they gutted and cleaned them, and Mam would
cook them. My brother and cousins thought it was hilarious to chase after us,
trying to put the heads of the dead fish down our backs.
Us girls were just too nice for those smelly trips. Instead, we would lie on the
sandy beach trying to get a tan. There wasn’t a bottle of sunscreen in sight!
As we grew into our teenage years, we made great campsite friends and even
had a holiday romance or two.
The beach was our sanctuary for those two weeks. With endless sunshine on
our backs and the sea breeze keeping us cool, it was a haven of pure fun (that
is, when you weren’t the one caught and buried in the sand or stung by a
jellyfish). Ice cream and picnics on the beach were the norm and a chipper for
two Friday nights in a row was our treat.
Thirty-five years on and my family and I still reminisce about summer holidays.
Sadly, Dad passed away almost four years ago, and Sam and Betsy are long
gone, but these memories of our holidays in Curracloe keep us all connected.
A few years back, we all went on a trip to Curracloe. We brought our own
children along. It was a fantastic day, filled with fun and laughter, and
togetherness. Magical.