Sandy Times

Sunday was always family day and a day when you did something together as a family so everyone
looked forward to Sunday especially if the day was good in the summertime. We were lucky as we lived about two miles from the beach. This beach was called Stragill and is part of Lough Swilly one of the
many beautiful beaches on Lough Swilly. We had a young family and no car so we had to walk to the
beach. We had a big pram which you could get a seat to put on top of so that another older child could sit safely there. This pram also had a tray underneath and on this would be put a blanket, towels, juice, sandwiches, maybe fruit as children got very hungry at the beach. It also had a few buckets and spades a ball if there was room or the older ones carried them.
Everyone went to Mass in the morning and as soon as dinner was over we would set of to the beach. Excitement was high on the way down and as most of the way to the beach was downhill so there were no complaints. Arriving at the beach there was a small river which flowed into the sea and you had to cross this to get a good place on the beach. A favourite place was at the far side of the beach where
there were large rocks and was sheltered. We would get set up and there would be great fun building castles searching for shells and feathers to decorate them with and competition too to see who could make the best. Sometime someone might be bold and destroy the castles by jumping on them. If the
tide was in they would build moats around the castle and either carry buckets of water to flood it or
hope the tide would do it for them. If the tide was that close the castles would be washed away. When the tide was in everyone went for a “dip” which was going into the water for a swim. Most of the
children were not able to swim at this time but had great fun splashing and running about as the water was always cold at the start. We would then play ball. When everyone had done a lot of running about they were hungry and it was time for something to eat and go home. No one wanted to go home but it was a long walk so off we would go and you could end up with three in the pram for parts of the way to get a little rest.
In later years lots of other families of cousins came to this beach and there would be much fun and
games and lifelong friendships made. At this time you had a tent and this was great at the beach as if it was windy or they felt cold coming out of the water they could sit in it and shelter or eat their food or change. Sand sandwiches are not nice.
Older children sometimes would be taken for a walk to what was known as Fr. Hegarty’s rock, this is a place where a Catholic priest was martyred by the English soldiers and where he was buried for a long time until he was taken to a family grave in Letterkenny, and further to the fort at Neds point where the English soldiers were when in Ireland.
Many happy days were had at Stragill beach and wonderful memories are still talked about at family