Summer Holidays in Days Gone By

In the ‘50’s and early’60’s, our family spent Summer holidays in Tramore. We stayed in a caravan site, which had all amenities. The caravan was in a sheltered area. High winds came in off the sea frequently. They were liable to blow a caravan over, if not located properly. There were a lot of day-trippers in Tramore, who came from Waterford. There were two hotels, which were packed to capacity every day. Some visitors set up tents in different localities, while others used caravan sites. We spent our time mainly on the strand. There was a promenade, where people wandered every day. When the tide was in, as far as the promenade wall, the fishermen appeared out of nowhere, using lures or bait, if they were lucky enough to have it. If not, they bought lug worm (3d for 12) or soft back peeler crabs (6d a dozen), from adolescents who happened to be there. It was a lucrative pastime for making pocket money. There was so much in Tramore to keep us entertained. Not to mention the amusements that were situated on the edge of town near the Promenade. I remember the dodgems (bumpers), chair-o-planes, swing boats and the spinner stall, where you could win a set of ware or a statue. When we didn’t have much money then, so we used to beach-comb. One was liable to find money any time, as people were absent minded about their personal items on the beach and with children scrambling to and fro, stuff would get buried in the sand from time to time. We used to collect cola bottles too and return them to the shop, where we would receive 1d for six bottles. We kept a rake under the caravan to use when beach–combing. It was also handy for raking seaweed, which was gathered in a bundle. At night-time, a pit was dug in the sand and the driest seaweed was put on top of a bit of dry paper. This was then lit and rubbish from the immediate area, would be gathered and thrown on top. This allowed for socialising too, around the campfire, meeting and making new friends. Others ran about or walked. There were great games of football and hurling played on the hard sand, while volleyball was played in softer sand. Much fun and exercise were to be had by all age groups and it was free! The beach was three miles long. It was a great place for spending time. Families used to walk the beach together some evenings, some even found ornaments of some sort or odd shaped stones, which were washed up on the shoreline. The sites also had facilities for washing, showering and cooking if necessary. As our summer adventures came to a close, the caravan would be locked and left there. We packed up our belongings in suitcases. These were then stacked up on the roof rack of our car, while the blankets and sheets were propped up in the boot. It usually took two trips, to get everything home. We all travelled home on the first trip. My father and big brother usually went back on the second trip, for the remaining goods, coming home again that same day. This was how holidays were spent, in this beautiful part of the country by my family, leaving us with many happy memories. The End.