Saturday 25 March 2017

Escape to Mosney has a whole new meaning

Memories of days of pure freedom are a long way from the experiences of children in the camp now

Brendan Heraghty Cliffoney Sligo competing in the art competition at the Credit Union Community Games in Mosney Holiday Centre in Co. Meath yesterday
Brendan Heraghty Cliffoney Sligo competing in the art competition at the Credit Union Community Games in Mosney Holiday Centre in Co. Meath yesterday

Nicky Larkin

It used to be better than Christmas – four days away from home in musty chalets with no parents. But Mosney is no longer where the Community Games finals are held each year. Mosney is now one of the largest, privately owned refugee centres in Europe.

I went to Mosney every single year as a kid throughout the Nineties, competing in the Community Games. I know the place like the back of my hand. When I think about Mosney now, more than 15 years later, the first thing that comes to mind is faded colours. That and the smell of Lynx deodorant. I loved it.

We'd roam the sprawling blocks of crumbling chalets in our green Offaly tracksuits, spend hours down at the ageing amusements with the peeling paint, and pump copper fortunes into slot machines in that musty old arcade. Then Lynxed-up to the last, we'd head off to the disco. It was our brief escape into adulthood, and we treasured every minute of it. Pure freedom.

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