independent

Friday 19 September 2014

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside – especially in Sligo

Jenny's Journal

Published 16/07/2013 | 05:40

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The good weather was made all the more enjoyable with a drink at a Coney Island bar.

I heard someone say last week: "I'm even smiling when opening letters from the bank these days." Few things can lift the spirits like sunshine. Sporting success on the international stage comes close.

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Cultural accolades - celebrating the best of our writers and films also brings with it a sense of shared pride.

But the feel good factor from the warm rays hitting the emerald isle of late is hard to beat.

Al fresco dining becomes the norm.

Sun creams outsell umbrellas for once.

At lunch last week, a group of office workers passed sun-lotion around the table like salt and pepper.

The roar of the recession is silenced somewhat as families flock to the coast.

Hotels.com reported a surge in searches for Sligo holiday hotspots.

Enniscrone was up 34 percent on the same time last year.

While the Irish Camping and Caravan Council (ICC) highlighted a 40 percent seasonal increase in camping breaks in Ireland.

We took a spin out to Coney Island on Saturday and enjoyed a drink on outdoor benches by the white-washed walls of the tiny bar with its half door.

In front of us stood a potato field, green stalks swaying in the gentle breeze and in the distance a stark clear Knocknarea.

My visitors got a thrill from driving across the seabed.

"Go faster," my brother suggested.

They were equally as impressed with the unspoilt beauty of the Sligo isle.

"It's like being on the Aran Islands except way nicer," my friend said as we meandered towards the beach along a grassy laneway, "How many islands can you drive to like that?"

By the strand a group of young families had set up camp.

A teenage girl sat in a deckchair reading; her dad was cooking up dinner on an open fire; their tents pitched for the night.

There would be no fighting over the remote control that evening.

So many people brought dinner to the beach last week.

I spotted a couple in the Strandhill dunes divvy up tasty salads in Tupperware.

A portable barbecue smoked as the chardonnay chilled.

Lounging around their picnic table, the splendid sea served as the perfect backdrop - and the pair looked the picture of contentment.

In Sligo town on Saturday the buzz was inescapable.

We popped into the flea market in the Model, a fusion of colour and character, with a wonderful range of vintage fare on sale.

Outside we lunched at the large picnic table overlooking the mall.

The view from here a fusion of a different kind, the glasshouse, benbulben, period chimney tops and cathedral spires.

Down town, the Cairde festival was in full swing with Kieran Quinn on keyboards in Tobergal Lane while across the bridge car enthusiasts got to browse Sligo Rally stalls in Stephen Street carpark.

The carnival like atmosphere certainly brought a smile to my face.

Long live the Sligo summer.

Sligo Champion

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