Who needs a beach? We go to the bog

John Reidy

'MAKE hay while the sun shines' - the old adage has been trotted out and given a brand new lease of life here in Castleisland over the past few weeks.

'MAKE hay while the sun shines' - the old adage has been trotted out and given a brand new lease of life here in Castleisland over the past few weeks.

There was little or no 'holiday culture' here until relatively recently. A local family who could afford the luxury of a holiday in Spain did just that during one summer in the early 1970s. On their return they got a sizable mention in the Castleisland notes in The Kerryman - which were written at that time by the late Willie Lyons.

That was exotic beyond belief and extravagant beyond comprehension.

Days off were rarely if ever thought of by the land-locked as a time for the beach or beyond. If it happened to be the kind of weather where the mad would think nothing of lying out half naked for most of the day – the thoughts of the masses here would turn to the meadow or, God forbid, the bog.

The beach thing was never in the psyche of the locality anyway. Members of an older generation remember with great fondness the 'swimming pool' below near the Crageen Bridge. There was a pool and a weir which diverted the river to the Rhyno Mills wheel and it proved an ideal 'resort' for a couple of generations of locals.

These past few weeks have brought a new realisation to the business houses of the locality. A dawning that if the masses are elsewhere there is little point in keeping the doors of a business premises open for a population of shoppers who have gone in search of hay to knock or turf to stand. When the sun shines like this, it forces the economic tides to flow away from the doors and shores of the land-locked.

Backyards are coming into play in a big way as landless sun-seekers try to make the most of this present spell of amazing weather. There is also the invasion of an American culture as the smoke from barbecues waft from all quarters. Back-gardens are converted to playgrounds, the slabs of strange sounding beers arrive and families gather for the big event. It is the year of the gathering after all!

Here in Castleisland the sun has brought out the best on an otherwise, routinely business boulevard. Tables and chairs began to appear outside pubs and cafes. They have been occupied morning, noon and night by a generation of young people who have seen little by way of the prolonged and predictable spell of weather they're now making the most of.

Business people of a more native outlook sit outside their shops and mind their own business – literally.

And talking of making hay when the sun shines: Tomo Burke Electrical bought in boxes of hand-held, battery operated fans last week and they're selling like the proverbial hotcakes. Tommy Hickey took in a huge consignment of paddling pools at his Silver Screen store and he's run off his feet with the demand.

I'm telling you – there's no seaside culture or mentality in this lovely, land-locked little town of ours. We make our own fun and we're getting on fine. Thank you.

P.S.: I met a farmer mad looking for rain on Tuesday. He wandered off into the sunset muttering something about slurry and the second cut.


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