As Ireland basks in this heatwave to beat all heatwaves, there’s been plenty of opportunities to think about the continuities and changes associated with going to the beach for the day.
Sea, sand, shells, seaweed, swims and sun remain but there’s just so many changes since the days when I was child and that’s not a hundred years ago!
Yesterday, I started jotting down some of the biggest changes as I sat on Garrarus Beach after my swim drinking a bottle of Ballygowan Water. I can’t remember if we even drank water at the beach back then!
People were chatting on mobile phones and checking their emails as they lay on the sand. Compare this to days of having to ring the operator to make a call beyond the locale and the old Button A and Button B phone boxes.
Kids were racing around in wetsuits and playing on body boards. How I’d have loved a body board as a kid! Remember the days of the lilo and the endless parental warnings about how you’d be carried off beyond the horizon if you dared take it into the sea.
And, yesterday as everyday now, people were taking photographs with their phones or fancy digital cameras. We operated with box cameras and eventually Dad got his Roliflex and we had to wait ’til the film was used up and he dove into his dark room to develop the ‘catch.’ Needless to say black and white!
As I watched people arriving with instant barbecues, cool bags, even ready-to-go rolls, I thought of our picnic basket with the old reliables of the flask wrapped up in a tea towel, soggy tomato sandwiches, dry ham ones, a warm apple each and the old reliable Gateaux Swiss Roll ~ jam flavoured.
Hey and what about the transistors that eventually came on a Sunday to listen to the hurling and football championship games. Now, it’s iPods, and ear phones …..
Books were a must going to the beach in my youth. As the baby of the family, it drove me crazy when the rest of them were in their ‘ready-bones’ mode!
What do you see as the biggest changes on beach days and are they for the better or worse?