Category Archives: Holidays

Irish people on holiday

One of the more startling discoveries from RTÉ’s Home documentary series (2007) was an illuminating look at Irish summer holidays from the late 1960s. Fr Peter Lemass presented a report from Ballybunion and talked about people leaving their “factory, farm or kitchen” and coming to the seaside resort to enjoy all the good things it had to offer. However this relaxed and carefree buzz is quickly killed when the tone changes to one of concern. He wonders out loud:

“Do Irish people tend to let down their hair a little too much when they come on holiday?”

Such earnest concern about morality is also reinforced by the parish priest – Fr Murphy – as he sternly dishes out advice to prospective holidaymakers from the presbytery’s garden.

Not one commandment but the whole lot!

(by nlgbbbblth)

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Celtworld: Where mythology met lasers

As a child growing up in Co. Waterford, a trip to Tramore was one of the most exciting things to do with your day. Frittering your 2p and 5p coins away on the slot machines in Freddie’s, eating chips from the Beach Grill on the promenade, playing crazy golf and trying to win a hideous and probably flammable teddy in one of the many fairground stands made for tremendous family fun.

However, in 1992 an entirely new dimension was added to the seaside landscape of Tramore. Built for a rumoured cost of 4.5 million old pounds, Celtworld was the newest, shiniest and most exciting thing to happen to the Déise county since Val Doonican. It was created by a group called Vectovision (possibly the most gloriously Nineties-tech name for a company ever) and was an indoor attraction that had all the latest technology. Boasting holograms, lasers (wow!) and even COMPUTER GRAPHICS, which, looking back, doesn’t really mean anything and is quite vague indeed, the high-tech nature of Celtworld was more than enough to sufficiently boost excitement levels at the time. If 8-year-old me from then could see an iPad now she’d probably pass out.

The interior of the building was decorated with massive Jim Fitzpatrick illustrations, one of which can be seen in the picture on the left. I’d love to know what happened to them. Someone find one for me!

Encased in a gleaming white purpose-built Art Deco structure, Celtworld was a wild, interactive ride through Irish myths and legends. By wild I mean it had the largest revolving theatre in Europe (YEAH! Take that, Euro-jerks!), which spun slowly from one tale to the next, each one brought to life through a mix of screen graphics, moving artwork and animatronic figures whilst we sat agog in 3D glasses. The fact that all of this went down in 1992 means that there is absolutely shag all about it online, so all I have to go on are my hazy memories and a scanned magazine article with a decent amount of photos which is wonderfully optimistic about the whole endeavour (courtesy of Fústar, our glorious leader).

Celtpower! It’s unstoppable! Unless it meets Turtle power.

My strongest memory from the Celtworld experience was being utterly terrified by a giant scary eyeball that emerged from the ceiling and fixed the audience with an unblinking death stare. It turns out that this was part of the tale of Lugh fighting against Balor of the Evil Eye. The scanned magazine article also reminded me of another distressing memory from the snazzy journey through mythology, where during the tale of Cú Chulainn, the warrior is transformed into a monstrous version of himself by the frenzy of battle, which rose up from the ground in front of the screen and menacingly loomed over the squealing children in the audience. The lousy fecker.

He’s no Michael Fassbender, that’s for damn sure.

After the excitement of the theatre section, we were then moved along to the Otherworld, which was a large room with different interactive sections, interspersed with Ogham stones and questions about the stories we had just been told. There was a big tree in the middle that had severed heads dangling from the branches, I remember that if you walked right up to it, the heads (or a staff member hiding with a microphone somewhere) would start talking and say things like “Will you scratch my nose?” which was HILARIOUS at the time. There was also a toadstool you could sit on and have fairy wings light up behind you, to make you one of the sídhe. Somewhere at home there’s a picture of me sitting on that very toadstool, which I’m now determined to dig out of the dusty photo albums, if only to see if it still looks as magical as I remember. Somehow I doubt that it does.

None of your flimsy red and blue lensed 3D glasses here, oh no. Plenty of large doily collars though.

Celtworld closed in 1995 after racking up massive losses, which contrasts pretty sharply with the upbeat and positive tone of the magazine article. It brightly declared that “we have just witnessed the way tourism is going”, “the Celtworlds of this world are the future” and predicted similar attractions opening all over England. Although they couldn’t have been wider off the mark, I remember my brother and I feverishly discussing what our favourite bits of the flashy experience were on the car journey home, having had another brilliant day out in Tramore.

(by Kitty Catastrophe)

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Did it taste just as good then?

It was August 1977.  Elvis was still alive. We were on our annual family holiday and like the previous summer, Duncannon was the location.

Back then a Chilly Willy or L’il Devil was the usual cooling-down tipple for my sister and me; either could be had for a mere 4p. My parents tended to avoid the ice lollies and instead were happy with a Choc Ice or a Brunch.

One day I decided that I wanted proper grown-up ice cream. There was only one problem – the newsagents at the bottom of Duncannon’s main street was sold out of Choc Ices. Instead I was offered this:

The first few bites tasted funny and eating the chocolate exterior was a little tricky as the pieces kept sliding off and on to my t-shirt. But dogged persistence paid off and I got to the end – licking the stick with a sense of accomplishment.

In those formative years holidays abroad were very much the exception and only affordable for a handful of people in the town. Like many others our annual getaway brought us to such far-flung places as Inchydoney, Courtown Harbour, Bundoran and Slea Head. One or two weeks of mostly sunshine, daily strolls from our chalet or guesthouse to the adjoining beach and plenty from the ice cream freezer. Back then HB were the main attraction with the likes of Dale Farm a trivial sideshow. Every summer brought a new marketing campaign, a fresh poster with a mixture of old reliables and some fresh débutantes to keep the customers happy.

1979 saw four new offerings. The anodyne Mini Milk, the clumsy-sounding Frogurt, the delightful Nogger and the marvellously exotic Cornetto. At 20p this was an infrequent indulgence. We hit West Cork that year and the sensible / affordable choice was the plain yet tasty Golly Bar. I was also discovering Enid Blyton around the same time so the wrapper struck a chord with me.

We went back to the same place in 1980. Rain drove us into Clonakility one afternoon and into a newsagents to pick up a new Kalkitos. I had caught the action transfer buzz some months earlier and was eager to add to my collection. But what was this? A new and unusual looking ice cream stared back at me. It was the Hiawatha – a hybrid of lemon, vanilla and chocolate in the style of an Indian headdress. A genius move by HB and from a taste perspective, a most delicious concoction.

We stayed in our own county for 1981 and made the 40 mile trip to Courtown on 15 August. This was to be our destination for three years – a busy spot with a decent beach and an exciting amusement venue.

By now HB added a third variety of Cornetto to the range – the mint option – along with two other popular strawberry-fuelled treats.

Funny Feet: the original Freaky Foot.

That-A-Way was a rich ice lolly that once unwrapped could be utilised as a rude gesture. Until it started to melt about 30 seconds later.

I turned 10 in 1982 so my parents increased my weekly pocket money. Just as well – Jumbo had arrived.

Jumbo was a wallet-buster. It was the most expensive item in the range and retailed at a staggering 50p. But it was amazing – completely encased in chocolate with a sweet oatmeal biscuit underneath that stored a thick slab of vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t the hottest of summers so I was able to exist by forking out for one every two or three days and foregoing other confectionery pleasures.

1983 was a different story – July and August were relentless with sunshine which meant that we were constantly parched. From a financial perspective it was easiest to revert to icepops. Enter Dracula and its “mixed fruit” creation that made for a refreshing shot of citric acid and flavouring.

1984 was another scorcher. Two Tribes went to number one in June. We spend most of July visiting the circuit of beaches in Wexford – Duncannon, Booley Bay, Dollar Bay and Carnivan. Top Of The Pops every Thursday night to see Holly Johnson and co. Two heavy-hitters got added to the range – Fat Frog and Feast – the ultimate chocolate ice cream indulgence. Fat Frogs were marketed with a groovy rock’n’roll advert.

Two Tribes stayed at number one until August. I bought a different version for each of the nine weeks. It was dethroned by George Michael’s Careless Whisper in the UK with Neil’s Hole In My Shoe doing the honours over here. Poor old Nigel only lasted a week at pole position before Two Tribes went back on top.

Three years later and we arrived in Lahinch. Tangle Twisters were the new kids on the block, Golly Bars were still hanging in there while Jumbos had been axed due to poor sales. Inflation had driven the top price to 65p. Spotting a gap in the market, HB decided to launch a luxury cornetto. There were two additional choices – Tutti Frutti and Choco Rico – while the mint version was quietly dropped.

Tutti Frutti was the clear winner – rich, creamy and bursting with er, fruit. The drawback – the aforementioned 65p. But by then I had a proper summer job in a supermarket and could afford one every day if I wanted. However my tastes were changing and the music bug had well and truly gripped me. Ice cream had been supplanted in my affections by vinyl.

Postscript: the answer is “Yes it does.”

The posters and wrappers are taken from Luke Keating’s HB Ice Cream Memories Facebook page.
I urge everybody to “like”. Sincere thanks is extended to Luke for granting permission to use this wonderful collection of memorabilia.

(by nlgbbbblth)

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