Carlingford Festivals & Gymkhanas.
I remember the sports day / Gymkhana in the “Yanks” field on the way over to the “far Pier” with 3 legged races, brawny adults Pitching sheaves of Hay across a high rope between two poles, multi coloured raffle tickets being sold for much longed for prizes, tea, Oriel minerals and iced cakes being served in a tent and just the sheer excitement of all the activity and entertainment.
Then there was the highlight of the “Water sports” taking place on the near pier beneath St. John’s Castle, the “Greasy Pole” pillow fights. How no one got splinters or worse from this activity remains a wonder. Getting on was the greatest obstacle and was the source of much advice, banter and always the source of exciting new vocabulary for the younger audience.
The Pipe Band like the pied piper attracting an increasing throng of followers as it paraded down Chapel Hill, along Dundalk Street, past the Square and on up Newry Street to the outside of the Town hall and to the stage for the street races and activities.
The fancy dress parade on Newry Street packed with adoring parents, colourful & creatively attired parade participants (both willing and unwilling) frazzled but enthusiastic organisers and throngs of amused, bemused but definitely entertained spectators.
I won a prize once dressed up in old Newspapers with the slogan “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”. Mum was delighted, I was mortified!
The Egg & Spoon races, the three legged races and for another highlight of the day, the Bogey Race.
The “Bogey” (home made go karts) of dubious construction, shot down Castle Hill at breakneck speeds, no brakes, lousy steering, scattered spectators and worn out shoes, but what a thrill!.
The slow bicycle race calmed things down a bit with expert contestants and the secrets of softened tyres, skilled braking (for those fortunate enough to have brakes), contorted bodies perfecting the art of tilting bikes and limbs in opposite directions and the thrill of the win! and then Eddie arrived with his ultra modern Triumph bike and wide tyres to conquer all. I’m sure his bike was illegal, it must have been, where were the judges, is it too late to set up a court of enquiry? …..no bitterness there then! I’m joking of course.
It was a great day, everyone knew everyone, we cheered, we jeered, we clapped, we laughed, we loved every minute of it and as soon as it ended we began looking forward to the next year.
Thank you Kevin, for the opportunity and forum in which we can share these great memories.