Yes, it’s the height of winter, so what better time than to be thinking about your summer holidays.
In 1954, my Mum, along with my Auntie Cathie (Cath Muirhead, who wisnae a real auntie) and her daughter Jeanette headed off to the glamorous surroundings of the Red Island Holiday Camp near Dublin. Of course, it was the fifties, so you had to make your own entertainment.
So here’s my Mum (back row, second from right) and Cath Muirhead (back row, right) partaking in some proper holiday entertainment.
In fact she liked it so much, she dragged me and Dad there in about 1968.
And here we are, partaking of a delicious repast in the tropical climes.
This was my one and only furrin holiday. The Red Island Holiday Camp Hotel was 18 miles north of Dublin, on a series of islands, linked to Skerries on the mainland by a bridge. This is postmarked 1967.
Sadly you won’t be able to enjoy the sunny splendours of the Irish Sea for yourself as it is long demolished.
“Red Island was an Irish holiday camp established by Eamonn Quinn in 1948 as a family-run business, similar to that of Butlins. The camp was located on Red Island in Skerries, North County Dublin and offered a range of facilities typical of holiday camps at the time including 250 rooms accommodating around 500 guests weekly. During it peak activity in the 50’s and 60’s, it employed over 110 people and in 1954 made a profit of £12,000. Most of its guests came from England (mainly the North) with the remainder from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Martello tower there was purchased by Eamonn Quinn in 1950 who converted it into living quarters for his family in which they lived during the holiday camp season, May to September.
From the late 60’s the camp went into decline facing competition from cheaper holiday destinations abroad and the Troubles in Northern Ireland also caused a substantial drop in visitors from the UK. The camp closed in the early 1970’s and lay derelict until it was demolished in 1980. Incidentally, the large ballroom at the camp became a popular venue for pop and rock groups in Ireland during the early to mid 1970’s, featuring bands like Horslips and Thin Lizzy.
The Red Island holiday camp was situated on the peninsula around the Martello tower. Later, the site was partially developed for housing and the remainder was laid out as a public park.”