Among other summer pastimes was watching the swimmers at the Captains and the Springboards. It was not until I was 14 years old that I ventured in to either of these places. Discrimination against women was at its worst at that time, for the men were permitted to use the facilities for most of the day – two periods being allotted to women: 11.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 3.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. There was always much grumbling among the female swimmers over this blatant discrimination but the men maintained that the women had the best parts of the day.
In order to keep the males and females segregated and to see that the times were adhered to, the S.D. & V.A. employed a caretaker. He was Albert Fullerton who took his job very seriously and looked resplendent in a sailing cap and a navy sweater that proudly bore the inscription S.D. & V.A. (Skerries Development and Visitors’ Association).
He was stone deaf but that did not deter him from carrying out his duties enthusiastically which often entailed his going in, when it was time for the women to take over, and throwing various male garments over the wall on to the rocks outside. All this went on amid cheers from the girls who sat in groups on the rocks yelling encouragement to Albert in his eviction duties, even though he couldn’t hear them.
It was all great fun and everybody took it in good part. People must have been made of sterner stuff then for all swimmers scorned the use of a towel to dry off after coming out of the water.
Maura Behan SHS 1983