Bernie Gough & Henry Power (30 years of slides)

by  Hugh Halpin & Peter McNally
(Skerries Historical Society Meeting – June 2015)

It seems that summer has finally arrived. The sun has made an appearance, skies are blue and temperatures made it into double figures this week! Why, then, was The Bus Bar packed to the rafters last Tuesday when people should have been quaffing their pints in the glow of a glorious sunset by the harbour? The crowd, more than eighty strong, had gathered for the final meeting of Skerries Historical Society before the summer break.

‘Bernie Gough and Henry Power: 30 Years of Slides’ was given by Hugh Halpin and Peter McNally who, beavering away in the Skerries Historical Society archive during the cold winter months, happened on several boxes of slides from the fifties, sixties and seventies. Bernie and Henry seem to have captured the essence of Skerries during this period of change and the presentation proved to be a real crowd pleaser with plenty of audience participation. Some of the slides were readily identified but the greatest fun was to be had when different factions argued over where a particular shot had been taken. And poor Hugh and Peter were taken to task for showing some of the slides back to front!

My personal favourites among the images on display include a shot of the yard behind Clancy’s electrical shop where Bernie Gough used to work. It’s a wintry scene showing a collection of gas bottles huddling together under a blanket of snow.

Another takes us back to a blazing hot summer’s day on a South Strand crowded with cars seldom seen outside of a vintage car rally these days – Wolseleys, Ford Anglias, Austins and Morrises. And then there’s a lovely shot of a small boy in red check trousers kicking a can about in The Square. If anyone knows who this cherub is, get in touch and let us know!

Some of the pictures had stories attached to them – the shot of Alice McGuinness’s cottage on Thomas Hand Street caused a rumble of conversation to roll around the room as people of the right vintage recalled how she was the one to go to to cure you of warts. You would put your warty hand into her letterbox and the miraculous cleansing would surely follow.

I was mystified by a shot of a troop of British cavalry mounted on some very fine horses – just outside Joe May’s. You don’t often see a horse on The Dorn and a whole herd of them, dancing between the parked cars (more lovely Austins and Anglias!) was distinctly weird. Apparently it was not evidence of a dastardly British invasion but a film set – some scenes from the 1966 film ‘Rocket to the Moon’ were shot in Skerries.

Report by Oona Roycroft