Then, as now, Skerries was a children’s paradise – both winter and summer. In winter the girl’s most popular game was Hares and Hounds which took us on a cross-country chase.
During some of these forays a common practice was to purloin some unfotunate farmer’s turnips and sit down and eat them with the aid of razor blades. The ballast pit was a favourite haunt for youngsters and many of our adventures took place there. Another winter game was Relievio.
Come Spring, out came skipping ropes and tops; games consisted of ball-beds or a game of hopping the ball against a wall accompanied by different ryhmes or actions. Marbles were most popular, particulary taw-in-the-hole and taw-in-the-ring. The ruins of the old costguard station at the harbour was another popular venue. The old tanks were wonderful places for hide-and-seek. These buildings were cleared away after the war and a park laid out in their place.
Further on, where now is a car park, was Flower and McDonald’s coal yard. The outer walls were white-washed and made a good background for the light-keepers when they stood against them to communicate with Rock-a-Bill by semaphore.
With modern technology and radio communication, it now appears to have been a very antediluvian method and must have been laborious. After having semaphored for some time, the man put down his flags, took up a telescope and looked through it to receive a reply.
Maura Behan (SHS, 1983)