St Patrick’s Foot

The visitors who came to Skerries when it prided itself on being a family seaside resort, were what we call middle-class people, a distinct step above buttermilk. The reason is not hard to see. Working class people could not afford holidays as they can now. Skerries as a resort was sometimes east-windy but always west-endy. It was the visitors themselves who founded Skerries as a seaside resort and not the natives, although they were its beneficiaries rather paradoxically.

The place we call the Springboards, because it used to be fully equipped with diving boards, was traditionally called The Foot. Whose? You may ask. St. Patrick’s, of course. The impress of his foot can still be seen on a rock there, which we have jealously guarded over the years.

If we wish to commemorate a person of distinction, we usually place a plaque at some spot associated with him with an appropriate inscription. That would be useless in an illiterate age, so some other way had to be found. The way was to carve an imprint of his foot at some place where he stood and it was adopted by our ancestors, nobody knows when. It is true that there is a similar footprint of the National Apostle somewhere in Co. Antrim, a place also traditionally associated with the Saint who was our first and greatest visitor.

I sincerely hope that The Foot will be preserved for future generations, unimportant as it may seem to some. It is part of our history.

Paddy Halpin [SHS, 1994]