Featured Story — June 24th 2021
The Glorious Smell of
Chlorine & Salt Water
Summer weekends when it did not rain my Dad would load me and my friends into the back of his Hillman Hunter and we would head for Blackrock Baths. We squashed in together with our togs and rubber swimming hats, the chin straps dangling from the tightly rolled up towels, firmly under our elbows. A melody of chatter and glee wafting out the open windows.
The swimming teacher held out a long wooden pole and you had to catch it while learning to swim in the shallow pool at the baths.
Loved Dun Laoghaire baths as a kid especially when it was a day outing with my Mother and my friends. There was always a picnic, banana sandwiches, salt and vinegar chips and red lemonade, always tasted so good after getting out of that cold water, wrapped in a towel and shivering uncontrollably.
I remember those days in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. My late sister Betty was a prominent member of the Otter Swimming club based at Dun Laoghaire Baths. Her friends from what I can remember were Rory O’Sullivan, Mervyn McIntyre, Edna Cruise and-she later married Mervyn. I used to hang out at the baths with Val Demery, Norman Wood and Toby Farrrel. Val Demery was a great diver and mixed with the likes of Eddie Heron who was Ireland’s Champion High Board diver.
Only thing I remember of the Dun Laoghaire baths is the green soggy carpet in the changing rooms and the cartoon characters painted on the walls. And the slides of course. But that was the 80s so I don’t think the outdoor baths were used anymore by then.
I swam in Dun Laoghaire Baths all the time, at least twice a week, and during the summer every single day.
Catherine Ann Murdiff
Cabinteely, Co Dublin
Ann Kennedy remembers the baths from circa 1959-1970’s during which time the Otters Swimming Club was a flourishing entity. She and her sisters, Margaret and Louise, spent all of their summers there and loved it.
The baths were popular in good weather. I remember people with towels and togs rolled up, the latter often made of wool. l seem to remember diving boards there. l could not yet swim so l clung to the side of the pool. l remember lots of noise, splashing, shouting, laughter and excitement.
Spent my childhood summers there, my mother would save the sixpence to get in and would bring the neighbours children too, she would sit knitting while we swam, even if the weather was cold.
Pamela King Kearns