We enjoyed our first flight in a plane with propellers, jets not having been invented then as far as I know. The pilot or his ‘deputy’ gave us a running commentary on the weather and what we were flying over and also sent round a flight report for each passenger ‘with the compliments of the Captain’. So we knew when to look down on Stranraer, the Mountains of Mourne (and saw that as the song says, they do sweep down to the sea) and so on. All very homely and friendly. We also were given a booklet about Ireland and Aer Lingus with the Captain’s autograph on it. We kept all our tickets, etc., and put them in a scrap-book which I have beside me now. The menu shows that we splashed out 1/- (one shilling = 5p) for two glasses of squash!
Bray was a lovely place with lots of sandy beaches and surrounded by beautiful scenery. We enjoyed walking along the prom and climbing up to Bray Head, and in our evening walks covered a fair bit of the town. We didn’t sit on the beach although we did sit on the prom in the evening, just looking at the sea and the lights, and paddled a few times to help our weary feet after a long evening walk. We wanted to see more of Wicklow so did several afternoon and evening bus tours. All were great, but our favourite was the one that went south to the Wicklow Mountains and spectacular scenery. We had a day in Dun Laoghaire (Dun Lairy) which was well worth a visit. We had already had a brief stop there on one of the tours and needed time to see more of it.
Forgot to say we climbed up Nelson’s Pillar in Dublin, more than 160 steps but worth it for the great view of Dublin and surrounds. I can’t remember what we did with our luggage but we certainly didn’t carry it up there! One night we went to the local Little Flower Theatre and saw the play Flat to Let, which was very good. We had arrived in Bray in the middle of a thunder and lightning storm – not that we were bothered, we had our plastic macs and didn’t mind the rain. We did have rain as well as a lot of sunshine, but most of the rain fell that afternoon and evening.
In the St Enoch Hotel we had supper in our room, via room service, and breakfast sent up in the morning. I can’t remember us having any lunch in Dublin during our long walkabout, probably just tea and a scone. Just as well because we were now in a land of plenty! Our tea that night was bacon, eggs and chips followed by homemade bread and superb cheese and scones and cake. A typical daily menu at the Kinvara Hotel in Bray was:
Breakfast – Corn Flakes, bacon and eggs, or scrambled eggs and toast.
Dinner – Chicken soup, chicken or roast lamb with all the trimmings and apple Charlotte.
High Tea – Cold ham and salad followed by the cheese, scones and cake.
As well as all that we got a ‘supper box’ at night, and packed meals if we were going a trip and missed dinner- we were on full board and our bill when we left was £19.4/-. The St Enoch Hotel night cost £3.5/6. Perhaps about £400 in present currency. Unfortunately we were neither of us able to eat us much as our hosts expected! We both put on weight and I blamed the Golden Vale Cheese.
The view from our bedroom was spectacular: we looked out over the bay where there were fairy lights all along the way. One bus run I remember was Mountain and Coast. Wicklow was called the Garden of Ireland and it lived up to the name. Ennisferry, Killiney Hill and all the other places we went to were great, and somewhere we saw what was the smallest harbour in Ireland. We had our supper in Dun Laoighaire and saw the Sugar Loaf Mountains on the way back. Saturday was a wet day so we toured the shops and bought some small souvenirs. I still have two ‘Bray’ cups and saucers and sugar bowl and milk jug. We had some lovely wee glass animals, but over the years they gradually were broken. The last survivor broke a leg just a few years ago – the elephant – and that was the end of them.
We had a walk in the rain after our dinner and the plastic macs came in handy. We had found the Methodist Church on one of our walks and attended the morning service on Sunday. The Minister was nice and the folk were all friendly. According to our notes, after a large lunch I had a nap and John wrote a letter home. After tea we strolled out and watched a Swimming Gala. If I could decipher the notes we wrote I could write more now. The ink is faded and the scribble is small! A paddle boat is mentioned and deck chairs. We had a moonlight walk along the seafront after a bus run.
Looking back after 59 years it all sounds pretty tame, doesn’t it? But we didn’t think it was. John’s comment at the end of the page is ‘A great holiday and a wonderful experience’. I can’t quarrel with that. Being together in a Hotel, sharing a room and, dare I say it, a bed, was indeed a great experience. It was years before I actually got over the wonder of us sleeping together! As the hotel ‘boss’ said when some bits of confetti fell out from the pleats of my going away outfit when I wore it on Sunday morning, ‘Aah, there’s nothing like a little bit of love’.
On Thursday evening we packed our cases. Friday we had a good walk in the morning, and after lunch said a fond farewell to the staff who had looked after us so well. The train took us to Dublin and we had 3 hours there so were able to have another sightseeing walk. I wish I could remember where we left our cases! We set off for the Airport about 7pm. It was a sunny evening and a lovely flight. We got home to George Square about 11.20 pm to stay with my Mum and Dad till we had to set off again for our new home and our new life together.