Twenty years on

Mar 24th, 2008 | By | Category: Personal Columns

Climbing the path to the Hell Fire Club on the edge of the Dublin mountains this afternoon, I remembered an Easter Monday outing in 1988 – a drive from Newtownards in Co Down to Cootehill in Co Cavan, to visit a friend who was in his first year of ministry. It was a time when one of our close friends was an excellent amateur photographer and prompted us to take a camera everywhere. My pictures were rubbish, but we do have a pictorial record of the time.

Easter Monday 1988 1

The journey required crossing Belfast to reach the motorway west and on the Newtownards road we ran into a single Orange band heading off to a parade somewhere. No-one was watching, except those of us sitting in the cars behind them.

Easter Monday 1988 2

There have always been differences in prices on either side of the border and the stop at the Spar shop on a border road in south Armagh must have been prompted by a desire to save money on something. Even at a shop with one petrol pump, Four Star fuel was only £1.73 a gallon, 38 pence a litre.

Easter Monday 1988 3

There are still a few of the old road signs to be found. In 1988 they were widespread – they were often more a poetic composition than a definite source of information, the direction of the fingers being frequently adjusted.

Easter Monday 1988 4

Mark, our friend, stands in his Rectory drive with Katharine – and our dog Maeve. I had completely forgotten we used to take the dog with us when we went to places.

It’s amazing how much you forget in twenty years.

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  1. Ian

    You had me worried for a minute. I thought you were going to tell us the Band led the way for the whole journey!

  2. As I said before the older you get the more the memory plays tricks, the short term memory gets worse and things tat happened many years ago can be recalled with amazing clarity

  3. Interesting conversion on the Austin Metro in pic 2 suspect it was for a wheelchair user. Fuel is not so expensive after all!!, It is now 3x what it was then (@38p) now its £1.15, salary is now 4x what it was then!!!!!

  4. Peter is so right. I can barely remember what I did last Saturday but when I was 21 . . clear as crystal! I love the photo with the side mirror. Very clever and I bet you didn’t even realise! And you’re right about the sign post . . confusion plus! Is Fishing a town or an activity?

  5. Grannymar,

    Can you imagine an Orange band walking in a straight line the whole day? 😉 I have seen fellows returning from the Field covering as much ground sideways as forwards!


    What did you say?


    My spam filter took exception to your comment and I had to rescue it – it mustn’t like Austin Metros


    Fishing is a state of mind!

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