Sands of time run out on childhood innocence

SHINING sands long sanctified by the bucket and spade forever sullied now by the blood of a gangland execution: the recent events on Mornington beach in Co Louth were for me the final shattering of an early childhood idyll.

Mornington: what an inspired placename.

Boarding the sweet oil-smelling GNR bus with our mother in Drogheda’s Bull Ring in the 1940s, we bumped along that three-mile journey to our very own shimmering wonderland, there to hop delightedly barefoot on sand and shells, build castles of the imagination, paddle and bathe at the water’s edge, jump down the sandhills, and then picnic on gritty sandwiches of egg and tomato.

Happily returning home, we slept the sleep of the blessed.

As the familiar images of Mornington’s lighthouse and tower and dunes flashed up on the TV screen a week or so ago, they bespoke a lost world.

Oliver McGrane

32 Marley Ave

Rathfarnham

Dublin 16

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