Posted by JDP on October 24, 2000 at 10:24:25:
In Reply to: The diving board posted by murrisk on September 30, 2000 at 03:21:19:
Yes I remember. I presume that at some time in the past there was a wooden plank between those two steel girders that projected from the top of the concrete platform. We gazed up at the slight figure of Mickey Guthrie as he inched his way along to the end of the girders, slowly he turned to face Croagh Patrick and with both arms by his sides would spring off and break the water with his head. We would then scan the surface to see where he would resurface which of course was always where you would least expect.
A great number of Castlebar people remember with fondness this uniqe man who gave so much of his own time to teach children to swim.
I was taught to swim at the "board" in the early 60`s by a Dublin man called Jack Donnelly R.I.P.
Jack was sent by the Red Cross which at that time had responsibility for teaching swimming and water safety around the country. He was like a father to us, a real Dub, and for the two weeks of the summer he lodged with Mrs. Roseingrave R.I.P. in Newtown. We would meet him in Newtown every morning and with towel and togs under my arm he led us down Brett`s boreen, over the wooden bridge ( beside where the Hat Factory discharged all it`s waste into the river) and up to the board, all the time patiently answering questions
only kids could ask. There are two people who were saved from drowning at that time by Jack - Sean Kenny and Maureen Hunt both of Marian Row. Sean was towed by Jack from a distance of about 30 m out from the shore.
I had the pleasure of meeting him in Dublin in the early 70`s and he genuinely fondly reminsced about the summers he spent teaching swimming in Castlebar.
They were idyllic summers and I recall regular swimmers at the board- from Main St. came Anthony,Hillary and Veena Kelly; Margaret and Phena McEllin and of course Skinty when he was around. From Westport Rd. came Johnny and Mickey McCormack, Ken and Noel Ford. Also Kieran Downes, an adventurer with mask and snorkel.From the Avenue came Irene Denning, Mary Basquill, Paraic Geraghty, Tommy and Annette Rothery plus the curly canine Bonso, Joe Earls, and Chas Guthrie. From Newport Rd. Skipper McGough, Liam Egan, Joe and Ivor Hamrock. Chapel St. Paddy Duffy.From Marian Row, Davy Gilligan.From Newtown, Breen Hoban. From Ellison St. Iarla Mongey who taught lifesaing classes on hehalf of the Red Cross.
Who remembers the cleric from Rock Square (? Kelly) with his unique stroke - overarm action and breastroke kick.
Who am I missing. Many no doubt.
On Reek Sunday in 1966 the council opened a 40*20 ft. family sized outdoor pool at St. Bridget`s Crescent for the kids of the town. The opening ceremony was performed by Ronny Delaney! ( this is true ) The first swimming teacher was the late Anne Durcan from Main St. An exhibition instruction class was made up of James Cahill, Pat Heraghty, Breen Hoban, Tom Fitzgerald, Paraic (Scacky) Cresham and Davy Gilligan. The pool was three and a half feet deep and despite the chaos created by hundres of kids using a family sized pool many became good swimmers.
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