By Dan Walsh
It was a busy Sunday September afternoon in Kilmore Quay today where the weather was calm and fine, the car parks were at capacity, wide open doors and doorstep views from several camper vans with a postcard view of the Saltee Islands, and face coverings and social distancing were second nature. The beauty of the seaside was rarely better illustrated.
The fishing boats were tied up at the quayside, but the presence of rod fishers off the quay and the arrival and departure of boats taking anglers out to the rich fishing grounds offshore were in industrious mode. Some pleasure craft were making the best of what is left of the better weather before the winter storms arrive!
Others were content to stroll on the quayside, sit and admire the peaceful surroundings, while the queues for ice cream at one premises extended well onto the village roundabout, and others longing for fish and chips were orderly in waiting and taking the time to enjoy local produce fresh from the sea.
Writing in 1885, George Henry Bassett, discovered Kilmore Quay. He wrote; “Kilmore Harbour is not all that it could be made by a liberal expenditure of money, but its pier is of great service to the fisherman.” He also noted that Ballyteigue Bay had miles of sand banks ‘all of which are occupied by rabbits’!
Bassett also mentioned St. Patrick’s Bridge, a causeway of large stones, fully thirty feet in width, and extending about a mile from the shore. A large rock near the shore, and close to the bridge, bears an imprint resembling a hand, and folklore recalls that St. Patrick rested his hand upon it on the way to the Saltees. Today, the light and the tide were in good mood and the path of St. Patrick’s Bridge was clearly visible.