It was a beautiful summers day that Monday as we all assembled at the top of the banking overlooking the square.?We were all spotless after having a bath the night before and wearing our best clothes. I said to Micky Bridge, “ Next year I’m getting long trousers.” For now I didn’t care as the excitement was mounting for us children ?Someone shouted from the top of the gate “Here it’s coming”. It was relayed down to the square by several other children strategically placed . “Is it a flat nose wan?” shouted Peter Divin .Again the question was relayed up to the looker-out at the gate.by several children, placed between the square and the gate at the corners of different huts ”Ayee” came the reply.?Up went this loud cheer from us children at the square. We were getting a swanky bus this year instead of the old date wan. This joyous day arrived only but once a year for us, the children of Springtown Camp. The occasion being our annual holiday “the August Monday bus run.” This year it was a long, long trip in to the bargain as we were going to Rathmullen. I had saved 4 bob for myself. I earned it by going messages for Bella . So I was going to have a whopper of a time in Rathmullen with that kind of dosh to spend..I wasn’t going to tell me ma or da because they will probably give me 2 bob to spend also but if they knew I had 4 bob of my own I would get nothing from them…..(you see we learn fast in the camp!!!) .?We all crammed in to the bus. It was packed tight. I remember thinking there must be a 100 people on this bus!!! But who cared? As the bus moved off and headed for the main road the cheering reached a crescendo, with our hands stuck out the windows , all waving to the cows in the fields .?Stanley Colby started the sing song . I can still hear him to this very day. “It’s a long way to Rathmullen, its along way to gooooo. It’s a long way to Rathmullen to spend all our doe”. Song after song was sung as we made our way through Donegal to Rathmullen. Every once in a while the cry went up .”Da I want a pee” from one of the children, “For godsake hold it in. It’s not far now” shouted the ad’s.
"We all crammed in to the bus. It was packed tight. I remember thinking there must be a 100 people on this bus!!! But who cared?"?????????After about what seemed to be about 6 hours the bus pulled up close to the beach.. We finally arrived. We all piled out of the bus and our mothers and fathers led us to a spot on the beach where they rolled out a big blanket for us to sit on . The bags with the cups and tea and sandwiches in them were place beside us . “Do we eat now?” I asked. “Naw, godsake we have only got here . It’s too early. Go and take a dip in the water,” shouted our mother. We stripped and got in to our wee swimming trunks and off to the water we all went. Suddenly the whole camp was in the water having a great time..We watched in amazement as Philip Killen showe d his prowess as a swimmer, swimming on his back side and every way possible.
We watched as he headed for this big rock and we all stood there and watched as he dived in to the water from this great height. Up to this big rock even further up he went. By this time the whole of the beach watched as Phillip dived from this massive height. We applauded as he dived majestically in to the blue waters of Rathmullen beach. It was obvious he was an accomplished swimmer. We played for ages in the water, until we heard this shout. “Come on and get you tea.” We didn’t need to be told twice! As we sat and ate our sandwiches and drank our tea we couldn’t have been happier. ?After our tea we headed up “the town”. This was the highlight of the day as far as I was concerned. I mean I was loaded. As anticipated, my ma gave us all 2 bob to spend. I had the grand total of 6 bob.I had to be the richest boy in Rathmullen that day. I was thinking, first stop was for a big ice cream poke . Jim English , Danny Feeney and myself strolled down Rathmullen’s main street as if we owned it. We hadn’t a care in the world. With the sun on our faces, Springtown Camp was a million miles away from our thoughts. We ran in to Peter Divin ,Stan Colby and Micky Bridge. They told us of this big shop that had everything in it, so we headed for there. Danny Feeney was looking for a guitar. but it must be under 2 shillings!! We entered the shop .Our eyes nearly popped out of our heads. Indeed the boys were right. It did have “everything”.and wouldn’t you believe it up on the top shelf was this bright blue and yellow guitar!!! Danny Feeney nearly fainted when he saw it ”Mister, how much is that guitar up there?” he shouted. “Hold on son. These people are before you”?When it was our turn to be served, the wee kindly man told Danny it was one and sixpence..Danny said, ”Ok, I’ll buy it.” I said to Danny, “It’s not a real guitar.” “Sure I’m not a real guitarist.”he replied. ? I bought a ball,and Jim English bought a mouth organ. As we were leaving the shop Danny turned around and asked the wee shop man. ”Is it tuned?” The man looked at him for a second and said, ‘Of course it is son.” With a nod of his head Danny said,”I thought so.” We were happy we all got what we hoped to get!!! As we walked along happily we got this beautiful sniff that only a fish n chip shop can give. I couldn’t pass it so I bought 3 bags of chips, one for each of us. We tucked in to them as we made our way to the spot where we all agreed to meet. We met all our mothers, brothers and sisters but all our da’s had escaped to the pub.? Suddenly it was time to head to the bus. We boarded the bus, tired but happy. The bus didn’t seem so packed but there was a reason for that. None of the men were on the bus!!!!! All were still in the pub. ?One by one the men filtered back to the bus, some walking steady, some walking unsteady , some staggering!!! Some couldn’t walk at all! Eventually all were present and correct and the bus was on it’s way back to reality and Springtown Camp. .Along the route.the da’s were asking the bus driver to stop as they wanted a pee. ”For godsake hold it in, it’s not far to the camp now” shouted the children back!! Eddie “boy” Moore went round the bus with his cap and everyone threw in money for the bus driver. The beam on the bus driver’s face was as wide as the Foyle on seeing what was in the cap. As the bus arrived in Springtown Camp we disembarked, tired but happy and contented. We made our way to our huts. That was our holidays over for another year. and next year Iwill be in long trousers!!!....