Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sepia Saturday #190: Long before the Electric Picnic

We are fast approaching the end of August and the annual Irish music festival called The Electric Picnic. Although they may have had a singsong, the picnics pictured here were a long way from electric, but I am sure everyone enjoyed the simple pleasures of a picnic away from the work-a-day world in the company of family and friends.

In the first photo, with the men in suits and ties, the women in dresses, and their tea in china cups, they look as though they are having a lovely time. The small picnic basket belies the the full extent of what had to be packed for such a party. My mother used to laugh about how long it would take them to pack up such things as china plates, cups and saucers, forks, knives and spoons, and a primus stove for heating up the tea. All would be crammed into a large hamper and loaded into the boot of the car. A small basket such as the one pictured here might carry tiny sandwiches and small fresh baked scones with clotted cream.

You can almost hear the voices of the little ones in the second photograph shouting, 'Hurry up, take the photo, the sun is in our eyes'. When they were very young children my father Michael and his brother Patrick enjoyed many picnic trips and holidays at Rush with their Magee grandparents and Magee aunts, uncles and cousins. Although his grandfather Patrick Magee died in 1935, when my dad was only six, and his grandmother Mary Magee died in 1939 when he was ten, my father had wonderful memories of his time with them.

The third and fourth pictures are from the summer of 1949, the first year my mom Mary and dad Michael were courting. Mary was only just 18 and Michael was 20. Occasionally they would 'double-date' with Dad's brother Patrick and his girl. They enjoyed picnic trips to Glendalough, and to their favourite place of all, Ireland's Eye.

Be sure to stop by the Sepia Saturday Blog to see how others have been inspired by the theme photograph, and perhaps you'll be inspired too.

In the foreground my paternal grandaunt Mollie Magee Halpin; Mollie's husband Willie Halpin is pouring the tea. Behind Mollie is Willie's sister May Halpin Daly Barnwell. Next to Willie, the gent in the glasses is May's husband Dick Barnwell. The young fellow drinking his tea is one of the Barnwell sons. (1950s)
The large group of children in the foreground are Magees, with the exception of my dad Michael and his brother Patrick.
My dad is the little boy in the front far left, who looks as though he's being blinded by the sun.
Patrick is the little boy on the right who is turning away from the camera.
The adults shading their eyes are Mollie Magee Halpin and Willie Halpin.
The woman in the back far right is my paternal great-grandmother Mary Dunne Magee.
The man in the background wearing the hat is my paternal great-grandfather Patrick Magee.
Michael (my dad), Mary (my mom), Patrick (dad's brother), and Patrick's then girlfriend whose name I do not know.
Altogether for a picnic at Glendalough.
My beautiful mom Mary when she was only 18,
 taken that first summer at a picnic on Ireland's Eye,
the place that became one of their favourite spots for a picnic.

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