Mo Laethanta Saoire (My Holidays)


After a 6 month hiatus, the schools are open again, and there’s a very good chance that the first homework assignment will probably be a report on ‘Mo Laethanta Saoire’.

The experieces of the class of 2020 will be different from most other years for sure, but how different will it be to the experiences of their parents, or even their grandparents?

Rain, hail or shine, most of us would have spent our summer holidays outside, whether it was playing football, chasing butterflies, making daisy chains or the much anticipated trip cois fharraige.

The trips to the seaside are usually those we remember most vividly, though not always for the right reasons! How many families went for a swim in the sea together, only to find na faoileáin ag ithe na gceapairí when they returned ashore. How many children were distracted from sand castle building by the array of ainmhithe sna linnte carraige and entranced by the sideways walk of crabs or the waving tentacles of anemones. How many thought they had caught a baby whale when they went ag iascaireacht only to find a giant clump of carraigín at the end of their line. And of course there were many tears when you accidentally stepped barefoot on a smugairle róin.


But the seaside wasn’t the only trip we remember. How many families remember going for a walk together on a Sunday evening, whether it was a hike up Howth Head, a ramble around Killiney Hill, or a stroll through St. Anne’s Park. Finding goose grass (also known as robin-run-the-hedge, cleavers, or ‘the sticky stuff’) in a hedge along the way, provided endless amusement as we stuck it on the backs of others. Of course paying such close attention to a hedge didn’t impress an Dreoilín agus an Spideog for fear you’d find their nest. Their warning calls and demonstrations meant you weren’t far away from a nest yet the thorns of an Dris and the stinging leaves of an Neantóg kept little hands at bay.

And in the many parks and open spaces, we delighted in finding a Bóin Dé and counting its spots, or using a small fishing net to catch Féileacáin of all different colours, while a patch of féar fada was a perfect hiding place in a game of ‘hide and seek’. And for the more adventurous, a good tree to climb was always a great find and provided hours of entertainment, though falling from one wasn’t very pleasant!


So what are your favourite summer saoire memories like? Do they include foreign holidays and playing computer games, or do they include something níos simplí? The smell of fresh cut grass, the taste of warm lemonade on a family picnic, running away from bumblebees, chasing fairies (the seed-heads of caisearbháin), trying to catch those elusive grasshoppers or feeding the ducks at a local park.

Have a think about it. You might surprise yourself with how much you remember about mo Laethanta Saoire. And even more surprised when what you remember best are the simple things.


Mo Laethanta Saoire –My Holidays; Cois fharraige – Seaside; Faoileáin – Seagulls; Ceapairí – Sandwiches; Ainmhithe – Animals; Linnte carriage – Rock Pools; ag iascaireacht – Fishing; Smugairle róin – Jellyfish; Dreoilín – Wren; Spideog – Robin; Dris – Briar/ Bramble; Neantóg – Nettle; Bóin Dé – Ladybird; Féileacáin – Butterflies; Féar fada – Long Grass; níos simplí – More simply; Caisearbháin – Dandelions.

Thanks to Shane Casey for this thought provoking article on summers past and present.