My first recollection of caravanning was with my parents in 1955, some of the best memories are travelling along the South and West Coasts of Ireland, were, where one could just pull into a lay-by, use the a corner of a field,(with permission of course), or park at a harbour or even on a jetty , for an overnight stay, as at that time there were very few Caravan Sites available.
When my parents joined the Caravan Club, it opened up the chance to stay in all sorts of places, and with friends made at the rallies, life seemed to revolve around the caravan and weekends away.
The outdoor life continued, when Ruby and I purchased our first caravan in 1973, which was affordable to us, but proved not to be the best of buys. After a bit of a re-build under a tarpaulin over the following winter, we had a few weekends away in it before we ventured as far as St. Tropez in 1974 for our Summer Holidays.
In 1976 we joined the Ulster Centre of the Caravan Club, and I was elected to the committee in 1977, and stayed on it for 18 years , being Treasurer from 1984 to 1986, Vice Chairman from 1988 to 1991, Chairman from 1992 to 1994 and Irish Division Chairman from 1994 to 1995. Member of the Club Council from 1988 to 1995 all of which, looking back seems to have gone in a flash.
During this time, the majority of our summer holidays were spent in France while the children were still at school, both with other Club members and on our own.
Some of the greatest pleasures was running the centre’s New Year Meets from 1988 until 2003. Parking the caravans up, and having a good party, makes for a special recipe, especially when no driving is involved. Visitors from Scotland and Wales added to the mix, and for any member that joined in the Irish National Easter Concerts, organized by the three centres in the past, just reading this line is bound to raise a smile or two on their faces!
We are now with our 7th caravan, and are still actively involved with the centre, by running a week long summer holiday rally, jointly, with members from the Leinster Centre, regardless of the time and effort it takes to organize, it is still good fun.
Ruby and I would recommend this type of past time to anyone, who would enjoy getting away from it all for a short while. Spending a weekend, where most people can only spend a few hours during the day, in all sorts of surroundings, adds to the pleasure, and helps relaxation.
But the best part of caravanning is that friendships made on the rally field, are friends for life, and hopefully we will meet up with you someday, either on a Rally Field or Caravan Site.