I was out for a walk with my Mum and my sister recently in Tyrone when we veered of the road a mile or so from my home place and turned right into a pot-holed laneway. Under overhanging trees and foliage the path meandered past an old disused farmhouse twisting downhill to run alongside a rambling brook. In my childhood days this shady place was referred to as ‘the orchard.’ The Ash and the Sycamores, the curves of the road and the trickling sound of the water took me straight back to long sultry summers spent exploring.

“Gosh, I remember spending whole days here!” I said, thinking out loud. Mum laughed and said, “More like whole summers! When the holidays came you all just disappeared.”

And it was just like that. We roamed for hours, taking some fruit and a book with us, and only returned home in time for tea. Of course there were other days that were more structured—we spent those days shaking hay, turning turf and picking gooseberries to make jam. Sometimes round the twelfth, if we were lucky, we got to stay for a week in a caravan in Donegal. Ghee, that was stuff that dreams where made of!

While walking with Mum I couldn’t help but compare my children’s summer holidays to my own. As much as your kids will say that they can’t wait for summer, the words “I’m bored,” will inevitably slip from their lips – sometimes sooner than you think! While children do enjoy the freedom that comes with the summer months, nowadays they seem to need more structure to their fun. Summer camps are the order of the day but they don’t last all day long nor do they do B&B so in next week’s column I am going to draw up a long list of ideas for all you children and teens that get bored easily and to prevent the adults from tearing their hair out. Instead, they can cut out the list, pin it up and pick something to do when the ‘I’m bored’ lamenting starts. Until then, here is a short list to get you started:

  1. Log on to for a list of events for the summer, pick a few events and attend.
  2. Visit the Library. Check out a variety of books, audio, and video tapes sure to entertain for several days.
  3. Spend a watery afternoon at the leisure centre (when it’s only weather for ducks and water babies)
  4. Start your novel or memoir. Write a short story or a poem. Go on, you know you want to!

That should keep you going until next week.

Personally, I don’t like the whole of summer to be too structured. I like to hold on to that chilled out feeling that I remember during my summer holidays whether it was a figment of my imagination or not. I also like a little adventure and serendipity to take me by surprise and that only happens usually when you get out and about and go with the flow. We are fortunate were we live—you  need very little to enjoy the summer holidays in Inishowen—but along with the list above here’s a few essentials that I strongly recommend to make it happen and have fun all summer long:

  • A raincoat
  • A pair of walking shoe/boots
  • A back pack
  • A good book (have been told A World of Our Own is a good read!)
  • A few quid for a treat
  • A friend to share the adventure.

Happy Holiday’s however you spend them and keep safe! Don’t forget to check back next week for a long list of summer fun that will keep children/teens from getting ‘bored’ and adults from getting ear-ache.