Heydays and Holidays Exhibition Opens at Down County Museum
A new exhibition focusing on holidays and the development of seaside resorts in County Down opened today, Friday 7 June at the Down County Museum. ‘Heydays and Holidays’ takes us back to the days when local seaside resorts saw an influx of thousands of visitors every summer.
County Down towns such as Newcastle, Bangor and Warrenpoint were ideally placed, both in terms of natural beauty and in facilities, to be the favourite destination of people from Belfast and beyond who were seeking an affordable and easily reached place to enjoy their free time.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Terry Andrews said, “This exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the history of our local seaside resorts and shows how important tourism has always been to our area.
“A visit to the exhibition is also a wonderful opportunity to revisit the memories of holidays and days out we all enjoyed and is a great day out for families of all ages. I would encourage everyone to come along and enjoy ‘Heydays and Holidays.’”
The display traces the development of these resorts from their beginnings as ‘healthy’ places for people to recuperate from illness to the mass tourism destinations of the 1950s and 1960s. Part of the exhibition examines the way the growth of the railways and the popularity of sea bathing saw these resorts grow and prosper with dozens of hotels, boarding houses, dance halls and amusement arcades built.
The local seaside resort went into a period of decline with the advent of cheap flights, and accessible, low cost sunshine resorts in Spain and further afield. Today, with the popularity of the ‘staycation’, concerns about sustainability and the effect of air travel on the environment, the local resort is enjoying a new period of popularity.
The exhibition offers a wealth of detail on the history of places such as Newcastle, Warrenpoint and Bangor with many objects, photographs and documents on display.