Nell McCafferty is just one of the Irish Times journalists who promoted skateboarding during its early years.
In the late ’70s, Ireland became obsessed with skateboarding. 40 years later, Una Mullaly’s recent article in Irish Times, “The Origins Of Skateboarding In Ireland—’It’s Not a Craze Or a Whim,’” digs through years of columns in the paper and unearths some delightful nuggets. Among the historical factoids: As the once-popular vacation destination Brighton Beach began its steady decline, skaters began to take over the disused beachside turf; when Shaw’s Bridge was completed in 1977, skaters used to bomb the spot all day long; Southeast Belfast’s Newton Park became such a popular skatespot, attracting kids from all over Ireland, the officials basically had to ban it (“Ban This!”).
Nel McCafferty is one of the journalists who supported skateboarding in those early days, and she seemed to be a true skate-or-die homie at heart. She laid out the full manifesto, disputing the commonly held belief that skateboards are just toys (well, they are, but not like THAT) in an op-ed piece titled “The Skateboard Is Upon Us.” In it, McCafferty states that skating “can be as slow and dreamy as going for a bicycle ride…” but “you get an idea of the potential when the shop assistant offers you protective gear to go with it.”
After a lifetime of being taught the well-known American origin story—roller skates on 2x4s, what surfers did when there were no waves, the California drought and the resulting empty backyard pools—it’s so refreshing to read the Irish version of skateboarding’s history. It really puts it all in perspective, especially now that everyone wants a piece of skating before the Tokyo Games.
Read the full article by Mullaly here.