To many of today’s people, the Gibraltar Rocks (co-ordinates 54.27860 -8.513484) is a somewhat undesirable, perhaps dirty place, it is in fact a small outcrop of rocks situated on the side of a minor road, with very little to entice people into spending any time there.
Yet forty or fifty years ago, the Gibraltar Rocks was one of Sligo‘s premier seaside attractions, where families would go for a day out, for a picnic or for a days safe swimming in the outdoor sea-water swimming pool.
How times have changed. Now, in the twenty first century, the Gibraltar Rocks is a rundown, neglected place on the side of the road. A place which people pass by quickly on their journey somewhere else. An insignificant place on the side of a minor road which most people use as a short-cut to avoid the traffic in Sligo Town.
This dramatic change in the fortunes of the Gibraltar Rocks was brought about solely by the affordability of the motor car.
In its heyday forty or fifty years ago, the Gibraltar Rocks was a vibrant bustling seaside area which was frequented every summer sunday by large numbers of families who went out for a picnic, swimming or just for a day out.
At that time, very few people could afford a motor car, so the only way of getting to The Rocks, as they were effectionately known, was to walk.
Today, if you want to get to the Gibraltar Rocks, ironically, it is best to travel there by motor car.
To get there, drive out the road towards Strandhill, pass straight through two sets of traffic lights, then take the next road to the right, which is signposted Aylesbury Park.
Drive a few hundred yards until you come to a sharpish right hand bend, after which you will find yourself driving right behind the sea, after another fifty yards or so, there is another corner to the right, park on the left at this corner and take a walk around the rocky outcrop, after a minute or so, you will see the remains of the sea-water swimming pool and the concrete seats moulded into the concrete sea wall.
It’s nothing much to look at in this day and age, but in its heyday, it was THE place to go, and to be seen, on a sunny sunday afternoon.