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Magic of Malahide

13th June 2008
Magic of Malahide

Malahide Yacht Club is its own little bit of heaven on a gently sunny spring evening.  From within the friendly bar, it provides a vista of quiet enchantment across its sandy estuary. The last of the flood tide is making, and the view is framed by trees as the shimmering water bubbles past the boats on mooring. Beyond, the lights are twinkling in the marina. The floodlit Cruzzo restaurant in its midst may look glitzy, but it is comfortably part of the picture of a very pleasant place at peace with itself.

It’s comfortable with itself, yet this is the happening place. The clubhouse is right on the heart of the waterfront, with the Sea Scouts’ boat hall on one side, and the tennis and croquet club on t’other. Just across the way is the Georgian splendour of St James’s Terrace, complete unto a Michelin starred restaurant. Along the waterfront nearby to the east is the Grand Hotel, the very personification of a neighbourhood hospitality complex which can function successfully at both local and national level. And a few yards westward, beside the green which fronts the marina, is the centre of the village itself, with good shopping, some friendly pubs, and a classic hardware shop which is cherished by all who use it.


Add to that a couple of churches which look like churches, a railway station that wouldn’t go amiss as the setting for Brief Encounter, a castle with dreaming towers among the trees in accessible parkland with some luscious suburbs snoozing in the sun, and you’d expect a place where little happens. You’d be so wrong. Having got their space nicely sorted, the Malahideans have a prodigious appetite for life, but they’d think it bad taste to make a lot of noise about it.

Part of the energy derives from the airport nearby. Modern Malahide’s growth stems from its vitality, and the pilots and top administrators made their homes in this quiet estuary village which is only a few miles from the airport, yet – very important this – it’s not on the flightpath. So they have all the benefits of the money-machine of aviation, but without the noise.

As the place developed in the 1950s, the number of locally-based boats grew. And in 1957 or thereabouts, the sluices through the long railway viaduct across the estuary were dammed, thereby creating Broadmeadow Water to the westward, the most extraordinary watersports introductory amenity in all Ireland. So by 1958 the new Malahide Sailing Club came into being, sailing on both the tidal estuary on the coast of Fingal, and on the sheltered Broadmeadow.

This year – as Malahide Yacht Club – it is celebrating its Golden Jubilee with a busy season of special events; and with the publication – launched in the clubhouse in April on a classic evening of springtime perfection and promise – of the Club’s history, ‘50 Years of Sailing’, by Graham Smith. It was sent down the ways by David Wilkins, Malahide’s own Olympic silver medallist of 1980. The reception was filled with national and international champions, and renowned cruising and offshore racing types who think of Malahide as home.

They’re all there in the book, with a plethora of photos old and new. What isn’t in the book is a map of the place, nor even an aerial photo. With so many legendary aviators associated with the club, it must be a case of the shoemaker’s children. To understand Malahide, you need some notion of the topography. We can remedy that right here with a panorama. As for the book, it’s E25 from, and highly recommended.
Published in Editors Blog Team

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