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The Night The Men’s Became Gender Neutral


It was all sparked by artist Toni Smith posting her 2006 take on The Men’s on social media last night…

Fellow Greystonians began to reminisce about this popular hangout spot, and one had a particularly devilish tale to tell.

For Dermot Hackett, a rummage around in the family shed a few years ago brought forth two old wooden signs from that very Greystones beauty spot.

And with them, a whole bunch of questions.

The wooden signs let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that The Men’s was for men, and that the Ladies’ Cove just down the road was for the ladies. Moving to Greystones with her family in 1970, the bould Mary Hackett wasn’t about to take such unsanctioned orders lying down.

Especially when doing the back stroke.

In those days, the difference between The Men’s and what was originally called The Ladies’ Cove was akin to that of Disneyland and Glenroe Open Farm. Sure, didn’t The Men’s have a proper diving board. And a raft floating nearby to help swimmers catch their breath. And have a quick smoke.

The Ladies’ Cove had steps. And a railing.

And so it was that, late one mildly drunken night, Mary and two cohorts (who will remain nameless, and shameless) snuck down to The Men’s with cans of paint boasting just about every colour of the rainbow, and promptly proceeded to gloss over the many Men Only declarations.

And just to be sure, to be sure, they took home the two wooden signs too, hiding them in the Hacketts’ shed. Where, 45 years later, Mary’s bewildered son Dermot came across them.

“For years and years, our colourful handywork was on display down at The Men’s,” chuckles Mary today. “And no one knew who these local Banksys might be.

“More importantly, from that day on, both men and women were jumping off that diving board, and taking a nap on that raft. So, job done…”