Reported in the News Letter on December 27, 1958: Record Christmas for Ulster’s seaside hotels

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Though Christmas continues to be the traditional “home festival”, records were broken on Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year in hotels at Ulster seaside resorts.

In Portrush, Portstewart, Newcastle and other watering places, some hotel managers reported that they could have dealt with twice as many guests if the accommodation had been available.

There were visitors from England and Scotland, and a large number from Eire. Many parties travelled from Belfast. All the Christmas Night and Boxing Night dances in the hotels were well patronised.

The manager of a provincial hotel said: “I have no figures available, but I am convinced we have had a record turnover this Christmas.”

It will be “business as usual” in many shops throughout the Province today. Thousands of shop assistants return to work after the holiday. Grocers, bakers, butchers and others in the food trade are expecting a brisk trade as housewives replenish their stocks for the weekend.

Banks, too, will be open in the morning.

Several big shops in Belfast begin their winter sales today. Large crowds of “bargain hunters” are expected.

For the stay at home families, there were all the traditional entertainments. Thousands in Belfast visited the circus and the pantomime, as well as the other theatres. All reserved seats were sold. There were long queues at downtown cinemas.

There was one drawback. Heavy rain in the evening drenched people waiting in queues for buses to take them home from theatres and cinemas.

The churches throughout the Province which held special services on Christmas Day were well filled.