Returning the favour8th April 2006
Over the last two years George has met me for many a day trip in the UK. This weekend was my chance to return the favour, acting as a tour guide for the island of Ireland. My Renault Megane may not have quite the class of George's Mercedes, but it does have one major plus point, namely, my ability to afford to insure it. But I digress. As luck would have it, a twenty minute queue at the Tesco fuel station meant I was late arriving at Dublin airport, just in time to see a Ryanair plane fly almost overhead. Little did I know that the flight from Birmingham was in fact running a little late too, and that I had just seen it pass. Parking at the airport was quick and efficient (though given what it costs it'd want to be). I had to wait no more than five minutes in arrivals before George arrived.
Cork is between three and four hours from Dublin, and as we were running well ahead of schedule I decided to pull into Cashel for a little cultural tourism. Any family members reading this will probably be shaking their heads in disbelief at the very idea that I would voluntarily visit the Rock of Cashel, but it's true, I did. It should be noted though that we were only there for about three quarters of an hour; soon we were back on the road heading towards infinitely more important things.
Funderland Cork8th April 2006
First impressions of the Funderland Cork site were of space, or rather, a lack thereof. If one considers the Dublin show to be cramped it is nothing to the arena in Cork, where a large number of rides are shoehorned together into a field behind Parc ui Chaoimh. As we walked into the grounds I ran into John, the marketing manager, cheerful as always and delighted that we'd made the trip.
Rather than enumerate the rides present I feel it more sensible to point the reader at my photographs, which capture what was there pretty well. It was largely the same fare as the Dublin show, the main exception being Extreme, a Technical Park Street Fighter; a spinning ride of the KMG Freak Out/Huss Frisbee variety. I had seen this before in a few places, though never while it was operating, and it was nice to finally try it out. The experience is pretty much identical to that of a Freak Out; the only difference being the visual appearance of the structure.
George has asked me to mention at least in passing the appearance of a new coaster, Gold Mine Express. This is a kiddie ride that made its debut during the St Patrick's Day festivities in Bray a few weeks ago, where I rode it the first time (no trip report, sorry).
Tramore Amusement Park8th April 2006
On the way back from Funderland Cork we decided to go via the amusements on the seafront in Tramore. I was confident before we set out that the rides would not be operating, as it seems to be a summer thing only (though there is no web site, so who knows?). The visit did, however, allow me to document what is there (not much!).
Spin City Carlow8th April 2006
There were no plans to stop anywhere else on the way back to Dublin, but a little way into the drive we caught sight of the unmistakeable colours of a travelling fun fair; more to the point, one not run by the Bird family and thus one with a completely different selection of machines to the fairs I usually document. It was impossible to resist making a brief stop, and while we didn't actually ride anything it was interesting to look around.