Late last week I saw a post on Facebook showing the transport for a family coaster based in Ireland that I'd not heard of. My interest was immediately piqued, and after some research I determined that the ride in question was brand new and would be opening for the first time at a small fair in Swinford, located approximately 130 miles from my base in Dublin. The opening hours were clearly not designed for those driving half way across the country, but the rides were scheduled to open on Sunday afternoon, and thus Megan and I decided we'd drive there directly after church in the expectation that we'd make it back home in time for dinner.
The fairground was deserted when we arrived after a little over three hours on the road. I promptly logged into Facebook, where I found a post made some fifteen minutes prior to our arrival indicating that opening would be postponed until the evening due to the light rain that was falling. The prospect of waiting over four hours was not exactly enticing, so I sent a polite message to Murray's Funfair asking whether there might be anyone on site who could allow us a quick ride given that we'd driven from the other side of the country. Much to my surprise (and relief!) the response was nearly immediate; "I'm coming down now." Sure enough, a friendly staff member in a high-visibility jacket materialised from a nearby caravan, bringing with him a colleague and some children to add weight to the train.
Caterpillar (#2356) is the latest in a series of travelling Wacky Worms supplied to European showmen by Turkish manufacturer Güven Lunapark. Their increasing prevalence comes from the fact that they can be racked on a single trailer and are somewhat lighter (at 11 tons) than many of the older equivalents. The ride experience is no different to the many other models out there, but despite that we very much enjoyed our six laps in the front car. Afterwards we had a brief chat with the kind man who'd helped us out, talking about the various other coasters travelling in Ireland and explaining our demented hobby. He offered to let us ride again if we wanted but we figured we'd imposed enough for one afternoon!