The ‘fun and frollicks’ which happened at Boston Donuts will be revealed in a forthcoming article, but for now we will focus on the most unconventional tour across our Fair City.
Joining the Personal-a-Teas contingent was Mr. Ciaran Duffy from a community based inner-city project called ‘Fun Direction’ and an academic party of 16 students and 2 professors from Central Washington University’s School of Physical Education, School Health and Movement. The American academics were here to deliver 6 multi-summer camps for Fun Direction, thus promoting physical literacy for young girls from disadvantaged areas of the city. The objective of Fun Direction is to inspire and guide young girls on a healthy pathway towards lifelong participation in sports and physical activities.
An honourable mention must also go out to the youngsters who joined us on our adventure, too: Sophie (10), Emma (9), Jessica (7) and Theo (7), thus completing the gamut of ‘The Generations’.
After being greeted by the Viking Splash Tour concierge, we were ushered aboard, Odin, our bright yellow amphibious multi-purpose vehicle. (Each vehicle is named after a Scandinavian god / hero). The vehicles themselves are called DUKW’s (commonly known as ‘ducks’) which, were developed by the US Army during WW2 to transport both soldiers and supplies over land and aquatic-terrains. These vehicles are large chunks of impenetrable heaving metal and they are (surprisingly) very comfortable. Essentially, they are the opposite to a Ryanair aircraft. The only similarities being the bright yellow colouration and the introductory health and safety spiel prior to ‘take-off’ (‘A.B.C.D.E.F.’!).
Our tour-guide was Philip (or was it ‘Thomas??’) from the West of Ireland and he used his ‘Connacht Charm’ throughout the tour to keep everyone suitably entertained. Not least his eagle eye for Unsuspecting Celts, Tourist (lost!) Celts and Cappuccino Celts. In fact, all types of ‘Celt’ who needed a good startling from a vehicle full of Atlantic Roaring pseudo-Vikings!
Our vehicle didn’t need any additional encouragement at the ‘startling’ stakes! ‘Go Team’!
The tour started along the northside of St. Stephen’s Green, passing the College of Surgeons, across Aungier / Whitefriar Street, through Bride Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church and down to the northside of the quays. Philip kept the journey engaging with anecdotes of all types (incl. St. Valentine’s Heart and Jonathan Swift) interspersed with historical commentary about The Guinness Family Dynasty, how Dublin (Dubh Linn) came to get its name, the dubious construction developments of an infamous architect named Stephenson at Wood Quay and of course, the Rising of Easter Weekend, 1916.
As the tour continued through the leafy streets of Haddington Road and Beggars Bush we learned of the ‘symmetry’ of Georgian Houses, (the grand-delusions of) their height, their inability to escape the destruction of the aforementioned-developer Stephenson and other interesting anecdotes about the ‘aul coal-shoots’ (representing the Dublin class-divide, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and their respective stays at the Shelbourne Hotel!), all complimented by humorous observations (The Aviva Stadium – is it a rugby ball or a Pringle? – you decide!) throughout. These anecdotes kept the adults interested. The prompting for Viking roars kept everyone in bright spirits. And then came the ‘Splash-part’ of the Splash Tour.
Onwards to Grand Canal Quay, under the historic watchfulness of Boland’s Flour Mill, and the contemporary gaze from the windows of Facebook, Google and the renowned Windmill Lane Recording Studios. After a quick interlude for the application of inflatable apparel for both Odin the Amphibian and its guests we entered the water without a hint of collateral splashing! On such a lovely blue-skied day, it was truly a wonderful experience. Ask any of the kiddies, what their favourite part of the tour was, and they unanimously state: ‘The Water-part’!
Having made a circumference of the quay, including witnessing some baffling modern art, varying skillsets of water skiers and meeting some transient avian companions, we returned to dry land and onwards through the completion of the tour through Merrion Square, Westland Row, Pearse Street and around past ‘The Only Parliament in the World to Vote Itself out of Existence’ and Trinity College.
In summary, the Viking Splash Tour is a very enjoyable and educational experience. It has a unique novelty which really gives the kids a ‘wow!’ factor.
Ciaran Duffy: ‘Great tour. Fun facts about Dublin delivered with a bit of humour… and great craic scaring the various Celts!’
After the Viking excursion, our party headed the short distance to Boston Donuts, Trinity Street, where treats awaited us upon disclosure of our Viking Splash Tour tickets. The Personal-a-Teas Café Community in action!
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