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Making a splash

I have done many sightseeing tours around Europe and South America, but none as unique or exhilarating as the Viking Splash Tour. I've been living in Dublin for a number of years and I had often seen the Ducks (which is how the amphibious Dukws vehicles are known) around town.

The Ducks troops wear Viking helmets and tear around the city roaring at pedestrians – everyone except the gardai. That is not allowed.

The first time it happened to me, I got a fright, but now I'm so used to it that I smile and wave back.

While I was waiting for the trip to start – it goes roughly every 30 minutes – I talked to two girls from Sweden who had just got off the Duck.

They were unanimous in their praise: "It was great! We loved it."

whipped

Starting on the north side of St Stephen's Green, the Viking Splash Tour takes you on a tour around Dublin in a Duck, (they were used during during the Second World War for the D-Day landings in Normandy), to Dublin's tourist hotspots.

On the website, the company advises aspirant Vikings to book in advance to avoid a long queue. This is a good tip, as I had to wait almost an hour to get onboard.

I would have waited even longer, if a kind lady hadn't allowed me to gatecrash her son's eighth birthday party.

She said: "If you are brave enough to face the noise, of course you can come."

There were around 17 very excited children and our driver/tour guide Jerryo whipped up them even more.

He asked us to lean over on our right side to help the Duck to start off and I have never seen so many children willing to do what they were told at once.

"Come on, old truck," I overheard one of them saying.

As Jerryo drove off, telling us stories about the places we were passing – Christchurch, Trinity College, Oscar Wilde's birthplace – I realised that there is always something new to learn about Dublin.

And the tourists around the city seem to love seeing the Viking Splash tours – they wave, take photographs and yell back in reply.

The Viking Splash tour lasts about one hour and 20 minutes – seven days a week – with the first departure at 10am and the last at 5.30pm – and takes place in all kinds of weather.

The Duck is open-sided, but if it's raining, don't worry, there are rain ponchos on board.

The highlight of the trip, of course, is going into Grand Canal Harbour – don't forget, these are amphibious vehicles. And pretty soon the children were asking: "When are we going into the water?"

As we approached the Grand Harbour the children got terribly excited.

Some were a little nervous: "But I don't know how to swim," yelled one little girl.

There was another little girl, Katie, whose eyes were quite apprehensive while we were putting our life jackets on. When I asked if she was alright, she just nodded.

When the Duck hit the water it was worth the wait. Everyone onboard was screaming with excitement and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

bumpy

You won't get wet when the truck goes into the Harbour, yet I would recommend a nice warm jacket. Though it was a warm day, it seemed much cooler during the 10 minutes we were on water.

Getting out of the water was another adventure. Jerryo said that we should "hold on tight because sometimes it gets bumpy".

It did get bumpy as we were trying to get out. He turned the engine off and the truck went backwards into the water again.

The children were yelling "Hurray!" and I heard a little girl saying: "Oh gosh, this is such fun,"

It certainly was.

An adult ticket costs €20. A child's ticket (3-12) is €12. A family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) is €65. www.vikingsplash.com


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