Four years after moving to Dublin, I finally got to go on the Viking Splash Tour. Raaaaaaargh!
For Mary’s birthday, we decided to become tourists in Dublin and splash about on the Viking tour. At €20 per person, the tour is a bit on the pricey side and you learn relatively little compared with some other Dublin tours, but it is good fun for an afternoon. Especially a sunny one like we’ve been having at the end of March 2012.
The tour starts at Stephen’s Green Park, across from Dawson Street where 30 or so people pile onto a boat-like, truck contraption, which we later found out was called a DUKW (pronounced “duck”), but more about that later. After finding out where everyone is from – along with a few customary jokes about Cork people – everyone is taught how to RAAAAARGH & who to RAAAAARGH at (not the guards). Then it’s time to go. Anto, the guide drives a route which took us down Dawson Street, up Dame Street to Christchurch, around St Patrick’s Cathedral, back to Christchurch and across the bridge at the Four Courts, where we broke down. And sat, for about 40 minutes while waiting for a replacement DUKW.
Now that may have been annoying if it had been very cold, or raining but as it was, we were happy to be there. We attracted lots of attention from the other traffic on the bridge but Anto kept the banter going, with us and the taxi drivers passing us. After hearing the story of the DUKW, it is forgiveable that it broke down.
Built by General Motors during the Second World War, DUKWs are amphibious vehicles which were used for beach attacks during the war. These tanks were built by war-time women who had no choice but to go to work while the men were off fighting the war. These phenomenal women were the inspiration for the “We Can Do It” propaganda poster of the 1940s depicting a woman with a headscarf, rolling up her shirt sleeves. This woman is known as Rosie the Riveter, the iconic symbol of factory women during the war. It was the “Rosie the Riveter”s who built many of the 2000 DUKWs which exist. 7 of these drive around Dublin as part of the Viking Splash Tour.
After about 40 minutes, a new DUKW – Freya, turned up and we were on the road again. Down the north quays, across O Connell Bridge, up past Trinity College Dublin and Merrion Square and onwards, down Mount Street, past the Gasworks until we rolled through Ringsend and up to the Grand Canal Dock where a number of guys were waiting to pass us our life jackets for we were going to splash into “the basin” of the Grand Canal Dock. We bobbed about on the water for a while before setting off again, back to Stephen’s Green where the tour ended.
To be recommended!