• Tayto Park and Ballybunion

    25 July 2021

    Earlier in the summer, I bundled my son Dante into my car and drove across the country of Ireland to Tayto Park, which is a theme park named in honour of Ireland's favourite manufacturer of crisps!! (Potato chips.) That's Dante posing in front of the company's mascot in the second photo, while in the first he poses in front of its famed wooden roller coaster, an imfamous beast of a coaster! Being a big fan of roller coasters, I've been wanting to ride on it ever since the park first opened, and this year I finally got my chance.


    Dante was just about tall enough to ride on the coaster, the first time he's ever been tall enough to go on a proper roller coaster (he's only 6), so I steered him straight towards it as soon as we entered the park, figuring the longer he stared at it, the more worried he'd become. We lined up, boarded after a very short wait... and were off!! Reader, I must tell the truth -- I loved the ride, which is a real bone-shaker, but it left Dante rather terrified, and HE didn't stop shaking for about an hour afterwards!!! I felt pretty bad for a while, like I'd failed as a father on this particular occasion, but once the colour returned to his cheeks, he went on loads of other rides, had a fabulous time, and declared it the Best Day Ever as we were leaving. Redemption was mine!!!! But he didn't go on the coaster again, and when I raised the issue with him during the past week, and asked if he'd go on it again if we returned to the park one day, he thought about it very seriously, then said, "I think I'll wait until I'm 9..." :-)


    The other two photos were taken on the beach in Ballybunion, a place that the Shans have visited many times over the years. In the first, my daughter Gaia wraps up snugly to get dry after splashing around in a rock pool -- black is my favourite colour, but Mrs Shan is a creature of much brighter hues... :-)


    Dante found a dead jellyfish in one of the rock pools, which provoked great excitement and fascination, and the final photo catches them with Bapcia (thier granny) as they conduct a most grave and scientific post mortem...






    Check out the July issue of the Darren Shan newsletter: https://darrenshan.com/news/shanville-monthly


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