We went to Tayto Park on Sunday with the cousins. It’s an attraction park built on the enduring appeal of the crisp and the place of the potato in the Irish psyche.
When we arrived, it was lashing. We stopped in a petrol station on the way and I said to the woman behind the counter that we were going to Tayto Park. She put her hand up to her mouth and said “Oh my God.” It was that kind of rain.
As we ran from the car to the entrance in the wettest kind of rain the Princess skipped sideways encouraging us on shoutinge:
‘Charge, Chester, charge!/on, Stanley, on!’/Were the last words of Marmion.
It was very appropriate and all that but did give me a slight shock. “Are you quoting from Marmion?” “Yes, obviously.” Obviously. I have subsequently discovered that she regularly uses many of the lines from Scott’s epic poem:
Heap on more wood! the wind is chill;/But let it whistle as it will
Something she says often and a line that I really like myself especially at this time of year. I had thought vaguely that it was Frost.
And then she knows these couplets about young Lochinvar:
O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
And it turns out that this line she is fond of is from Marmion as well:
And darest thou then/To beard the lion in his den
“Are you doing Marmion in school,” I asked (improbable, you will concede). “No, I just know it, I don’t know how, just from reading, I suppose.” She continues to surprise.
After the first half hour, miraculously, the weather improved and Tayto Park’s various attractions were sampled, including a terrifying zip wire that only herself went on. I had to go with the boys around a sky walk which did not look terrifying but really was. The boys and I went on level 1 but herself went on level 2 and pronounced it unscary. Isn’t it well for her?
There was a haunted house which the children bailed out of in room 1 but I went around because I couldn’t bear not to get value for our money. I scare easily but it was kind of scary. The best moment was when I was alone some way behind three adults screaming loudly. One of the actors from the house was behind them, dressed as Dracula. I tapped him on the shoulder and he jumped a mile.
Overall, I must say, it was very successful; the children enjoyed it very much and it wasn’t too hideous for the adults. The knowledge that in fine weather you may have to queue an hour and a half for the rides we were able to saunter up to was pleasing even though the danger of damp was a constant. Still and all, a win over all.
And, oh yes, there was face painting: