herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Diary of a travel writer: Tragic lessons from Cork

Thursday

Bad news reaches us from Cork airport, which should be celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

Our worst fears are confirmed as an aircraft bizarrely flipped on the runway after landing and there are six fatalities.

Manx2 is one of those strange modern airlines that does not have crew, aircraft or indeed anything of their own. It doesn't do anything except issue tickets.

The aircraft are all supplied and flown by a number of aircraft operators, in this case the Barcelona company Flightline BCN whose crew were operating the aircraft. It is a deeply depressing day but the Cork emergency services deservedly win praise for their speedy response to the tragedy. Brendan Mallon of Falcon Holidays is among the injured. We wish him well and a speedy recovery.

Friday

Etihad opened its new lounge in T2 on December 16, but only got round to cutting the ribbon now. It is spacious and comes complete with showers, children's play area and a prayer room.

It is just the second of four Etihad lounges to open in Europe and Dublin airport is glad of the vote of confidence in these turbulent times.

Saturday

The convention centre looks stunning for the IFTA awards. Why didn't we build it 10 years earlier? Business tourism was all the rage in the Noughties but we have missed the ferry spectacularly.

Sunday

I feared that the Lansdowne Roar was no more, particularly during those eerily quiet autumn internationals, but the Six Nations has awakened it.

There is a great atmosphere in the Aviva, and Agnes Angrand, the French Tourist Board chef de mission in Dublin, gives a rousing Marseillaise. Agnes is departing Dublin on March 12, leaving the care of our second biggest holiday destination to Guillaume Delacour.

We are beaten by three points by France, but you wouldn't know it by the fans in Temple Bar.

At the Auld Dubliner, Dave Houston springs the place into life with the Galway Girl, then ups guitar and joins fiddle player Siobhan Smith and banjo player Robin Hurt for a gig at the Vat house.

The French are in good voice and by the end of a rousing rendition of Where the Grasses Grow, the floor is packed.

"That went from nought to 60 very quickly," says my colleague. We look at each other and we know why tourists love Ireland, and Temple Bar in particular. You couldn't dream this stuff up in a marketing forum.

Monday

Among the consolations at the funeral of Simon Ryan, a drama enthusiast and ballad singer whose brother founded GPA and then Ryanair, are the collection of witticisms uttered by the departed and now relayed by mourners.

Surviving brother Kells Ryan tells of how he and Simon were carrying Tony Ryan's coffin at The Village at Lyons following his untimely death two years ago. Kells remarked the coffin was heavy.

"He ain't heavy," said Simon. "He's my brother."

Tuesday

The Spanish Tourist Board tell us that their visitor numbers from Ireland are down 19.5pc. They are still enormous.

The Costa Daurada still does more visitors than Greece and Turkey put together, and the Costa del Sol does more visitors than Italy. The reign of Spain continues.

Wednesday

There will be an enquiry into the crash in Cork, of course. It will recommend that planes that abort a second landing cannot make a third attempt.

Flying is still very safe nonetheless. Passengers have a one in eight million chance of dying in a plane crash. But the most dangerous situations seem to arise after there have been two aborted landings.

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