TheLiberty is a local paper for Dublin's south inner city

February 2001

Springtime splash with the ducks

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By Samantha Rowntree

From March 13th, tourists and day-trippers can again see Dublin by land and sea when the Viking Splash Tour returns. The venture, started last year by Peter and Lynda Richard Stocks, has proved popular with tourists and Dubliners alike.

Ms Stocks says, "Our first year was very successful. We had over 30,000 passengers and we are hoping to increase that this year. We did a small survey in August last year and found that 30% of people were from the greater Dublin area". The group also won Dublin Tourism's award for Best Tourism Product and Service award 2000-2001.

Ms Stocks promises, "There'll be no changes in routing. We got great feedback from people and they enjoyed it. During the peak season we will be increasing the tours from ten to fifteen a day to meet the demand as last year we found we had to turn away people".

Ms Stocks and her husband got the idea for the tours in America and decided to bring this alternative sight seeing transport to Dublin. The Viking theme came from Dublin's own historical links, of how they came to Dublin in their long boats and settled here.

Viking Splash Tours have four reconditioned World War Two vintage amphibious military vehicles called DUCKS. The DUCKS, built by General Motors, were originally designed to deliver cargo or troops from ships directly to shore. They remained in use in Europe and the US until the 1970s. The vehicles have now been mechanically rebuilt and made more comfortable to prove themselves as a tourist attraction.

Last summer, the strange and colourful DUCKS, wedged with tourists, travelled through the Dublin streets. Tourists startled unsuspecting pedestrians with loud belly roars. The tourists, donning true Viking-style helmets, followed with unashamed laughter. The caped driver would rally his Vikings through the streets to view the sights such as Christchurch and the Four Courts. For the latter half of the tour, they would make their splash in the Grand Canal basin. Ms Stocks says, "Ideally people would like to go into the Liffey but because of its tidal nature the boats cannot ride the river".

The tour will run from March to November up to 10 times a day. Tickets for the tour are available at the Fire Engine ticket sales booth at Bull Alley Street or from Dublin Tourism. Ticket prices: Adults £9.95/ Children under 12- £5.50