MUSINGS Flights of fancy

Living

Flights of fancy


Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

‘ONLY in Ireland’ is a phrase that gets used a lot these days. You look at a very obvious mistake, like the misspelling of a county on a much sought-after FAI Senior Challenge Cup Final medal ‘Drogheda United v Silgo Rovers’ (yes, that really happened), and you mutter “Only in Ireland.”
I jetted off to sunnier climes recently (a fraction sunnier let me tell you), and I found myself uttering those three words quite a bit. We’ll get to that shortly.
I fancied some time out from the grey skies, and so did three of my friends, so we decided to book a short break to the Algarve. We chose to fly out from Farranfore. Ya, that little shed in Kerry that takes longer to get to than Portugal. Long story short, my travelling companions live in Kerry, so I was the one who had to bypass Knock and do the four-hour trek (majority rules and all that).
I arrived at the girls’ house in a relatively timely fashion – T minus 1.20hrs to takeoff – only to find that two were gone to McDonald’s, while the one present hadn’t packed her bag yet. I became impatient. My friend managed to gather some clothes together in a slightly inebriated manner. I demanded we sit in the car and wait for the others. T minus 1hr to take off. Estimated time to airport: 15 minutes.
As the girls strolled over to the car with their happy meals I took a calming breath and suggest they might want to get their luggage from the house.
Airport. Fifteen minutes to take off. We’re told to jump the queue in order to board our flight. We hastily rushed to security, and I handed over my printed boarding ticket, only to realise it was missing the all-important barcode. (Damned printer.) My heart sank as a garda informed me that I would have to go to an internet café and print off a boarding pass. He added that I could do this in Faro Airport. Cue sigh of relief.
As we gathered on the tarmac waiting to board the plane, there seemed to be a hold-up.
Minutes went by. Michael O’Leary’s on-time record was at risk of slipping by, when one of the girls piped up, “Girls, I think the plane is full. I don’t think there’s anymore seats left.”
On questioning her assumption she replied, “I did a bit of lip reading.” Though I knew it sounded like a ridiculous possibility, I found myself contemplating alternatives and uttering “Only in Ireland.” I thought, “Fair enough, overbooking a Bus Éireann Galway-to-Dublin service, but a bloody flight?”
Anyway, turns out an older lady had got on the wrong flight. After she disembarked, one of my travel companions noted that it was “easy happen” before telling us her wheelchair-bound aunt was once put on a connecting flight to Johannesburg instead of Paris. Luckily, she realised before she was up in the air.
I wish I could tell you that we had a nice relaxing break of sight-seeing and chilling out.
However, the reality was that the holiday kicked off with a stolen handbag containing one of the girls’ passports. And most of the sights were for sore eyes, as mornings after the nights before were spent debating whether kneeling at the altar of Armitage Shanks would help.
Oh well, we made it back in one piece anyway, albeit minus a passport. The garda on at passport control at Farranfore didn’t bat an eyelid at Sínead entering the country without travel documents, just saying ‘Go on’. Only in Ireland.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.