It’s a long way from Dunmanway, the beating heart of West Cork, to Norway ‘oer the sea but a brave little balloon made that perilous 2,500 km journey. To do so it had to traverse Ireland and the Irish Sea, England and the treacherous North Sea before landing near Bergen, Norway.
A bunch of six helium balloons was freed in Dunmanway on December 19. The note tied to one of them invited the person who found it to contact Catherine Crowley in Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce. Ms Crowley said they got the idea after a friend found a balloon in West Cork a few days after it had been released at a funeral in Wales.
The finder was in line to win a stay for two in Galvin’s on the Green B&B, chocolates from Deirdre Kelly, a hamper from For Goodness Sake Health Shop, a bottle of wine from Connollys shoe shop, lunch for two in Marnies Restaurant, and wash, cut and shave, and bottle of champagne, from Ms Crowley’s Boyz to Men barbers. “When we released our balloons, it looked as if they wouldn’t even clear the roofs,” Ms Crowley joked. But six months on, we’d almost given up hope of them being found. Then I got a phone call from this woman in Norway to say she’d found our balloon. It was incredible.”
Linda Taule, from the Naustdal region, said she had been on a 2.5-hour hike with her son Magnus, 7, when they spotted three balloons tangled in a tree together. They thought it was rubbish and took it so they could dump it at home. They then discovered a sodden note attached. They dried it out and contacted the number, to discover they were being invited to Dunmanway to collect their prizes. She said the first thing she and husband Vinggo did was check out how much flights to Cork for them, Magnus, and daughters Nora, 5, and Pernilla, 9, would be. “They were a bit above our budget for this year,” she said.
Chamber member Deirdre Kelly said they would have been happy if the balloons made it as far as Skibbereen. “We’ve been working hard over the years to promote Dunmanway,” she said. “Because it’s inland, and we’re competing against the coastal towns, we’ve always had to work that extra bit hard, and this was one of those things we thought we’d try. And to be honest, I had forgotten about them.”
But then came the phone call that would change everything. Catherine answered the phone while cutting hair in her salon last Wednesday to hear a woman claim she’d found their balloon note while hiking with her son — in Norway — 2,500km away. since then the members of the Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce have moved heaven and earth to ensure that the Taule family have a holiday of a lifetime and this warm hearted centre of West Cork has responded to the challenge and then some! Here is their statement:
“We at Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce are still in amazement that a bunch of balloons we released at a charity event last Christmas has had such a sensational outcome. It was just a bit of fun, never in our wildest dreams did we expect it to travel over 2500km to Norway, & found 6 months later! Nor had we planned on getting a family of 5 from Norway to Dunmanway in West Cork. But the fairytale continued when we received a call from Norwegian Air offering us flights from Norway to London Gatwick for the Taule Leikanger family.
Unfortunately Norwegian don’t have flights into Cork yet (we hope they will soon!!) so we attempted unsuccessfully to secure a sponsored flight from a Irish Airline from Gatwick to Cork. (There is still time if they want to step in now!!) But it didn’t end there, The businesses & locals of Dunmanway and West Cork have offered donations, meals, days out, accommodation & gifts to go towards the family’s trip. So we are now using these very generous donations to fund the final leg of the trip from Gatwick to Cork.
There are still Gifts, donations etc being offered to us for the family to make it a very special holiday. One thing we are appealing for is car rental, so if any company would like to offer their services or anything else they might like to offer be it big or small please contact Helen in For Goodness Sake health shop 023/8855671 or Catherine Crowley in Boyz To Men Barber Shop 023/8855650 otherwise They can message us through our Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
We are just astounded with the media attention we have got from Newspapers, TV , Radio and also a call from Copenhagen tourism Ireland to follow our story.
We are hoping to make this a very special trip for Linda & her family who are arriving on the 29th of July for 12 days, and have free accommodation thanks to Galvins on the Green B&B and The Lake House B&B Dunmanway. We are very busy preparing entertainment & fun for the family, and what a better place than Dunmanway “THE HOME Of SAM MAGUIRE ” and as Dunmanway is so central for touring West Cork, It is 30 min from all the coastal town & beaches, 50min from Cork city, 1 hour to Kerry not to mention what we have to offer here in our own town of Dunmanway and surrounding villages.
We have a beautiful town with walks Nowen Hill & Shehy mountains, a state of the art swimming pool that is due to open soon, Funmanway Zorbing , paintballing & mountain boarding park situated very close to Sam Maguires home place, Pitch & Putt course & some lovely local shops, crafts & accommodation.
We at the chamber of commerce would sincerely like to take this opportunity to thank Norwegian airlines, who without them this may not have been possible, we would also like to thank Kevin Cullinane at Cork Airport & Stuart Buss at Norwegian air for all their help & patience over the last few weeks, Also all our sponsors who have offered gifts & donations including Eoin English from the Irish Examiner for all his help & assistance he gave us to get this lovely family to Dunmanway, “The Heart of West Cork”.
Dunmanway Chamber Of Commerce
Stuard Buss from Norwegian Air said; “This is a fantastic story so we are delighted to play our part in helping the Taule family travel to Cork. If a balloon released in southern Ireland can make it all the way to western Norway, the least we can do is to help the Taule family fly in comfort with Norwegian and enjoy an easier journey to collect their prize!”
So join the Skibbereen Eagle (and other local dignataries) as Linda, her husband Vinggo, son Magnus and daughters Pernilla and Nora arrive in Dunmanway Market Square for a rousing reception at Dunmanway Market Square at 16.00 tours today. Later they will be entertained in the Southern Bar where there is a Taste of West Cork Exhibition in the marquee. Their arrival coincides with the famous Ballabuidhe Horse Fair over the August Bank Holiday weekend and tomorrow evening they will be entertained at the Belle of Ballabuidhe Ball in the Parkway Hotel before embarking on an action packed holiday in West Cork they will never forget as a full programme of activities and gifts are organised for the rest of their stay. Let’s hope Norwegian Air are also sponsoring the Taule family’s excess luggage on the return leg!
A real good news story made possible by the warm hearted people of Dunmanway, the warm hearted little town at the centre of the state of mind known as West Cork. But, as they say hereabouts “No Bother.” So Velkommen to the Taule-Leikanger family and stay posted to the Skibbereen Eagle to see if Dunmanway and West Cork is to a Viking’s liking!