Last weekend, we went to the Docklands Festival – a free wake-boarding and water-sports event at Dublin’s swish Docklands area. A (relatively) warm day spent pic-nicing at the river(canal)side, watching wakeboarders brave the cold waters, enjoying street performers, and sampling international food at from street vendors. Lovely! Oh, and these:

Ride me! You know you want to!
Ride me! You know you want to!

Kids’ rides. I hate these. For children, I guess they are a ticket to adventure. For me, they’re a waste of a coin. At supermarkets and shopping centres I let my kids crawl all over them, gleefully refusing to put a coin in. A bit of rocking and shaking doesn’t add much to the experience, I tell them. Use your imagination, I tell them.

But here, the ride is (wo)manned, there’s no getting out of it. I make a silent prayer to myself: “please God, don’t let me hear those words!”

“Daddy, can I go on that, please!”

There’s nothing I can say. “Okay, but I only have money for one, so choose carefully”. A pathetic capitulation.

So the train is chosen, he steps aboard, and I wait to give my one Euro to the lady.

“Just the one?” she says. (“Just? What does she want from me?”)


“That’s €2.50”

My heart sinks. I briefly think about pulling him off and walking away in disgust. Then I see his face.


I reluctantly hand over my hard earned coppers.

“Is my little brother coming on too?”

“No, he bloody well isn’t!”

So I watch him ride around with a big smile on his face for what feels like a minute, a minute-twenty, tops. Trying to suppress irrational prejudices about gypsies.


He’s happy though, isn’t he? Maybe, he’ll remember this day. Look back and remember how kind his old man was. How he gave up half a pint of Guinness for that ‘moment’ of happiness and satisfaction.

The train stops.

“Daddy, again please!


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