Mind, Reviews, Travel

Going to Tayto Park? A Few Things You Should Know

After drowning in a suspension of despair for most of last week (meds not working/ hormones/cabin fever/full moon/who knows), I’d promised an AMAZING weekend to the 4-year-old on Saturday as she’d been housebound for all eternity.

The only thing getting her (and me by extension) through the week was tunnel vision regarding a fun fair. Any fun fair. She needed candy floss and a carousel as a matter of extreme urgency – despite never having experienced either. As all the local fun fairs had wrapped up for August, there was only one remaining option – and it was a good one (not being endorsed by Tayto Park).


With the husband/cheerleader on hand to help propel me out the door, we set off at pace at 10:30am on Saturday. After a few wrong turns, we made it in good enough time (11:30am) and attempted to find parking. It took a while. Which brings us nicely to the first tip…

1) Saturdays are busy. But they’re bound to be, right? Saturday, August, kind of sunny, it’s going to be busy. You’re prepared for it. We thought we were, but we weren’t. Not really. It made for an amazing atmosphere, with a sea of people surging merrily around the place. However, with people, come queues.


2) The queues are fierce deceptive. Queues to get in. Queues for lunch. Queues for the rides… You’re at a theme park, in August, on a Saturday, and it’s a bit sunny – there’s going to be queues, right? Indeed there are, we just weren’t quite ready for the length of the queues. Correction – the queues weren’t long, they just took FOREVER. To put this into context, between the hours of 1pm and 5pm we managed to get the child on to 3 rides. THREE.

The reasons for was is two fold…
Firstly, we weren’t gauging supply and demand. Waiting to get on to the carousel took no time at all – because numerous souls could descend on it at any one time. Unfortunately, we then opted for the Zamperla big wheel. While the queue looked short, it took a while (about 30 minutes) to get on the thing because it was done on a carriage by carriage basis. Ergo, two to three people were getting on/off every few minutes. We didn’t learn, and then started queuing for the Air Jumpers – they only took four kids at a time every 10 minutes. Ergo, the queue took over an hour. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world – you get to shoot the breeze with your queue cohorts while your four-year-old has a breakdown, but we deduced that a queue clown – who could dispense balloons to the kids and beer to the parents – would remedy that. And JUST when you thought you were getting somewhere, factor two came into play…

… BLOODY queue skippers. These weren’t people who just jumped the queue, rather it was a parent or a child who would keep their place and then, at the very last minute, that one child would suddenly turn in to – not one, not two, not three extra kids – but FIVE extra kids. Meaning your kid would lose their go, despite you making them queue for over an hour. It happened to us twice. Rage. RAGE. But not too much rage – you know, because of the children.

3) Bring togs and towels. Despite Ashbourne appearing to have its own weather system (perpetual drizzle), when the sun does break through it can be rather hot. Our child was sweating up a storm after getting lost in one of the biggest playgrounds known to humanity…


Therefore we had to quietly bypass this mirage of joy before the child had a complete meltdown.


4) Go for the blue candy floss. We went for the pink (strawberry), which was scrumptious if highly addictive. It turned the child into something akin to a crack addict. At times we were pointing to tigers prowling around (their enclosure obvs), and the leopards lolling in the trees and ALL she wanted to do was dive headfirst back into the bucket of floss. Upon looking at the ingredients, the reason became clear.

While the blueberry candy floss as E-133, the pink version has E-127 and E-129. At the bottom of the ingredients list at the back of the bucket, it states “E-102 and E-129 may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Back slowly away.

5) The Talking Tree is creepy AF. It talks like Jigsaw, answers you back (so there must be some poor prick trapped in there), and can be heard rumbling throughout the park. Chances are your child will be looking to gauge your reaction first before they make up their own mind, so here’s something to prepare you.

Apart from that, enjoy your time there, it’s an amazing amenity in a handy location for most (and, yes, you do get free crisps). Just remember to bring an extra pair of pants if you brave Cu Chulainn…

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