Getting bird's eye view of our coastal beauty spotsAugust 3, 2012 - 7:00am
An eclectic group of people including two young couples, two young Polish girls and an American man with his mother boarded a bus on Monday morning to set off for the beautiful Connemara to avail of one of Aer Arann’s ‘scenic flights’.
The flights run daily from Connemara Airport in Inverin at 12pm. The journey begins by boarding a complimentary bus to the airport from outside the Victoria Hotel off Eyre square. The flights lasts 35-40 minutes taking in the Cliffs of Moher, The Aran Islands and the Connemara coastline before going back to the airport where the bus brings you back to the city. The cost is €55 per-person and the whole experience lasts about three hours.
The bus to the airport passes through Salthill, Barna, Spiddal and Furbo before continuing on to the airport. If the weather is fine, as it was on Monday when I got the opportunity to try it out for myself, the trip to the airport is quite enjoyable as you get the opportunity to take in the wonderful views across the bay.
Once arriving at the airport, you can sit and relax in the cafe before being called to check in for the flight. Checking in requires you to stand on a weighing scales, something my colleague had told me prior to the trip – although I didn’t believe him.
Following a safety video informing us what should be done in an emergency; we were ushered onto the plane and told where to sit – presumably because of weight distribution. The ten-seater BN2B – Islander plane looked absolutely tiny and to me seemed more like a big car than a plane.
Acting as co-pilot, I was seated in the cockpit and given headphones which allowed me to engage in conversation with pilot, Des Collins. Having never been in the cockpit of an aeroplane before, I found myself captivated by the several hundred buttons in front of me, although I had no idea what any of them were for.
Taking off down the short runway, I wasn’t sure we were going to make it. However, after a relatively short taxi, we were airborne and headed towards the Aran Islands, leaving the mainland far below.
Des informed me that we’d be heading towards the Cliffs of Moher first and that he would circle around so no matter which side the passengers were on, they would get a good view of the cliffs.
The calm weather conditions and clear blue sky made the cliffs look very impressive altogether, and Des pointed out some of the seagull’s nests and inlets as we swooped down close to the rock face.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.