A Norwegian family, who are holidaying in Ireland after finding a prize balloon sent from West Cork, will fly home this week after an exhausting itinerary.

The 12-day trip is coming to an end on Wednesday when the Taule-Leikangers head home after enjoying the hospitality of Dunmanway and the wider Cork area over the last week.

Their weekend included yesterday’s trip to Blarney Castle, world-famous for bestowing the “gift of the gab” on those who kiss it.

For parents Linda and Viggo, and children Pernilla, Magnus, and Nora — all aged under 10 — it was the latest trip on a whirlwind itinerary of attractions of Co Cork.

They got a taste of Irish traditional music in Baile Mhúirne on Saturday night, and were looking forward to spending last night in the pods at the Top of the Rock facility near Drimoleague.

They have been looked after in local B&Bs, and got to enjoy Dunmanway’s historic Ballabuidhe horse fair last week.

Catherine Crowley and her family have been among the locals helping organise events during the visitors’ stay. It was her telephone number that they called after finding a note inside a balloon that had made its way all the way to Norway.

Linda and son Magnus were hiking in mountains when they found the balloon, and the family has done plenty of hiking in the past week, including through the parks around the source of the River Lee in Gougane Barra.

The Taule-Leikangers Viggo, Linda, Pernilla, Magnus, and Nora size up Blarney Castle during their visit yesterday. Picture: Eddie O’Hare
The Taule-Leikangers Viggo, Linda, Pernilla, Magnus, and Nora size up Blarney Castle during their visit yesterday. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

“They’re really enjoying their stay, and they’ve loved stopping and talking to people who recognise them on the street or when they’re out to eat,” said Ms Crowley.

Other trips on the itinerary before leaving from Cork Airport on Wednesday include a visit to the Toy Soldier factory in Cill na Martra.

Ms Crowley said the visiting children have made many friends and the visit has helped develop the town’s tourism appeal.

The ‘Message in a Balloon’ was the idea of Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce, and the note found by Linda was tied to a balloon released in the town last Christmas.

It explained that whoever found it would be welcome to enjoy a host of prizes offered through sponsorship from local businesses.


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