We have recently become a talking point for the local area when an enormous hot air balloon was seen floating over lower Glencree valley, drifting by Powerscourt Waterfall and quietly meandering over the mountains and commonage before gently bumping back to earth somewhere near Roundwood.
Just who the occupants were was the subject of intense discussion. A celebrity couple perhaps?
Talk of ”Amy somebody” and “yer man Paddy” resounded.
What better way for the stars of the movie Enchanted to see the area than from the romantic setting of a hot air balloon basket.
This is all while magic was being created on a movie set in Enniskerry. The chat and rumour was wild and definitive in its narrative.
The hot air balloon was launched from our field at the crossroads. The basket was secured to the operator’s jeep and trailer, presumably so the balloon would not up and away all on its ownio!
The launch was not confirmed until the last minute. I thought it was something the kids would like to see, so I hurried dinner into them, chucked them in their PJs (it was after bedtime) and Crocs and skipped over to the crossroads field.
We hurried in the gate and could immediately see the balloon deflated and flat on the ground with its basket lying on its side.
A huge fan, set to one side of the basket, was blowing cold air into the mouth of the balloon which was being held open.
People - the balloon operators, intended passengers and other helpers - were scurrying around holding ropes and pulling the mouth of the balloon open.
The excitement was palpable. We watched this with interest while Joy, the dog, ran around after flying insects.
Nelly was utterly inspired. Katy was very cautious. Joy was oblivious and even ran over the deflated balloon at one point. Whoops! I kept a better eye on her after that.
When the balloon had enough cold air, the burner was lit. It was incredibly noisy and Katy glued herself to my leg and we all retreated much further up the field.
There were one or two people pulling on a long rope attached to the top of the balloon, to control it and not let it rise too quickly.
The people who had been holding the balloon mouth open also retreated, lest they become roasted chickens, and lines were used to keep the mouth open from a distance.
The balloon was still on its side and the heat from the burner must have been incredible, but the balloon itself was protected from the burner by a flame-proof skirting hanging down on one side.
As the air inside the balloon grew hotter, it expanded and started to rise up from the ground, still being controlled by man on the end of the long rope.
The balloon swayed about and tilted our direction. This scared Katy - she was sure it would fall on us and implored the fascinated Nelly to move further back.
Although I assured her it would not fall on us, I thought a little more distance up the field wouldn't do any harm.
Neighbours were dropping into the field. Questions were being asked. I directed them to the fellas in charge who were too busy to answer in great detail.
As the balloon filled, more and more of the neighbours gathered to watch, completely awestruck, until eventually it was ready for launch.
The excitement and fascination was alive on every person’s face and in the quietest, most gentile, unassuming manner, this giant balloon and its occupants floated serenely away.