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Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano interrupted the last visit to Ireland in 2010 – this year’s trip went off without a hitch

Editorial – June / July 2018

Another trip to Ireland to visit Combilift – for the official opening of their brand-new global headquarters and manufacturing facility – is over, and this time I’m back on time to tell the tale.

I last visited the forklift manufacturer’s premises in County Monaghan in April 2010. Media representatives from around the world had gathered for the launch of two new products, but that evening, news that Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano had erupted, spewing thick clouds of ash high into the atmosphere, was announced to those gathered at dinner. UK and European airspace was closed immediately, sending everyone’s return travel plans into disarray.

I was able to stay with family in the northwest of England while the air-travel ban dragged on. For a week, nothing moved by air in or out of the UK, northern Europe and Scandinavia. At one point, the authorities were saying that the skies would remain closed for months. I was on the point of trying to book a cabin on a container ship bound for New Zealand when the ban was lifted and the planes took to the air again. I was finally home 10 days later.

Of course this time, the volcano behaved itself and the entire trip went off without a hitch, including a detour via Manchester to revisit the family. Combilift’s new facility is outstanding, and while the weather was on the chilly side, the Irish hospitality was as warm as ever. 

The Combilift story is one of innovation and a passion for engineering excellence. From a team of three 20 years ago, the company today employs over 500 people and has received numerous export and entrepreneurship awards. This year it received a Deloitte Best Managed Companies Award which recognises Irish companies operating at the highest levels of business performance. Combilift is indeed the story of The Little Engine That Could.

Until next time …
Lynne Richardson, editor

lrichardson@astonpublishing.co.nz


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