Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.46 26 Mar 2021


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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a drone with your takeaway curry.

Around 2,500 homes in Oranmore in Co Galway are some of the first people in the country to be able to avail of deliveries by drone.

Drone firm Manna has teamed up with JustEat, as well as the likes of Tesco, to do a major trial of their air delivery service.

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The service was first introduced in Moneygall, where it was used to drop off shopping, food and even COVID-19 tests for people who were self-isolating at home due to COVID-19.

Now it's being used in Oranmore to drop off everything from Friday evening meals to morning coffees.

The Pat Kenny Show reporter Siofra Mulqueen spoke to locals Gary and Ciara Loughlin, who ordered a Thai takeaway using the service.

Ciara said: “We’re drones now for life - it’s so futuristic and just amazing to watch.

“It’s hard to believe we’re the only place at the moment here doing this… it’s great to be at the forefront of technology. It’s obviously going to be a big thing in the future.”

Gary said friends and family elsewhere in Ireland often think they’re joking when they say they’re getting drone delivery.

He added that the service has brought some excitement to Oranmore during the pandemic.

Mission Control

Siofra also travelled to Manna's 'mission control' centre to see exactly how the process works.

Naomi Cullen, the operations Manager with Manna Drone Delivery, explained: “When an order comes in… mission control accepts the order, checks that the order is all OK, checks the EirCode is valid… and creates the order.

“The vendor then has an order phone at their location. The details are sent to them for them to prepare… we know they’re preparing it.

“When it’s prepared, we either go down to collect it or they bring it to us. Then we load it straight onto the drone.”

Once the drone arrives at the delivery address, the drone hovers overhead while the bag of food is lowered gently to the ground using a simple spool.

Manna says they're able to deliver the meals hot and fresh within minutes.

Ms Cullen explained there was naturally some scepticism about how the whole process worked, but word quickly spread within Oranmore.

She said: “Once one person got it, they saw their neighbour get it… that’s the best advertisement.

“We fly Wednesday-Sunday here in Oranmore. If the weather isn’t playing ball, we’re able to contact the customer and let them know unfortunately we can’t fly to them today.”

The firm's previously pledged that their deliveries can be made in 'three minutes or less' within a 2km radius.


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