The wonderful time on the emerald Island is now over. The NMS Trofaiach students are looking back at eight days of mostly dry and sunny weather, interesting English lessons, fun afternoon actities and beautiful sights and landscapes in Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway and Dublin. Today in the morning they were picked up by our busdriver who brought them over to the Dublin airport. All went smoothly at the security check and the departure of the plane was in time. The H2 Team had a great time with the students and their teachers and we hope to see them again in the future. Best wishes from Lucy, Jackie, Brian, Gina, Michael and Lisa!
The students had an early departure again as they headed to the capital of Ireland this morning! In Dublin they were met by our tour guide who showed them around the city with stops at Georgian houses and the Phoenix Park. This park is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city! The President of Ireland and the US Ambassador live here. The Phoenix Park is also home to a large herd of fallow deer. Later on they will check into the hostel and will have some time in the afternoon to go hunting for some final souvenirs to bring home to family and friends!
The group left Killarney early in the morning as a big sightseeing tour was planned for the day. The day was glorious with blue skies and sunshine all the way up to Galway! The famous Cliffs of Moher were a stunning stop on the students agenda with wonderful views onto the wild Atlantic Sea. It was the perfect weather for a visit to County Clare and its rough countryside. Afterwards they continued their way up along the “Wild Atlantic Way” with a photo stop at the Burren National Park. This park looks like a lunar-like landscape of rock and cliffs with lots of walking trails, woodland, otters, mink and lizards. What makes the Burren so special is the way limestone rock covers the surface of the land and the unusual plants that grow there. Later on in the afternoon they arrived to Galway where they checked into their hostel for the night. The students and their teachers enjoyed some free time in the evening to go walking along the 18th-century Eyre Square and the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter. It is a university town with a lively traditional Pub Scene, stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries.
It was a bit rainy this morning when the students said good-bye to their host families. The NMS Trofaiach group had their final English lessons with Lucy, Jackie and Brian and were given their student reports and certificates at the end. The English teachers and Lisa from the H2 Team said their farewells to the group and now they are heading to County Kerry. They will stop in Kenmare and will then drive along the beautiful Killarney National Park with stops at the “Ladies’ View”, Muckross Gardens and the Torc Waterfall. In the late afternoon they will check into their Killarney hostel for tonight.
On Sunday the students had some time to sleep in and to enjoy a typical Irish breakfast with sausages, tomatoes, toast, black pudding and fried eggs. Some host families took their students to a nearby beach or went for a walk with them. At around 1pm they were all picked up from the bus stops in Carrigaline and headed to the famous Blarney Castle. They enjoyed walking around the castle grounds and looking at the beautiful trees and shrubs that are in bloom at the moment. They climbed up the stairs to the top of the castle in order to kiss the Blarney Stone. They had to lean backwards which is not easy, but worthwhile: those who dare kissing the stone will get the “gift of the gab” (the ability to speak easily and confidently in a way that makes people want to listen to you and believe you). They also went to climb down the “Wishing Steps” which grant a wish to anyone who climbs them with eyes closed and backwards… let’s keep our fingers crossed. The weather was beautiful with lots of sunshine and high temperatures around 18 degrees.
It is as windy but sunny day. Our English teachers have prepared lots of games and interesting tasks for the students to learn English in a fun way. As the students will be exploring the famous “Wild Atlantic Way” during the second half of their trip to Ireland, our teachers have asked them do some research about the sights, landscapes and towns they are going to visit. The students will find out more about Blarney Castle, Kilarney, the famous Cliffs of Moher, Galway and Dublin and will present their findings to their fellow students on Monday. After the English lessons the students will head to the beautiful village of Kinsale where they will meet our tour guide Barry at Charles Fort. This fort is a star-shaped fort built in the 17th century and is located right outside the town overlooking Kinsale. It is a stunning view from there as one can look out onto the Atlantic Sea and onto the pier and houses of Kinsale. The students will go for a “historic stroll” around town and will learn more about the exciting history, about pirates, the “White Lady” and the “Giant of Kinsale”! During their free time they will probably all hit “Dino’s” to try some fish and chips with vinegar. The last stops for the day will be the cliffs at the “Old Head of Kinsale” and the sandy beach in Garrettstown which are about 20 minutes away. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the wind will ease off a little bit!
The students had been lucky with the weather so far. It was sunny and dry with temperatures around 15 degrees. However, today we have a very “Irish” weather. It is raining “cats and dogs” but the Irish people would say that it is still a “soft day” (as it could be worse). After the English lessons are finished the group will walk over to the G.A.A. pitch in Minane Bridge. Three trainers from the Gaelic Athletic Association will introduce the students to the famous Irish sports “Hurling” and “Gaelic Football”. Hurling is the fastest game in the world and is played with a wooden stick called “Hurley” and a small leather ball called “Sliotar”. It might also be interesting to know that hands are allowed for the Gaelic Football game. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the weather will improve a little bit.
In the morning the students were picked up by our bus driver Michael again who then brought them to the little village of Minane Bridge where the H2 School is based. Lisa from the H2 team introduced them to the English teachers for the week: Lucy, Jackie and Brian. After a short multiple choice test and a written assignment the students were split into three smaller groups. After a few warm up games the English lessons were well underway. Our teachers will focus on speaking skills and new vocabulary – we hope that the students will engage in lots of conversations, quizzes and role plays! In the afternoon the group headed to Cork for a guided city tour with Claire. They passed St. Finbarr’s Cathedral and stopped at the Cork University Campus (that looks a little bit like a scene from a Harry Potter movie). Of course our students had some free time afterwards to go hunting for some souvenirs :-).
The group of 40 young students from NMS Trofaiach and their teachers arrived to Dublin as scheduled. They were welcomed by our bus driver and H2 member Michael who guided them to the bus. After the luggage was stored away they were on their way to the beautiful couny Cork in the south of Ireland. They arrived by 11.30pm and were warmly greeted by our host families. After a quick introduction all students were glad to go to bed and to get some rest.