The group had an early start as the plane was scheduled for 9:10 in the morning. It took off in time and the students waved good-bye to Dublin and to the beautiful and green Ireland. However, the connection flight to Graz got cancelled by the flight company and therefore the students had an unexpected additional night added onto their school language trip. They eventually returned back to their homes a day later.
The group had an early start at 7 o’clock in the morning. It was time to say good-bye to the host families. The students had a lovely time with them and it was great to get an insight into Irish family life. The students are now on their way to Dublin. They will have a guided tour around the city with stops at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Georgian houses and the Phoenix Park. This park is one of the largest city parks in Europe and hosts a herd of fallow deer. It is a great amenity for many Dubliners. It has a zoo; many garden fairs, concerts and festivals take place annually. In the afternoon the students will check into their hostel and will have free time afterwards. It is Culture Night in all counties of Ireland and many venues will have free admission to concerts, exhibitions and workshops. A fantastic opportunity to explore Ireland’s capital.
The group has been very lucky so far. Even at the Gaelic Sports training yesterday it turned out to be a good dry afternoon. However, today is a really wet day. It has been raining all morning and will continue in the afternoon. The lessons with our English teachers are nearly over. The students are currently presenting their findings on Ireland-related topics to their class mates. Once the certificates and students reports are handed over our teachers will give out a little surprise to one of the best students of each group. They will award a prize to those students that have shown the best improvement in terms of speaking English and best motivation. Let’s see who it will be!
The students will then make their over to Kinsale to meet our tour guide Barry at Charles Fort. The rain might stop for a while and the students will get a chance to enjoy the view onto the little fishing village of Kinsale. This town is known for its battle which took place in 1601 where the Spanish Armada and Irish and English soldiers were fighting. Barry will also tell them about the “White Lady”, pirate love stories and the “Giant of Kinsale”. Since the weather is so bad – the group will only go for a short orientation walk and will then have some free time to go for coffee in one of the little cafes or go shopping for some souvenirs. If the weather allows they will drive to the cliffs at the “Old Head of Kinsale” and the final stop will be the sandy beach in Garrettstown. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the weather will improve a little bit!
It is a windy day, but no rain in sight! The teachers Jackie, Lucy, Brian and Colin have prepared some roleplays, interviews, debates and mind games for our students today. They are amazed how good the students are and how well they can communicate in English!
In the afternoon the students will walk over to the Minane Bridge GAA pitch. GAA stands for Gaelic Athletic Association and three members (Kieran, Michael and Mark) will train our students today. They will show them the rules of Hurling and Gaelic Football. Hurling is an ancient game which has been played for over 3000 years mainly in Ireland and is know to be the fasted game in the world! A wooden stick (hurley) and a ball (sliotar) are used in this game. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for dry weather in the afternoon!
A cloudy day with some spells of sunshine and some rain showers in between. If you like to take a look at the weather in Ireland the best website is the Met office. After the English lessons the students will visit the “Titanic Experience” in the harbour town of Cobh. Formerly knows as Queenstown, Cobh was the last port of call of the Titanic in 1912. Here, at the White Star Line Ticket office (in which the today’s Titanic Experience is located) the remaining 123 passengers boarded the Titanic. The students will receive a “boarding ticket” with one of the names of those passengers. They will taken on a virtual tour to bard the tenders and join Titanic for her maiden voyage to New York. They will view the original pier and will experience life aboard Titanic and learn about the conditions on board for third and first class passengers. Finally the students will find out about the fate of “their” passenger. Later on the afternoon the students can take stoll up to St. Coleman Cathedral (its 49-bell carillon is the only such instrument in Ireland and is the largest in Ireland and Britain) or walk along the pier and the streets with its distinctly Victorian architecture.
It is the first day at the H2 International Academy in Minane Bridge. The students were picked up be our bus drivers in the morning and brought to a little village about 15 minutes south of Carrigaline. There they met their English teachers for the week: Lucy, Jackie, Brian and Colin. After a short introduction and a placement test (multiple choice questions and a written assignment) the students were split into four smaller groups. After some warm-up games the English lessons are well underway. The teachers hope that the students will interact a lot with each other to improve their communication skills and everyday English.
In the afternoon the students headed to Cork City for a guide tour. They stopped at St. Finbarr’s Cathedral and at the Cork University Campus and also had a look at the famous English Market with its fresh products such as meats, vegetables, fish and other delicatessen. Thankfully the weather was not too bad, with some showers in between but overall dry conditions. Afterwards the students enjoyed some free time strolling along St. Patrick’s Street and Oliver Plunkett Street, hunting for some souvenirs and drinking coffee at “Costa”.
Thankfully the students were able to sleep in and to enjoy a lazy morning chatting to their host families and eating a typical Irish breakfast with toast, beans, tomatoes, fried egg, black pudding and sausages! In the afternoon they were picked up by our bus drivers and were driven to Blarney Castle. The weather was lovely – around 20 degrees, sunshine and blue skies. All enjoyed strolling along the castle grounds, climbing up the stairs to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, looking at the castles beautiful flora, stopping at the fern garden and making a wish a the “Wishing steps”.
They came back just in time for dinner and finished their day with a “Ceili” lesson with our dance teacher Fionan. He showed them the rules for this typical Irish folk dance. At the end of the lesson everyone was able to follow along the sweeping rhythms of “one, two, three, on the spot and one, two, three, on the spot!”
52 students and three teachers arrived safe and sound to Dublin airport where they were welcomed by our bus drivers. When everyone was ready and the luggage was stored away, the students made their way down to the south of Ireland to meet their host families. At around 10.30pm the group arrived to Carrgaline and shortly afterwards everyone had been picked up by their host families. As it was already very late, the students went to their bed rooms soon to get a good night’s sleep.