Student-led Trip to Dublin
As part of our Leadership module our students had to plan two major trips in Ireland, Dublin & Kerry. All activities, transport and logistics had to be planned, booked and executed by the students. The Gappers were split into two groups, one in charge of each trip, with a project leader assigned. The gappers had to do all of the navigating throughout the trip, with the program leaders merely being there for moral support ;P
So, here’s where it all began….The Plan!
The students were very detailed with their plans, so we’ll only include 2 days here to show you just how detailed they were!!
Dublin Trip April 24-28th Mary -Team Leader. Team members: Michelle, Brian, Emily
- Leave Bundoran at 9:00 am
- 1:15 arrive in Dublin to Isaac’s Hostel
- 1:45 meet in lobby of hostel for walk to lunch — Stage Door
- 3:00-5:30 Famine Memorial and St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Dinner at 6:00
- Back to Hostel
- Wake up in Dublin and breakfast at hostel
- Meet up at 9:30 to go to either:
- 10:00 Zoo: number of people going 5
- 10:00 Trinity College: number of people going 5
- Everyone meets up for lunch at 1:00 pm Green 19
- 2:30-6:30 Free time afternoon!
- Everyone meet up for dinner at 7:00
Dublin – Day One
Needless to say the trip was awesome and with a very full itinerary. The first day went off without a hitch. Brian navigated the way down from Donegal to Dublin and the gappers managed to arrive 10 minutes early. All settled into Isaac’s Hostel and off to the Stage Door Café, Emily’s choice. We were all a little surprised when we arrived into the café as it was tiny, our group took up most of the room. Then the menu arrived with a very limited selection, uh oh! was this a bad choice? Poor Emily was panicking, but when the food arrived everyone was gobsmacked! The food was amazing and the portion sizes were huge! Nice work Emily!
Off to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, navigation ended up being a group effort, but with a bit of common sense and team work they managed to get us straight there! St. Patrick’s Cathedral is stunning and now has a number of interactive displays that bring the cathedral to life!
The day was pushing on so instead of seeing the Famine Memorial the students decided that the excitement of Dublin was too much and needed a bit of free time to explore. The best laid plans need some flexibility, as sticking rigidly to a plan and missing out on fun opportunities is definitely not the way to enjoy your travels. We all agreed to meet back at the hostel for 6.30pm to head for dinner.
Dublin – Day Two
Everyone was up and ready to split up and head to our separate locations, Dublin Zoo and Trinity College. The Zoo gappers managed to get themselves down to the zoo on the Luas (the tram) and the Trinity Gappers took a leisurely stroll to Trinity College. Dublin Zoo is in the Phoenix park, which covers 1,752 acres (707 hectares) which makes it one of the largest city parks in Europe. It is also the biggest Viking cemetery outside of Scandinavia, with around 40 Viking graves – one of which contained a woman buried with a pair of bronze Scandinavian brooches. Needless to say the Zoo gappers had an awesome time – Who doesn’t love the Zoo!
The Trinity gappers steeped themselves in historic culture and visited the Book of Kells which is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament & which is thought to date back to 800AD. The Long Room in the Old Library is like something out of Harry Potter. In the 18th century, the college received the Brian Boru harp, one of the three surviving medieval Gaelic harps, and a national symbol of Ireland, which is now housed in the library.
After our busy morning we all caught up for lunch and whilst we were sitting outside on this lovely morning the heavens opened up and hailstones came hurtling down. Only in Ireland and in April!! Following lunch we all went on our separate ways to explore the city.
Dublin – Day Three
Day three didn’t go as smoothly as planned, with a lazy start to the day we headed off together to have lunch up near Croke Park as we were due to have a tour around the stadium at 2.00pm. Firstly the restaurant where we had planned to have lunch was fully booked up, but fortuitously there was a cafe across the road which turned out to have amazing food, then when we arrived at Croke Park they didn’t have our group booking despite several phone calls booking the tour. Lesson learned, written confirmation of tour and book a busy restaurant when you’ve got a large group!! So, instead of getting the hour and a half tour that we expected they kindly gave us a free tour of the changing rooms and the pitch, so all in all everyone was pretty happy with that! Next up the Guinness Storehouse tour. Everyone was so excited to get down to the Guinness Storehouse, so much so Shane’s Grandad decided to join us.
Dublin – Last Day
With the Irish Gap Year Bus out in Rathfarnham the students had to navigate their way on public transport to the suburbs. When we finally made it out there we decided to go to a lovely cafe up beside the Hell-fire Club. The Hell-Fire Club was founded in 1735 by the 1st Earl of Rosse, Richard Parsons, known to be a ‘sorcerer, dabbler in black magic and a man of “humour and frolic”‘ (Somerville-Large). Some say that the Devil himself appeared at the house! With full bellies and tales of the Devil we got on the road to Rathcormack for our final night away of this trip. As part of this trip the gappers were volunteering with Cycle Against Suicide, a charity that does amazing work to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. We met with some awesome people who were cycling and volunteering with the charity. The gappers helped with organising the bikes when the cyclists arrived, directing people where to go and handing out food to some very tired and deserving participants. That evening we headed back to the hotel had a very large dinner and crawled into bed, tired, but happy.
On the Friday we went back volunteering with Cycle Against Suicide helping to get all the cyclists on the road again. What an amazing bunch of people! Then homeward bound back to Bundrowes House where the smell of Rita’s delicious dinner greeted us as we walked in the door. That night, exhausted after a very full on week, the gappers all slept like babies.