Our trip to Ireland (5 to 12 October 2017)
Fáilte go hEireann – this is how we were welcomed when we stepped off the plane and entered Dublin airport. Finally, we, the 4A and the 4D, a group of 27 Austrian students were in Ireland, ready and excited to discover this beautiful country!
Once arrived in Bray, a small coastal town about 20 km south of Dublin city, we were picked up by our host parents one after the other and taken to their house which should be our home for one week. Indeed, we felt at home at once. We enjoyed Irish hospitality and excellent homemade Irish food.
We attended language courses on four mornings. The lessons covered various topics such as Irish food, differences between the Irish and Austrian school systems, famous sights and history of Dublin and last but not least the Irish “leprechauns” (that is what Irish ‘Kobolde’ are called).
Of course, the sightseeing programme was another highlight of this week. On Saturday we first had a guided tour through the impressive Dublin castle. Then we went on board of ‘Jeanie Johnston’, a replica of a former famine ship, and learned a lot about how Irish emigrants made the passage to America to flee the Great Famine in the 19th century. Finally we discovered the city of Dublin on our own by answering the questions of our treasure hunt. On Sunday we walked the Hill of Tara, which is the heart of Irish history and the home of the mystical Irish druids. We also visited the historic ruins of Monasterboice and its spectacular high crosses and had a guided tour of Knowth, a prehistoric burial site, older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids!
In Dublin we also had guided tours of the Irish Whiskey museum and Kilmainham Gaol, one of Europe’s largest unoccupied prisons, which is closely associated with the Irish struggle for independence.
Further highlights were our Irish dancing evening where we learned some traditional Irish dances and the Cliff Walk from Bray to Greystones - one of Bray’s most popular attractions that offers stunning views of the East Coast.
In our free time we either roamed the bustling streets of Dublin, one of Europe´s most dynamic capitals, or we sat quietly at the beach of Bray looking out onto the Irish sea.
Now back at school in Austria “our hearts are still in Ireland”. It was a great experience and we would like to thank our teachers for organising this unforgettable trip!