Very early in the morning - at 6am the students had to say good-bye to their lovely host families. They had a great time - that went by so quickly! The group is now at the airport, currently passing through the security control. We wish them a pleasant journey back home!
We are happy to have met you and we wish you all the best for your future! Many regards from Lucy, Peter, Gina, Mary, Michael, Jack, Paul and Lisa :-)
At the end of their last school day the students gave a presentation of the topics they had choosen about Ireland. They also sang Irish songs they had learned with Peter. It was a nice surprise at the end, when all students gathered to enjoy freshly baked muffins and a cup of black tea (with sugar and milk :-) ). You cannot visit Ireland without drinking a nice cup of tea ;-). At around 2pm the students waved good-bye and off they went to their last activity of their school language trip: a visit to the famous Blarney Castle. Thankfully the weather was beautiful - really warm and sunny and no sign of rain! They climbed up to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney stone, strolled along the "Poison Garden" and stopped at a tuja tree that is a perfect location for a group photo shoot. They also climbed up the "Wishing Steps" (backwards and with eyes closed) to get a wish granted. It was a nice afternoon.
Monday morning was a shorter school day (three lessons until 12.30 o'clock) as the afternoon and evening were filled with lots of activities. First they met with Barry, our tour guide, in Kinsale at St. Charles Fort, where the guided tour started. The students learned a lot about this little fishing village and its history. A big battle took place in 1601. There are also stories about the "Giant of Kinsale", pirates and "The white Lady". The tour was finished at "Dino's" fish restaurant. The students got a "Fish & Chips" portion and a drink to take away and they all sat down at the pier and enjoyed their meal. Afterwards the bus driver brought them to the cliffs at "The Old Head of Kinsale". The view is stunning from there - onto the cliffs, the coastline and the Atlantic ocean. Later on they stopped at the sandy beach of Garrettstown and all students could not resist - they had to test the water :-). It was not too cold...
In the evening the group met back at St. Mary's school where they were welcomed by Fionan, the ceili teacher. He showed them typical Irish dance moves. The students were dancing so well, that they had learned six different dances at the end of the lesson! It was a fun evening with nice Irish traditional music in the background, lots of taps ("one, two, three, on the spot an one, two, three"), turns and swings!
Everyone was allowed to sleep in and to enjoy a typical Irish breakfast made by the host families. It was a lovely day, with some sunshine in between. Some of the host families brought their students to a village called "Cobh" where they strolled around at the pier and looked at the world's largest privately-owned cruise liner MSC Meraviglia. The cruise liner can host 5,700 guests across an impressive 19 decks!!! Others went to Crosshaven, a seas-side town with the oldest yacht club in the world. It was a relaxed Sunday for everyone.
It is a beautiful day today - sunshine, heat and blue skies. If you would like to track the weather here in Ireland, the best website is the Met office. Today in school the English teacher Lucy asked the students to design a product of their dreams and Peter sang and analysed the lyrics of a few famous Irish songs. After school, the students will be picked up by our bus driver and they will head to Cork City for a guided tour around town with stops at the campus of Cork University College, St. Finbarr's Cathedral and the famous English Market that was visited by the English Queen in 2011. The English Market is famous for its produce of fresh meat, fish, cheese and vegetables. Afterwards the students will have some free time to stroll around and to go shopping some souvenirs.
Today is the first day of English lessons with Lucy and Peter at the H2 International Academy in Minane Bridge. Minane is a lovely little village about 15min south of Carrigaline in the Irish countryside. Lisa, a member of the H2 team, welcomed the students and introduced them to their teachers. They had to complete a short placement test and the student were then split into two smaller groups. The lessons are already over and the students are now walking over to the local GAA pitch. They will have Gaelic sport lessons taught by two trainers of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The students will practise their skills in Hurling (An outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin. The game has prehistoric origins, and has been played for 3,000 years) and Gaelic football. Let the games beginn! :-)
In the morning they were picked up by Michael again. The group was shortly joined by the tour guide who showed them around Dublin City, stopping at Georgian houses, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Phoenix Park. The park ist the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. It was originally formed as a royal hunting Park in the 1660s and opened to the public in 1747, a large herd of fallow deer still remain to this day. Nowadays, the park is used a an amenity area for many Dubliners and tourists. Later on in the day the students had some free time to stroll around the city and to explore Dublin themselves. At 2.30pm they headed to the south of Ireland to meet their host families in Carrigaline. They all had a nice dinner and enjoyed some getting-to-know-each-other time with their host families.
The students from Ella Lingens Gymnasium arrived ahead of time to Dublin airport. The weather was pleasant with sunshine and warm temperatures. They were picked up by a member of the Irish H2 team, Michael, who is also our bus driver. The students spent the first night in a hostel in Dublin City centre. Beforehand, they went for some dinner in the famous Temple Bar quarter which is a lively riverside neighbourhood, spread over cobbled pedestrian lanes and filled with buskers, pubs, restaurants, quirky boutiqes and galleries.