On Tuesday it was already time to say our good-byes to the green island. We would miss it all, but also we were very happy to see our family and friends again and share the experiences we made over here. Thanks for a great trip!
Very early on Monday morning we were brought to Dublin, the capital of Ireland. We said our good-byes to our host families, who were so kind and friendly to us. Some of us relaxed on the bus, some fell asleep, but when we arrived in Dublin we were all excited to see a bit more of this city. The tour guide jumped on the bus and we drove around the center, where we saw all the famous buildings (i.e. St. Patrick’s Cathedral) and got to know the historic background of Dublin. It was quiet nice today, so we didn’t have to hurry when taking pictures. When the tour finished, we were all ready to explore the city by ourselves. We took a walk around the city center, drank a coffee or tea, had something to eat and got a little shopping done, before we will be going back to Austria tomorrow. Later in the evening we all met at the cinema and got to choose which movie who wants to see. That was really a great finale to our stay here and we really enjoyed seeing so much. When we checked in our Hostel we were excited to fly home and couldn’t wait to share all the things we experienced and learned here in Ireland.
On Sunday we woke up at our own time, because we didn’t had to leave for English classes. It was the last full day in County Cork and with our host families. So some of us got a great experience in tasting the traditional Irish breakfast with them. Some went to the beach or just for a walk and talk with the host families. Either way we had another good opportunity in getting to know them better, before we were leaving for Dublin the next day. So we made the most out of it! For the afternoon we went to Kinsale, a pretty and historic little town on the very south of County Cork. We saw little ships, boats and colorful houses when we arrived at Charles Fort, a star-shaped fort from where you could see the wide and endless sea. We met our tour guide there and he showed us around this beautiful town. We also got to get a little closer to the sea, when we had a stop at Garrettstown Strand. The sun wasn’t shining, but it was dry and for us all that mattered was beeing by the water and enjoying the fresh sea breeze. What also impressed us was the view from the Old Head of Kinsale. Basically it’s not really a head, but cliffs not far from Kinsale. You can go right to the edge of the cliffs (very carefully of course) and see the water right underneath with a great view and some seagulls flying around, finding the right spot for their nest. What a beautiful country this is! When we were coming back home to our host families, we one more time enjoyed a lovely meal for dinner with them and started packing for Mondays departure to Dublin.
On Saturday we had our final English-classes with our teachers. So we once more enjoyed a morning with our English teachers. At the very end of the final English class we all met in the bug theater room and had a small presentation. Everyone got a certificate and was happy for having such a great opportunity of practicing some English with native speakers. We thanked our teachers again for the great time we had and went back on the bus. After we waved good-bye to Minane Bridge, the College and the teachers, we drove to our next adventure. We went straight to Cobh, a town by the sea with a very interesting history. Cobh was the last stop of the Titanic before its unfortunate journey. So we got to learn more about the ship and the passengers at the Titanic Experience. Everyone got a ticket in form of a boarding pass with a name written on it. At the very end we all stood in a small room. In the exact room 100 years ago few people were standing there as well, waiting for the ship to come and bring them to America. On a big board we could see the names, which were written on our boarding pass. That was a check-list of the people who survived or not. That was a real goose-bump effect!
On Friday we were already in our routine of getting up, having breakfast and going to school. We really enjoyed the English classes we were having with our four teachers. Today would be a shorter day then Wednesday and Thursday, so it was a quiet relaxed Friday morning. Around noon we were picked up and drove to Blarney Castle. It’s well known for the Blarney Stone, which, when you lean over and kiss it, you will get the gift of eloquence. We walked through the garden and saw palm trees, caves and just the beauty of nature. Quiet interesting was to see all the flowers, that are toxic in the Poison Garden. As beautiful as they all looked, as fatal they can be. For everyone who was interested in getting a nice souvenir, we went into the Blarney Woollen Mills, a big shop full of traditional Irish hand craft, such as wool, ceramics and sweets. After we got back home, we enjoyed a warm dinner. But the fun didn’t end today. Our host families drove us to the St. Mary’s school for a traditional Irish dance class. Fionan, our dance teacher, showed us the basics and then we had to pair up to learn how to do the traditional dancing. We had so much fun, but were also quiet exhausted after all that exercise
On Thursday we had breakfast at our host families just like the day before and went to the bus stops, because we had English classes in the morning again. We had some great fun with Lucy, Colin, Jackie and Fiona and we learned a lot while singing songs or playing games. Also we got to know more about the Irish people, culture and traditions. And for the afternoon we were even able to practice some Irish sports. We gathered in front of the H2 College and walked down the road to the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) pitch, where we met our Sports teachers. We split up into two groups and started either with Gaelic football or Hurling. It was really good, getting some exercise and move after a long day of sitting in the class rooms. Afterwards we were quiet exhausted. We drove back to Carrigaline and had some dinner with our host families.
Wednesday began with breakfast at our host families. We talked about the plans for the morning and afternoon, before we walked to the stops, where the bus picked us up. We drove through narrow, windy roads, passed large fields, some houses and got to Minane Bridge. Here in this small village is the H2 College situated. A quiet modern building for such a rural environment. We got a small introduction by the H2 team and got to see who our teachers for the upcoming English classes are: Colin, Lucy, Jackie and Fiona. We then took a quick placement test and were devided into 4 groups. After a short break we got into our classrooms and began the first lesson. We introduced ourselves and the teachers talked a bit about their life here in Ireland. So the first day of English class was all about the Irish: their culture, traditions, music, people… their life! For the afternoon we had a tour around Irelands second largest city planned: Cork city. So we all got collected by the bus and drove to Cork, where we had a small snack before the tour guide jumped on the bus and we drove around. We saw all the famous, important buildings, learned a bit about the history and took as many pictures as we can. We really enjoyed the tour, but having free time afterwards was even better. Some of us did a little bit of shopping, some just strolled around.
On Tuesday our journey to the green Island began. We all gathered at the airport in Vienna to step on the plane, which would take us to Ireland. Everyone was pretty excited and we couldn’t wait to see what this country would be like. When we finally landed in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, we were warmly greeted by the sun and our bus driver, who brought us from the East to the South, Carrigaline in County Cork to be exact. Here we met our host families for the first time. As soon as our names got called out we got into the car and drove to our homes for the next few days. Here we sat, had a small snack (it was quiet late, so we didn’t need a big dinner) and talked for a short while, before we went to bed.