Day 1, Wednesday 20th September 2017
The excitement began on the morning of Wednesday the 20th of September, as we all headed to school with our suitcases and backpacks stuffed with tea bags, milk and sweets galore for good measure. We all piled into the gym hall to unload our hefty bags. Ms. Ferris and Mr. Brennan already looked exhausted at the site of a hundred odd teenage girls. Many girls set out to Supervalu to stock up on pot noodles and chocolate. The enthusiasm was in the air with high expectations of the ‘greatest trip ever’. At 11:30 we all loaded up on to the buses with our speakers at the ready and tunes in our heads.
The hope of catching a snooze on the bus was crushed as we reached Kippure in no time. The constant snacking on the bus was seemingly insufficient as everyone rushed to get to their house to eat lunch. The exploration of the houses was cut short by the announcement of our afternoon activities. Looking up at the dark, cloudy sky, everyone silently prayed they wouldn't be going kayacking today.
Those who were assigned to go kayacking were hopeful that the weather would pick up as they hopped back on a bus and travelled to a nearby lake. Luckily the wetsuits provided were substantially dry which made the process of changing a lot easier. Time was given to make sure everyone was aware on what they had to do before we paired up and began kayacking. The rain and cold weather dampened nobodies spirits as we laughed and had fun, aiming to not capsize. Ms Moore braved the waters also, not missing the chance to catch every moment on her go pro.
We were faced with different tasks and challenges while in the water, one including sitting up and kneeling while continuing to paddle our way to land. Our team-building skills were needed as we were posed with the challenge of making a raft with our kayaks while still staying afloat in the water. We worked together and managed to complete the task successfully. The bus arrived back in time for a quick but well needed hot shower before dinner which included delicious choices of lasagna, curry or spring rolls for the vegetarians.
After dinner we commenced our evening activities. Half the group went outside to complete team-building activities and the other group proceeded inside where we were split into smaller groups. Our creativity was put to the test for these activities as we were to make a "bottle rocket" suitable to be filled with water and shot into the air. The stakes were high as a competition was formed to see which teams rocket could fly the furthest. The time limit put the teams under pressure and caused them to work swiftly but efficiently. The products produced were quite impressive but team three were presented with the crown (or bag of jellies in this case) as their rocket shot the furthest and fastest. Another activity involved dropping an egg from a height, making sure it didn't crack. Our job was to make a protective shell for the egg to sit in, however nobody was successful.
Supper was provided and everyone was back in their houses by 9pm. The nucleated distribution of the houses allowed everyone to easily pop in on their other friends before bed. The busy day and promise of another one tomorrow had everyone in bed reasonably early and asleep as soon as their head hit the pillow.
Day 2, Thursday 21st 2017
We were awoken by our alarms at 8 o’clock, we swiftly got dressed and ready for the day. We made or way upstairs and exchanged smiles with our roommates, too tired to talk. At 9 o’clock we walked to breakfast, a selection of cereals, toast, yoghurts and sausages were available, along with tea and coffee of course. I took my pick and sat down, we talked about what the day had in store for us. My group was doing Bush craft in the morning and orienteering in the afternoon.
At 10 o’clock we walked with our instructors to the forest where we were to build a shelter, find food, cook the food, then perform a song and dance for the judges. A daunting task but we got on with it. Three girls from our teams set off on the task of finding the food whilst the remainder of us got to building the shelter. I had absolutely no idea how we would go about it, but luckily a member of our group was a very experienced scout, so she took initiative and taught us how to build a sound structure. Once the three scavengers arrived back with the food I took the job of making a decent meal out of it. We were supplied with some sausages, bacon, a bell pepper, some mushrooms, a tomato, a serving of pasta and a tortilla. In the end, we had come up with questionable wrap that I probably wouldn’t have eaten if it was the last thing on earth. We performed a hastily choreographed rendition of YMCA, but it was entertaining none the less.
After lunch, which was a delicious chicken burger and chips, we set off again into the woods on our mission to find all the points on the map, which was surprisingly difficult as we ended up with only 800 points out of a possible 10,000. Nothing to be embarrassed by though as it was quickly forgotten. We came home to a warm roast dinner and team building games afterwards. At about 8:30 we were called into the marquee and we were told that in our houses we had to come up with a skit to perform for the teachers. We were given a list of words to include and a selection of props that needed to be used. With ½ an hour to come up with something, we ran home as fast as we could and started brainstorming. We ended up performing a skit about the 2016 Presidential Election, which got a good few laughs but alas didn’t win. We all went straight to bed that night, exhausted.
Day 3, Friday 22nd September 2017
The next day, the departing blues were starting to set in. All of us were determined to make the most out of our last activity. My group were doing the bush craft activity. We all walked into the woods, following our instructors. We had to complete the tasks of making a waterproof shelter, constructing a fire, and cooking a meal on it. We got to work straight away and started gathering branches and leaves to make the best shelter ever. We worked as a team and made it our mission for our dish to be the best. We chopped up the ingredients and started using the utensils given to us to fry off the food. We managed to make a pasta dish with sausages, sweet potato and onions and peppers. Although it didn’t taste the best, it was the fun making it that counted. Finally, we had our last meal, and took our big group photo. We said goodbye to this magical and fantastic trip. It was everything and more than we expected it to be. By the end of it all, we were all exhausted, and came back to the school with the memories that we will cherish forever.
The trip was an all round success and we will all remember it in many years to come!