Sixth form trip to Dublin
7 Dec 2011
After a relatively early start, the journey to Heathrow went surprisingly smoothly, allowing for a stroll around Duty Free and a bite of lunch before boarding our Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. Despite arriving in the afternoon, we managed to pack a surprising amount into our first day. After dropping off our bags at the hotel we had some free time to explore the surrounding area. The evening began with at an Italian restaurant with a dinner of pasta or pizza followed by a tantalising choice of deserts. Feeling very satisfied, a visit to The Abbey Theatre to see ‘Juno and the Paycock’ was the perfect way to end the day. This touching play followed the lives of the Boyle family during a time of Civil War in Ireland during the 1920s. Watching the play in the city concerned emphasised the tragic events that unfolded, drawing attention to Ireland’s troubled past.
On day two we had the opportunity to visit the Book of Kells Museum at Trinity College. As an English Literature trip, our visit would have been incomplete without the opportunity to see this remarkable illuminated manuscript that has been preserved for over 1200 years. The museum was situated in the heart of Trinity College, so this was an ideal time to explore one of the world’s most prestigious universities. In the afternoon, we spent some free time wandering around St Stephens Green; a picturesque park situated in the city centre. This was followed by a Viking Splash tour, which was undoubtedly a novel way to visit Dublin’s main tourist attractions. After being given our own Viking helmets, and encouraged by an enthusiastic driver, we were soon into character. The tour began with a drive around the centre of the city and ended with an alternative perspective from the Grand Canal Docks. In the evening, we were given some free time to explore Temple Bar. There were plenty of restaurants and traditional Irish pubs to give everyone a choice of where to eat. That evening the rain began to fall, but we thought little of it.
Nevertheless, by the third morning, it was evident that the rain showed no signs of stopping. However, equipped with umbrellas and waterproofs, it was going to take more than that to stop us. Our final full day in Dublin was crammed with cultural visits to The National Gallery, The National Library and the Dublin Writers Museum. These all provided evidence of Dublin’s rich literary culture, particularly noting Yeats, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. Having attempted to resist over indulging during the day, the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet had been long awaited. Despite the unrelenting rainfall, we arrived, and everyone was quick to tuck into their first of many plates of food. Some time later and barely able to move, we managed to make the soggy walk to The Gate Theatre to see our second play of the trip ‘The Speckled People’. After drip drying in the lobby and squelching to our seats, we soon warmed up and were able to enjoy this poignant production. Set in the 1950s, the play addressed the issue of the dying Irish language, emphasising the loss of Irish identity. It was a surprise to us all when we arrived back at the hotel to find that the building had lost power. After safely reaching our rooms, we were visited by staff who provided us with torches, and we began to pack for our departure the following day.
Despite the lack of power, we were all pleased to find the buffet breakfast was still with us on our final morning. After some last minute packing, and ensuring we hadn’t left anything in the darkness of our rooms the night before, we met in the lobby awaiting the coach to the airport. Once again, the journey ran smoothly and we had soon arrived safely on home ground. The trip was a huge success and we all left with many entertaining stories to tell.