Our class trip to Ireland
A “Studienfahrt” is like a wedding: You plan it, you talk about it for months and organize every single minute of it. And suddenly time has passed pretty fast and the big day has come. Our big day was the 29th of September. We met at Koeln/Bonn Airport and with two hours delay we took off. We arrived at Dublin airport at 6 pm with a “bus“ waiting for us. No, it was not a bus – it had more similarities with an extended car. We had to place our luggage wherever it was possible. The bus tour was an adventure for itself and we were glad when we arrived at Isaac’s Hostel which looked pretty neat. Every room at Isaac’s Hostel was very unique. For example, with 7 people in it the boys room had a very interesting, almost breathtaking atmosphere. And the girls’ room had a window.
On the first evening we discovered Dublin downtown or mostly its supermarkets because we were looking for some yeast to make a pizza dough. After about half an hour we felt like hunters in the deep forest desperately trying to bag some fresh, delicious yeast for our next meal, only to end up miserably without any sign of the product.
The next day started with a large breakfast. Then Alyssa guided us through the city, accompanied by an app called “Discovery Trails”. She took us along some special places like the St. George’s Arcade, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse. The defeat of the previous day’s hunting trip still in mind, we decided to take it easy this time and entered a nice pub for some “Fish n’ Chips”. Strengthened, we returned to our hunt for yeast. At the end we were so desperate that we went into a bakery and asked where to find it. They sent us to a little Polish shop where we finally succeeded. Thank God for our pizza!
On the next day we visited the Museum of National History or, as the locals refer to it, “the Dead Zoo“, which is actually a pretty accurate description of the museum itself. A chill ran down our back when a thousand eyes were following us as we entered the exhibition room. It was filled to the ceiling with stuffed animals of all different kinds. From birds and bugs to large mammals like lions and whales. It was pretty impressive being eye to eye with some of the most deadly, rarest and sometimes cutest animals on the planet.
In the afternoon we watched a performance of Shakespeare’s „A Midsummer Night´s Dream“. At first glance it appeared to us as a serious adaptation until the actors destroyed the whole scenery, spread beer and food on the stage and threw bagles into the audience. It does not sound like it, but it was still really close to the plot and turned out to be hilarious from the beginning to the end.
In the evening we got in touch with the locals. We walked to a pub which was a little bit off. As we stepped in we looked into about 20 old but golden faces. They all welcomed us warmly and started talking to us. At the beginning we did not quite get what they were talking about because of their strong Irish accent.But they seemed to be nice and after a couple of beers we just kept talking. They could not believe that we were from Germany and said that we speak like locals. We still do not know if this is a compliment.
On Day 4 we made a trip to “Howth”. What sounds like a place from „Lord of the Rings“ is rather the setting of a Rosamunde Pilcher novel. After we took the train from Dublin to Howth, a wonderful, idyllic village lay to our feet. Wide green fields, small houses at cliff sides and a beautiful harbor. Our plan was to crest the cliffs. At this point we all understood why Mr. Kessel became a teacher of English instead of mathematics. Because all of a sudden fifty meters in height felt like 150 m. But in the end it was all worth it. The view was amazing.
On our last day in Dublin we first visited the “Dublinia Museum”. We imagined a boring history museum, but the place invited us to a little time travel from medieval Dublin up to the time of the vikings. It was an interactive exhibition: We were able to write a few letters in viking language and even put on some of their clothes – and in the end we actually learned something. To sum up, a very productive start into the day. Afterwards we went to St. George´s Arcade for lunch. It is the Dublin version of a shopping center and has actually more similarties to a peddlers market. Many little shops with some stalls in the center. In one of those we met a guy who was selling burgers and fries. We ate some delicious burgers at his booth and he turned out to be a pretty funny guy. We talked about his life in Dublin and stole probably one hour of his lifetime asking tourist questions. He told us that his daughter is currently working in Frankfurt and that he already has been to Germany to visit her. In the end we bought him a small card with an invitation to come and see us in Cologne since he did not like it in Frankfurt.
After having been in Dublin for five days already, our natural inexhaustible thirst for knowledge kicked in and made us move to the next educational institution – the National University of Ireland in Galway on the west coast of the green isle.
Prior to the trip we had mailed the university and organized ourselves a guide. Roger, a student of marine biology in his 4th year took us around the university and showed us the places to be. After our thirst for knowledge was quenched, we went to the students’ hall to fill our stomachs with the various goodies on offer – and all of this for a very reasonable prise.
In the afternoon we visited an “escape room”. We got ourselves locked into in a room for 60 minutes and lived up to the challenge of escaping. After having solved 20 odd riddles, we managed to get out. It was a fun experience.
In the evening we went to Monroe´s Bar. In this old-fashioned Irish pub we learned something about traditional Irish dance. And how to drink some delicious Irish whiskey while watching people that actually could dance. About 30 people, which probably had never met before, danced together with a live band as one unit. That was pretty amazing to see. And after a while, and some pints, it felt just like home.
“No, no, trust me. You can dance!
– Your 4th pint of Guinness
At the end of the trip we were all happy to go back to Germany to see again our families and loved ones. But we were also sad to leave such a great place behind. We all fell in love with the country, its atmosphere and its people. It was a great adventure to visit a foreign country and it leaves us with some unforgettable moments and memories. We also considered ourselves very lucky to have Mr. Kessel and Mrs. Kohlstadt with us. They were organized very well and were always prepared, always ready to help and in the evening they were always the first people from our group to go to the pub. What else could you wish for?
(students from Q2)