The TY trip to Kippure, Co. Wicklow began on Wednesday 24th September, 2014. As we stepped onto the school bus which would take us to Kippure we were all filled with excitement and undoubtedly looking forward to the adventure ahead. When we arrived, half of the group were chosen go to a nearby lake and go kayaking. I was really looking forward to this particular activity as I love water sports and kayaking is always such good fun. Donning wetsuits, life-jackets and helmets, over 50 of us boarded the kayaks and set off in groups of two or three. First, we played a game called 'Chicken' where we paddled head-first into another boat and whoever 'Chickened - Out' first was the loser. Everyone then attempted to swap kayaks with another group without capsizing their kayak or falling in! This was hilarious and scary at the same time as the almost-black water did not look terribly inviting. After everyone paddled around for bit and messed around capsizing each other’s boats, we all lined up side-by-side. We were each given a number and when the instructor called your number you were to run across the kayaks and swap positions with the other person! Kayaking was one of the best activities on the trip in my opinion. Everyone really enjoyed it and we all had a great time!
On the rainy Thursday morning, a group of us were brought on a trek into the woods. We were all anxious to see what was in store. When we arrived, the four mentors split us up into teams of eight people and we were told that we would all compete in the ‘Bush-tucker Survival Challenge’. They explained that each team will be working together to cook outdoors and build a shelter big enough for us all to sleep in overnight. We had two and a half hours to complete the challenge. Excited to take on this task (and eager to win!), we set out to mark our territory in the woods and to find a place suitable to build our shelters. We then allocated two people to find our food, that was hidden somewhere in the area. They were given a map to navigate their way to the food cache. Everyone else pitched in to gather materials, big, tall sticks from nearby trees to build the base and also lots of leaves and moss, to fill in the gaps. We were told that it had to be able to hold up against the wind and rain. We built our shelter in a tepee shape.
When the girls arrived back after finding our food, we allocated three people to begin preparing the food. In the box were some meat, veg, pasta and some pita breads. We were also given some water, oil, and some cooking utensils. Everything we needed to make the food edible for the mentors. We built the fire pit by arranging big rocks in a circle. We then collected some thin twigs and placed them carefully on top of each other. One of the mentors came around and started the fire with a flint striker and after a while we got a flame. We had to source enough wood to keep the fire going as if we were spending the night. After a while (which felt like forever!) everything was ready to be served to the mentors. We had found a big square shaped plank of wood, which we used to make a table. We also salvaged some small tree stumps which the mentors could sit on. Two of us made a sneaky trip to the mentors’ base where they had hidden some napkins, plastic knives and forks and some paper plates and we set the table! The mentors came and grudgingly ate the food. We were expected to provide them with some light entertainment while they dined, so we plucked up some courage and danced badly around the fire. After all the groups had been judged, we all gathered around to hear who had won. They announced the winner and believe it or not, it was our group! Afterwards we all toasted marshmallows over the fire. This was by far my favourite thing we did on the entire trip and it was great to get to know new people in my group and we all got along so well! We had such craic making the food, building the shelter and attempting the keep the fire going. It was something none of us had ever done before so we all had to channel our inner girls guide and work as a team to get the job done.
On the last day of the trip half of the group undertook the orienteering activity. We were exploring the beautiful scenery along the mountains in which we came across the forests and the animals in which it entails. The large group of about fifty six students was split into teams of six. Each team was assigned a GPS, a map of the estate and a log Table in order to help us find the locations needed. Our mission was to find as many of the co-ordinates as we could and there locations. Along the journey we saw animals such as badgers, frogs and beautiful birds. After about two hours of intense walking it was time to retreat back to the instructors that were waiting patiently in the main room to collect our log sheets and calculate the winning team. The well-deserved winning team received a huge tub of heavenly jellies. We then had some delicious soup and bread before our journey back home to Balbriggan.
We can all happily say that the 2014 Transition Year trip to Kippure, Co. Wicklow has yet again lived up to its high expectations. The TY Blog committee have been inundated with students recalling wonderful, funny stories about the trip. It is safe to say that we faced many activities that were challenging but fun and in return brought everyone in the year closer. To summarise we would all agree that the trip cemented a positive outlook on the upcoming year ahead. We would highly recommend the trip for next year’s Transition Year students.
Many thanks to Rebecca Hughes Moore, Kelly Murphy, Laura Cody and Orla Moule and for this contribution.