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England, Ireland, and Wales Class Trip!
Most of us have seen the UK in either movies, TV shows, and books. The idea of actually going there on a school field trip seems like an impossible dream. But thanks to the help of EF Tours company and our teacher, Mr. Chew's great effort it gave the students the opportunity to fly over the Atlantic Ocean and arrive in London for April vacation.
London is a very fast pace city with new buildings and skyscrapers being built by some of the most creative architects in the world. Even with all this new modern technology making the city grow into a rich metropolis, it still preserves its great history. More often than not you will see ancient statues and cathedrals standing proudly next to modern skyscrapers. Our amazing tour guild named Hedly showed us all the treasures of London. From Buckingham palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, and West Minister Abby, which was the place where the royal wedding took place just a week later. For most parts of the trip Heldy takes us on a tour bus and shows us the sites. Then for a few hours each day we where allowed to explore the city. A group of us went on a boat ride down the River Thames from Parliament to the Tower of London. We then got tickets to see the Tower of London. That place is infamous for its dark history of its prisoners, battles, and of course King Henry the 8th and his many wives. It was surprising to find the place in Beautiful conditions and had a majestic look to it. It was like its own kingdom. It is also home of the royal crown jewels display.
it is now the third day of the trip and we are saying good bye to London and hello to the English countryside. After a couple hour drive we arrived at Ann Hathaway's cottage, not the actress. She was the wife of Shakespeare. If you love flowers you would of loved the cottage's garden. After our stop there we went to Oxford and got to visit the famous Oxford University. After an hour of shopping in Oxford we left and headed for Stanton upon Avon. If you are a fan of Shakespeare this is the perfect place for you. Considering that is his birthplace. We got to walk in his footsteps of his home and see first hand what is childhood was like. After a couple of hours of shopping and seeing street performer here or there, we jumped on the bus and left for Wales. We arrived at night.
the next morning, to get us to our next destination the tour bus drove us through Snowbonia National park. Seeing mountains and lakes, at one point we stopped to take scenic pictures. after driving through the park, the bus was taking us to a Welsh sea side town. we visited the Beaumaris castle. it was like a fairytale castle with the moat and swans swimming around the castle gate. we climbed up the windy staircases and walk on the stone pathways from tower to tower. after that trip to the castle we left to head for the ferry to take us to Ireland. but before we went we stopped in a small town for a couple of hours to grab something to eat and rest. The name of the town in Welsh is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. in English it is translated to "The Church Of Mary In The Hollow Of The White Hazel Near The Fierce Whirlpool And The Church Of Tysilio By The Red Cave". Interesting to find out that it is the longest town name in the world.
We left to go on the ferry and had to say Farewell to Wales. The ferry ride was about 3 to 5 hours long. But with it being the largest ferry in the world it was easy to kill time. The ferry holds over three cafes and restaurants, shops, a casino, and even a movie theatre. We arrived at port in the late afternoon and going to our hotel in Dublin. Come to find that our original hotel booking was canceled, EF tours and Heldy rescheduled for another hotel in Dublin. The luck of the Irish was with us as we arrived at our new four star hotel. Some of the rooms even had balconies.
Day 5 and we are up in the morning getting ready for the day eating at the hotel's breakfast buffet. We left early to visit St. Patrick's Cathedral. The history of the Cathedral was so fascinating with the stain-glass paintings and architect depicting its life story. We arrived there at the right time, because we got to hear the choir sing in the stands. Then we went to Trinity College which is the home of the Book of Kells Exhibit. The book of Kells is by Definition "an illuminated manuscript in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables." the ancient book dates back to the early 9th Century. After seeing the Book of Kells, the tour led to the great library which has over 200,000 books written by some of the worlds greatest writers and philosophers. It is twelve o'clock now and Hedly says we have five hours to explore the city of Dublin. Some of us went to museums, shopping areas, and city parks. One of the most well known spots to visit is the Temple Bar area which has great shops, restaurant, and shows. At five o'clock we had to go to our meeting spot, which was the famous Molly Malone statue. The statue even has it's own song. Dublin is a small city, but it is starting to become a great metropolitan and is beginning to rank up with other great cities in the UK. But Dublin created monuments for the their people who struggled to survive during the Great Potato Famine. They are reminders of how far they have come and not to forget what once was.
Day 6 and we are leaving Dublin and taking the tour bus to the Blarney Castle. It is a famous tradition for tourists and locals to climb to the top of the castle where they kiss the Blarney Stone. If you kiss the stone it is said that you are given the gift of storytelling and gab. After spending a few hours in Blarney we headed over to Killarney. That was where are hotel was so we had the freedom to walk through the streets of Killarney with the view of mountains in the background.
It's Easter in Ireland today! Hedley organized the day perfectly so that everyone could do what they wanted to do today. First, early in the morning, anyone who wanted to go to the Easter service where given the tour bus to take them to a church in Killarney. Then when that was over we where given the choice to go on a horse and carriage ride. Having the right of way in traffic the horses came to our hotel to pick us up and drove us through Killarney National Park. We strolled by beautiful lakes and rich green forests with the sound of the horse's gate playing through our ears.
After the carriage ride the tour bus picked us up and we where off on the road to the Ring Of Kerry. All those famous stories of Ireland with the great mountains which inspired so many of their great myths and legends where surrounding us. We stopped to eat at a seaside restaurant and where given an hour to stay there. Many of us went down to the beach. Earlier we found out that it was the Atlantic Ocean we where visiting. Then we where back on The Ring of Kerry tour. Hedley brought us to one of his favorite spots which was a view of the mountains, ocean, and islands. The simple, most humble word to describe it would be breathtaking.
To say we saw sheep today would be kind of a lie, because we saw sheep pretty much every day on this trip. But today we got to hold and hug lambs. Since it is Spring time, we also got to see many fields with sheep and their newborn lambs strolling on the mountain sides. Our last stop on the Ring of Kerry was of the spot called Ladies View which is one of the most beautiful and well known sights in Ireland.
When we got back to the hotel it was around supper time. There was a bitter sweet feeling in the air for it was our last night of the trip. Most of us where excited to go home and tell our family and friends about the trip, but at the same it was sad to think of actually leaving this amazing adventure. But I'm sure all of us will keep these once in a life time memories with us for the rest of our lives.
Interesting facts we learned on the trip
the carriages for the horse and carriage ride through killarney national park where actually imported from America. They where made by the Amish of course.
Gaelic is an ancient Celtic language that is still formally spoken by the Irish. Many of there street signs where in both English and Gaelic. Heldly had informed us that the Gaelic word for fun is "craic".
The word tires is spelled tyres in the UK.
While in Dublin, our tour bus drove by The Brazen Head which is the oldest pub in Ireland.