Gorey CS TY Newsletter

Come have a look at the Gorey CS Transition Year Newsletter and read what the year is all about.

Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Gorge Walking — January 25, 2017

Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Gorge Walking

Exhilarating is one way of describing just how great it was. It was the first activity I did when we arrived in Galway. Although we were tired from the early start and long bus journey, we all woke up as we put on the cold, damp wetsuits. Lovely.

The group was split into two and we set off on a bus into the hills to the area where the activity takes place. Even the bus journey was fun. We were driving along the road when suddenly we took a route, presumably a short cut, through fields spotted with rocks then back onto a lane to where we parked the bus.

We hopped out of the bus and the cold wind hit us. My first thought was “What are we getting ourselves in to…” but the thought soon disappeared as the two instructors told us to get into the water and walk up along the stream. They also added “And don’t be screaming about the cold, you’ll get over it lads”.

Yes the water was cold, but I’ve experienced worse. We walked up along the stream, laughing and joking as we watched each other slip, slide and fall on algae-covered rocks.

We came to our first jump. Some people were a bit apprehensive about it but the rest of us just jumped right in. The rush of adrenaline when you jump is indescribable! The instructors were really funny and spent their time cracking jokes and getting to know our names. As we jumped and were mid-air they would sometimes even shout “No! Not there…” as a joke so that we might get a fright, thinking we had jumped into the wrong area of water. Maybe some people didn’t find it funny…but I did!

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As we went along to the different jumps, they got increasingly higher. This challenged some people who were scared of heights. We all encouraged each other but nobody was forced if they didn’t want to.

We then headed back the way we came, only then realising that the water had us no longer being able to feel our toes and hands. Everyone complaining of the same strange, cold sensation in our heads, almost like a brain-freeze, from submerging ourselves under the cold water when we jumped in.

The bus journey back was not quite as cheerful as the cold really set in. But we still joked around and sang along to the radio. It was by far the best activity and a fantastic way to start our Galway experience.


Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Forest Night Walk —

Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Forest Night Walk

On the second night in Galway we went on a night time walk in the forest. Some people went on the first bus load and they raced off the bus and went and hid in the woods to scare the remaining people.

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The bus went back and collected the second load of people and they were in for a massive surprise. When the second load of people arrived at the woods they were told by one of their teachers that their peers were already hiding in the woods and are waiting to scare them. The fear ran through many people as they weren’t excited to be scared.

Many giggles and laughs were had that night as many people frightened one other. The laughs continued all the way back in the bus as we were all laughing at how scared some people got. -Marlene Engelbrecht


Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Land Day —

Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Land Day

On our second peak day, we were supposed to do land activities. It was the only day where we didn’t have to wear wetsuits. We started off hiking through the woods, and after a short time, we stopped to do the first of our team games. We had to lift the whole group over a high hanging piece of wood. After that, we walked on and did more team games, like lift the whole group through a spider web made of ropes or solve two tasks in competition to the other group. That was really great fun.

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After about one and a half hours of walking, we came to a really deep hole, the place where we would do the abseiling. Everyone was really excited, and if got more and more while we got our safety belts on. The hole was about 50-60 ft deep. When the first person went down, everyone was so excited, until we heard the person screaming that he was still alive and on the ground. After all, we all did it and it was great fun.

When all of the games where finished, we headed back to the education center and after all, everyone had a great time.

-Marlene EngelBrecht


Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Water Day —

Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Water Day

Our water day started with us canoeing out to an island where we brought everything we needed for our raft building later. After that we canoed for around half an hour to get to another island where we took a break from the canoeing across the lake and had a quick bite to eat. From there we canoed back to the first island where we left the raft building equipment and ate our lunch while we waited for the other group to canoe back.


Once they had arrived and eaten we walled up a very big hill to get to an obstacle course. Here we were separated into two groups again and were walked through the course and told what we have to do. The obstacle course was a lot of fun but required a lot of teamwork and helping people get past the obstacles. Our teams were very competitive and tried very hard to finish the course faster than the other group. Once both teams had completed the obstacle course we headed back down to start the raftunnamed-1 building.








This in my opinion was the best part of the day. We were given some barrels, rope and sticks and showed one simple knot and were told to build a raft. Although we tried to build our raft well it fell apart within the first 5 minutes we were in the water. We then floated around in the water for a while until we jumped on the other group’s rafts and were dragged back to shore by the instructor in his boat. I really enjoyed the water day and thought it was one of the best days in Galway.


Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Caving —

Galway Petersburg OEC Trip 2016 – Caving

After a long journey to Clonbur Co. Galway after settling in we were quickly off out to do our first activity.

We were then split into two groups, one group of us went caving while the other group went gorge walking. We then went down to the shed down the yard and put on the equipment we needed. We put on our wetsuits, helmets and wellies. When everybody was ready to go we set off in the mini bus down to the cave which was about a 10 minute drive away.  Once the bus stopped we got out and climbed over a fence and walked through a field to get to the cave. There was a stream and a small opening to the cave.

We climbed down into the stream and we all slowly started crouching through the cave. The cave was lit up with beautiful limestone that we were asked not to touch as it is very important to preserve it. It was hard not to grip onto the limestone when we were passing through as the rocks we were walking on were slippery at times.

Half way through the cave our instructor asked us if we’d like to make things a bit more challenging by turning the lights on our helmets off. After we turned our lights off we were then in complete darkness down in the cave and the only guide was the person in front of us where we rested our right hand on their shoulder, we depended on the person in front to guide us through the cave. The turning off of the lights was great because we all had to work together and it was a really good team building exercise.

All the way through the cave there were different leaders at different times which led everyone, everyone relied on the leader to tell them when there were drops in the cave and where you could stumble. At the end everyone was happy to get out of the cave and go back to the centre for a shower everybody really enjoyed the activity and it started the trip off to a great start.

-Rebecca Parry


Caving — October 25, 2015


Tired from the long bus journey up to Galway, we were split into two groups. One group went caving while the other group went gorge walking. We walked out of the warm kitchen down to the shed to put on damp wetsuits, water filled wellies and uncomfortable helmets with torches. We then boarded the minibus and headed down country lanes until we stopped by a field. Everyone was very confused when we were told this was the site of the caves. After climbing over a fence and wandering through a field, we found a small opening with a stream leading into it. The stream led to us into the cave. Our wellies filled with water as we slowly walked through the caves while crouching. We were then asked if we wanted to take the adventurous  route or the easy route. The adventurous route included a crawl through a very small space with twists and turns. The easy route involved a low crouch or crawl under a huge slab of rock. Both of the routes ended in an opening with a beautiful collection of calcite building up limestone features such as stalagmites and stalactites. Some of the walls were a beautiful colour of white from the calcite (or flowstone) which we were asked to kindly not touch so it can be preserved for future generations. The cave was eroded from the river in some places which led to some people stumbling their way through the tunnels. We went down some small waterfalls and around a few winding bends until we reached the end of our journey. We were then asked to walk back through a section of the cave without our torches on. We had to put our right hand on the person in front of us and our left hand along the wall. It made the walk a lot more difficult but it was many people’s highlight of caving and it was a great team building activity. Everyone was happy to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel when we reached the end.

PEAK Day 2 (Water) —

PEAK Day 2 (Water)

Raft building was the start of the peak day with water. We were split into two groups one group went on land and one group went on water. From that the water group was split in half and each group were told to make a raft that could get us across the lake and back. The instructors showed us all the knots we would need and we were told to get to the supplies from a storage place in the woods. Once we got these supplies the group then had to make the raft from what the instructors showed us the night before. Once the rafts were made we then had to launch them in to the water and paddle across the lake, we than had a quick break and brought the raft back across and disassembled it. This was a great experience and we had a lot fun.

Canoeing was an interesting activity for most of us. It was either the breaking or making of your groups there is a lot of funny and memorial stories about the canoeing over to the island for lunch, the obstacle course and then back to the home island. One includes the many capsizing of a particular boat, another boat that was rocked back and forth till it was full to the brim with water and the last was a student fell out of the boat, tried to get back in while flipping it making a teacher as well as another student fall into the water.  The was some interesting stories about the obstacle course also about people falling through a part, getting kicked in the face in the tunnel and the monkey bars being the terror. It was all in all an enjoyable experience.

Gorge-walking —


By far the best activity of the trip. Gorge walking was the first activity I did after we arrived at Galway. The group was split in two and the other half went caving. We took a bus from the centre up into the hills to an area that the centre uses for the activity in Mayo.

The first thing we did when we arrived was admire the sheep ‘waste’ and stone walls. Then we were told to plunge ourselves into the icy cold water which made us apprehensive at the chance of catching hypothermia.

But it is fair to say during this activity we received an immense adrenaline rush surging through our bodies while climbing up rocks, prowling through the river and jumping off ledges.

PEAK Day 1 (Land) —

PEAK Day 1 (Land)


For this we were given a map by our instructor. We had to find different posts and tick off every time we found one. We went in groups of four also to split up and get to know eachother better.We had to walk through the forrest to find some of them, when we found them all we had to go back to the starting point where we were given another map to go to get to the bridge where we stopped for lunch first on the way.

Building Mini Rafts:

We made these after the orienteering and a bit more walking, where we had to collect dead leaves, twigs, etc. to make the rafts. When we reached the bridge we stopped to make our mini rafts where we floated them down the river to see who’s made it to the rock.

Forest Maze:

This was a challenge as we had to navigate through the woods with no instructors. It really tested our team skills as there was many paths to choose from.


This was by far the best task of the day. We had to walk up to the place where they do the abseiling, and were given our harness and helmet. We where then allowed to go down the steps and look at the rock front which we would be abseiling down from.

Our Stay in Petersburg O.E.C —

Our Stay in Petersburg O.E.C

For four days we stayed inside the main house on the Petersburg site. Upon arrival, we all dumped our luggage and valuables at the front door and headed to an assembly, where we were read the basic rules of the place.  “Boys are to use the back stairs; Girls can use the main stairs. Anyone on kitchen duty is expected to be down, in the kitchen, by the required time. And please, show the ghosts the utmost of respect”

Death and haunting seemed to be a common theme on the Petersburg grounds. I myself recall a story about an axe wielding murderer, two dead landlord sons, a drowned baby, and a children’s graveyard. These stories became so frequent, that a lot of us began to get suspicious. Eerily suspicious…

But apart from all that, the house was a generally pleasant place to stay in for the four days. Food was prepared for us while we were out on activities, which was nice, and we had breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea inside the mess hall. Everyone was split into four groups, each taking turns to serve as mini waiters and waitresses throughout the day. They also cleaned up after everyone had scraped their plates off, which proved teenagers inefficiency at washing dishes

Dorms were self explanatorily split between boys and girls, which led to a few episodes, including all the lads sleeping in the same room for a night, together, dreaming peacefully. We were up early enough in the morning each day, the teachers waking us up at around 8 o’clock by knocking on our doors loudly.

In our free time, we had the lay of the land to wander….And primarily stayed inside, playing cards and drinking tea. Every night, we wrote up reflections of the day’s events, our general takes and opinions.  Self improvement and the facilities improvement seemed to be primary themes in the lines of questioning.