A First Hand account by Katie Sinnott and Donabelle Chiong
We met that morning outside the school at half six, unable to see due to the darkness and the fact that none of us were even nearly awake yet.
There were three coach buses waiting for us, once we were assigned our seats we all continued on with our slumber. Somewhere along the border of Meath blue morning light began trickling through and our eyes began to open.
Soon enough the sea came into view and we arrived in the quaint town of Carlingford. It’s unapologetically bright colours struck us mixed with the old, crumbling remains of a castle. It was oddly very beautiful.
Once we arrived at Carlingford Adventure Centre we were welcomed nicely, and were given a run-of-the-mill lecture on the area. Everyone stayed in the sports hall where we we were told our activities for the day and the groups we were in. We all had different activities on at different times but our group’s first activity was the Sky Park, we walked a long time through the muddy pathway which was surrounded by thorn bushes. Even though our newly bought clothes were ruined in a matter of minutes we all had fun trying to get by.
Lots of people did not warm to extreme heights, fortunately there was a good mix of high and low zip-line courses to suit the majority. Before anyone was allowed to take part they had to wear a hairnet and sooner then later all you could see if you looked up were dozens of dinner-ladies hurling through the sky on cables, which looked really funny.
When we returned to the centre we had a lunch of sausages and chips, we had meals in between all activities. We would also have two hours of free time of the day. They would then announce different groups for the rooms. Each room had a number of bunk beds and an en suite.
After lunch we grabbed our day-bags and headed down to the water. We were each given a lukewarm wetsuit and guided into a changing room (which which was actually more like a cubbyhole especially when you put thirty-odd people in it). Eventually we all made it into the water, in twos to a canoe. We rowed around Carlingford Loch for half an hour, shivering as we sailed. Finally we made it to a floating platform. There was a floating trampoline attached to the platform which the instructor would pull inwards and allow three-to-four people to jump onto at a time before they would have to submerge themselves into the icy green sea and swim back to the safety of the platform. Some brave souls dived straight into the sea and straight into regression. Although it was cold it was really fun , we gathered together like penguins in the arctic.
Soon enough we returned home for a hearty dinner of spag-bol and garlic bread, there were two different evening festivities after dinner, our group had to divide itself into teams and take part in a series of challenges. The series of challenges included building a tower out of team member’s shoes, odd balancing acts, a relay race of blowing a ping-pong ball, jumping really far away and worst of all; their most inhumane torture known to man; eating a Weetabix dry.
When all the groups united later that night at around 10 p.m. we as a unit begged and pleaded to our supervisors to let us out to town, after a long time they surrendered and let us out. 150 teenagers lined up outside the smallest chippers in the country was either the lottery or the death penalty for the person behind the counter.
Our first task on our second and last day took place in the forest. Before we were let off up the mountain, we had to be fitted with the correct attire; oversized camouflage overalls and a gun. Like soldiers heading off to battle, we marched up the vertical slope and into the woods. There we were given a lesson on how to correctly use our laser guns, split in half and sent out to kill each other.
After lunch, we had our activity of the trip, our group had a mash-up of archery, trampolining and then an odd sort of thing in which everyone was shut into a shed with three shallow floors, in the dark and forced to find their way out.
Finally, we trekked the muddy trek back to the centre and to the awaiting buses, ready to take us home.
It was a really enjoyable trip, tiring, as so much was packed in but overall really fun. Sometimes the best things about these adventure holidays, that place you in a field of dirt, or a salty, cold ocean, that take you miles out of your comfort zone is the coming home part. Which sounds terrible but it’s truly not, when you’re somewhere doing something that scares you, it makes things seem easier back at home. Whether that be settling into a new class, developing confidence among those around you or just pushing yourself to try something you’ve never done before. That I think is the best thing you can get out of a trip like Carlingford.
A great time was had by all!!!