ICE 2016 – Final Project Trip to Dublin
An early start was needed for the beginning of ICE’s 2016 adventure as 12 Guides and 3 Leaders met at Newcastle airport. Once goodbyes were said and pictures taken, the group headed through the airport, an easy and swift process, and it wasn’t long before we were safely aboard the flight to Dublin International Airport. On arrival we were met by 3 Leaders from Portmarnock who took our luggage while we waited for the bus and squeezed in a quick lunch at McDonalds! It wasn’t long before we were unpacked and ready to explore our home for the next 5 nights. Just a short walk took us towards the supermarket and then the beach, shoes and socks off, in for a quick paddle and photo opportunity. The day was rounded off with the newspaper game where patrols had to compete to complete a range of challenges and satisfy the judges high standards.
Our first full day saw us heading to the beach for our first community project – beach clean-up and sand dune preservation. The mornings effort saw 12 sacks of rubbish collected and two areas of the dunes planted with marram grass roots collected as part of the clean-up. As the marram grass grows it helps secure the dunes so when storms come the sand is held in place. It was extremely satisfying seeing the rubbish mount up and the dunes becoming clearer. A few residents came over to thank us for our hard work. Lunch was well earned followed by an ice cream before catching the bus to Swords for an afternoon at the cinema. It was difficult to stay awake in a darkened room after a hard morning working! The day was rounded off with a lovely meal out.
Tuesday was an opportunity for a lie in – greatly appreciated by all! The morning was spent practising songs for the nursing home, we quickly learnt that although we all knew the same songs there were small variations so we had to decide on the same version for everyone. An early lunch was had ready to set out for the bus to Raheny. One of Portmarnock’s Brownie Leaders met us at the nursing home to introduce us to the residents. After a shy start everyone sang their heart out and put lots of smiles on the residents faces, and in return the residents sang to us. The Guides helped to hand out tea as they chatted to residents, explained why they were in Ireland and what they had done so far. Once the tea cups were cleared away the girls made paper flowers, more opportunity for chat. As a thank you, the home provided us all with sausage, chips and Rock Orange (Ireland’s version of Fanta, a new favourite with us all!).
Wednesday was back to an early start as we had a bus to catch to take us to Swords so we could walk to Brackenstown for the morning’s community action. The girls were asked to make booklets for the Parish Priest to take to homes when a loved one has died. The booklets contained music suggestions and readings that the family can choose from for a funeral. Such a simple thing to do but the end result will bring much comfort in times of loss. Once 300 booklets have been collated, stapled and packed it was time to visit the local food bank to hear of their work and see the packages given out to those in need. The morning flew by and it was soon time to leave to head back to Swords for lunch and shopping. In the evening we were joined by Brownies, Guides, Seniors and Leaders from Portmarnock for a campfire – though due to the weather it was an ‘inside campfire’. Songs, chants and repeat after mes were shared, new songs learnt and lots of laughter along the way. A quick drink and s’mores was needed before we tried Irish dancing – time for more laughter as the Leaders struggled to follow instructions!
Thursday – a day for sightseeing and souvenir shopping. One bus and dart train later the group arrived in Dublin city ready for sightseeing aboard the Dublin Tour Bus, our driver shared lots of local knowledge and history as we made our way around the city. No rest, quick lunch before walking to the National Leprechaun Museum. Our guide explained the significance of leprechauns in Irish history and we heard stories of the cheeky little people. Our favourite part of the museum was when were shrunk to one third of our size so we could experience life as a leprechaun – it was hard work climbing on the giant furniture but great fun! All to soon it was time for tea before catching the train back to Portmarnock. The day was rounded off with an awards ceremony and memories of the week.
An early start again as our host Leaders collected us for the airport at 6:45! Once through security, pancakes were enjoyed for breakfast, much needed after our early start. Before boarding we had time for a few selfies! Everyone boarded the plane with thoughts of meeting family at the other end. Goodbyes were said, hugs were given as the 15 members of ICE 2016 made their way home. Not the end, but the beginning of the next stage of everyone’s guiding journey.