|Dublin - Grafton Street|
I had promised myself "never again" after this experience back in 2011. Instead, here I am, I did it again. I'm a repeated offender, so no clemency for me. I totally agree.
Where can I start from? Do you want to know what Dublin was like, my friends? Let's start from the few positive memories.
I posted pictures on my facebook and twitter and they were incredibly sunny and colourful, weren't they? In fact, we were blessed with good weather, which anyone who has been to Ireland at least once knows it is so rare.
Dublin was as lively and welcoming as I had expected it to be. Dubliners were hard-working, helpful, kind, talkative though a tiny bit loud and out of control on Friday and Saturday nights. There was always music and a festive crowd in the city centre, though St. Patrick's day was yet to come (quite soon, since we were there from March 5th to 11th).
My "companions"... that was what spoilt everything, first and above all my mood. The company I was travelling with: 31 teenage students. That would have worn out even the patience of the most enthusiastic traveller in the world.
They were not interested in any of the landmarks or places of historical interest in the city, they didn't want to go sightseeing, they complained all the time even when we were by the sea, in a beautiful tiny village, Howth.
What did they ask for all the time? Here are their FAQs:
Can we go to the MacDonald's restaurant? To the pub? To do some shopping in the city centre? Because, you know, theirs is a generation of desperate compulsive consumers! Ours too, but we are less desperate and less compulsive. At least, I am not. Not at all. Not a compulsive buyer. Desperate ... I may be, sometimes.
Their favourite slogan? "We are young, we want to have fun". Their idea of having fun? Going to a pub. Not many variations on the theme. Oh, yes! MacDonald's.
|Dublin by night|
Useless to wait though: I was and am so sad for not having being able to visit at least St Patrick's or Christ Church that ... What? Didn't I visit the most important medieval churches in the town? Swift's parish? What did I see of Dublin, then? So little in 6 days that I am ashamed of myself. But I could take photos of everthing from outside. That's not bad, is it? (Sighs)
They were at school in the morning, for 3 hours, and my colleague (sorry, I forgot to tell you we were two teachers!) and I spent most of that time studying the map and planning activities and visits for the afternoon, which most of the time resulted in a waste of time. Our students always tried to boycot our proposals and when they granted to follow us, they only wanted to see the places (churches or buildings) from the outside.
It was interesting to read what they had to say in the answers to a questionnaire I assigned them on our return to school. They were all positive and many even wished to go back. They all think it was a memorable experience and are sure it has been useful to improve their language skills. The only one disappointed and negative is ... myself!
May I say, never again? Better not to. I know myself. I know I have to go on travelling with my friends and avoid school trips, but ...Though that's the only way not to face great disappointment, I might do that again. Well, if I have to go on a school trip again, I will demand the trips and journey commettee that any second of the days in the schedule is planned in detail and paid for before the departure. Or I'll pass. My classes will learn English with me but inside their classrooms. Amen.