History Trip to Poland 2019

An account of the trip by Sarah Hillhouse:

One of the highlights of our year was the incredible trip to Krakow, Poland that our teachers Ms Carroll, Ms Browne, and Mr Gibbons planned for us. We all gathered at the school on Sunday 8th June at half eleven in the morning and made our way to Dublin. We were all so excited! After a brief stop in Applegreen we arrived at Dublin airport. Luckily our flight was on time and we arrived in Krakow at about eight in the evening. At the airport we were greeted by our bus driver, holding a sign that read “Holly Rosery”. However, the spelling mistake was made up for by the ridiculously fancy bus. We arrived at the Inter House Hotel and went to our rooms to drop off our bags before heading down to dinner. Ms Carroll encouraged us to spend time together so a few of us gathered in one of the hotel rooms and played games and chatted. Everyone was excited to be in Poland and looking forward to the following days.

Our second day in Krakow was spent visiting the Wawel Royal Castle and the Wieliczka Salt Mines. After breakfast in the morning we layered on the sun cream and got on the bus to Wawel Castle. The castle is an Italian style castle that was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. We were given a tour of the beautiful castle and admired the scenery of the Wista River. After visiting the castle, we made our way to the Salt Mines. When we first heard we were visiting the salt mines many of us weren’t really sure what to expect, but we were absolutely blown away by the tour. The mines cover a total of 2400 acres, and despite spending around two hours there, we only saw 1% of the mines! We were shown the many beautiful chambers in the mines, as well as the remarkable chapel. The chapel had scenes from the bible carved into the walls by miners. According to the tour guide, the walls of the mine were so salty that they killed any bacteria living there, making them completely safe to lick (Which many of us did!). We also visited the Old Town and explored the many markets and buildings there.

On our third day in Poland we visited the German concentration camps, Auschwitz and Auschwitz Birkenau. We had learned about the camps in class, but it was still shocking to see and hear about the terrible things that happened there. We were shown displays of shoes and clothes, among many other things that belonged to prisoners of the camp. We saw real documents signed by prisoners. Our trip to Auschwitz really put the amount of damage done by Nazi Germany into perspective.

Our fourth day started off with a trip to Aqua Park Wodny. We had a ball going down all the slide together. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of one of the sides that put you fully underwater for the last few seconds. That was a plot twist no one prepared me for. Once I got over that I enjoyed pool basketball and a not so friendly game of chicken. After the pool we went to the Galleria shopping center. I made quite a few impulse purchases but who cares, money spent on holidays doesn’t even count! We went into Old town after that and did another bit of shopping. We eventually made our way back to the hotel for our final dinner there.

The last day was spent in the Jewish District in Krakow. We explored the markets and shops there, as well as taking in the scenery and enjoying the sun. After that we travelled to the Old Town where we were given a Segway tour of the main square and the important buildings around it. Everyone loved speeding around the square on the segways and learning about the history of the Old Town area. We then spent a little while shopping before hopping on the bus and heading to the airport. Our flight left at ten at night, Polish time, and after a long day of travelling, we arrived back at HRC at three on Friday morning.

We’d like to give a huge thanks to our teachers Ms Carroll, Ms Browne, and Mr Gibbons for making this trip possible. We had such an amazing time. We are so grateful to have been given such an incredible opportunity to not only learn more in terms of history but to also spend time with our friends and have fun. We really cannot thank you enough. We hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did! I think it’s safe to say that we all had the time of our lives and made memories that will stay with us for a long time.

These are comments by some of the students:

This trip was better than I thought it would be. It was so educational and so much fun especially since my best friends were there to enjoy the experience with me. Our teachers did their absolute best and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’ll never forget it! It was the best ❤️ Kieran Flaherty

One of the best experiences of our school days. A week we will never forget. Alex Park

Auschwitz was an emotional and difficult experience but one which i felt was necessary to understand world history and to ensure the horrors of the past are never repeated in the future – Adah Silke

Made the most unexpected friends and the best memories. I think I’ll always remember this trip and the people who made the trip so amazing. Meadhbh Jordan

This trip exceed my expectations. Before going I didn’t think I would have loved it as much as I did. I think my favorite tour was The Salt Mines. I loved going through the caves and looking at all the sculptures made by ordinary miners. I also loved Auschwitz. However I found it very upsetting but it was an amazing tour and experience that I’ll never forget. One of the highlights for me besides going to Starbucks everyday would have been segwaying through Krakow and getting a tour around Old Town Krakow. I also found this trip really brought us all together and I loved every minute of it. Thanks a million for this amazing experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life! – Ronan Lyons