This November, a group of 5th and 6th year geography students went on an incredible trip to Iceland. The four day and three night trip was packed with excursions and activities for the students.
On the first day, students arrived at Keflavik airport in the early afternoon. It was then straight on to the first destination which was the bridge between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Students were left to roam, literally, between the two continents. Next, students boarded the bus again and travelled to the Gunnuhver hot springs where they could see mud pools and steam from the boiling geothermal reservoir in the ground. The last excursion of the day consisted of an unforgettable visit to the Blue Lagoon. At 5pm students and teachers entered the geothermal spa and were given two hours to enjoy swimming around, with an added bonus of mud masks and cold drinks to cool them down in the hot mineral pools. Students were able to experience the wonderful lagoon in both daylight and nightfall.
By then students had worked up an appetite and dined on delicious fish and chips at the traditional Salthúsið restaurant. Tired after an action packed day, the group checked into the 22 Hill Hotel and collapsed into bed before another day of adventure!
On the second day, after an early breakfast, students embarked on a bus tour of Reykjavik city. Next, students visited the magnificent Gullfoss falls (‘The Golden Waterfall’) which is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. Only a few minutes drive from this is the famous geothermal geyser area where students got the opportunity to see the Strokkur geyser, spouting up to 100 feet in the air. Not forgetting to mention stopping to pet the friendly Icelandic ponies unique to the country! This was followed by a scenic walk around Thingvellir National Park to see the beautiful Öxarárfoss waterfall. Thingvellir is also the site of the world’s oldest democratic parliament, amazingly conducted in the open air and founded in 930 A.D. After this, students visited the impressive Hallgrímskirkja Church in the city. The last activity of the day was a trip to the cinema where the group watched the newly released film ‘Joker’, unwinding after a busy day.
On the third and final full day, the first destination was the stunning Seljalandsfoss waterfall at which the students could get very close and even walk behind the torrents of the fall. It was then on to the Reynisfjara black sand beach on the south coast where the striking basalt columns and sea stacks could be seen. Next, students visited the spectacular Mýrdalsjökull glacier boasting nearly 600 square km of blue ice. The final landmark was the breathtaking Skógafoss waterfall. Students could get close enough to feel the spray of the cascading water. Finally, the group enjoyed bowling as their evening activity while eating pizza for dinner.
Early the next morning, the group made their way to the airport and travelled home.
Overall, the trip was a truly unforgettable adventure and the students thoroughly enjoyed this once in a lifetime experience. A huge thank you to Ms. Cuskelly for organising the trip and to Ms. Flynn and Mr. Brehony for also accompanying the group and taking such good care of the students.
Thanks to 6th Year student Carla McCarthy for this report and to Ms Cuskelly for the photographs!