5th Year Trip to Athens – Jack Leonard

5th year Trip to Athens

We left Glenstal for Dublin airport at 9 am on Wednesday and everyone was ready to go. We were heading to Athens, Greece, as part of our Leaving Cert Classics course and everyone was looking forward to the trip. We checked in at around Lunch time and our flight was at about 3pm.

Our flight was just over four hours and when we arrived late into  Athens we were all very hungry and tired. We took our bus to our hotel, the Dorian Inn, and got a bite to eat on the fantastic rooftop bar beside the pool. After dinner we all dispersed back to our various rooms and relaxed for the evening.

The hotel was situated close to the underground metro station so getting around Athens was easy and cheap. On our first day we headed out to various museums such as the National Archaeological Museum of  Athens where we saw the gold mask of Agamemnon and the world’s first ‘computer’, the Antikythera Mechanism, and the Acropolis Museum at the base of the rocky outcrop on which the Acropolis still stands. After the museums we began to walk up to the top of the Acropolis where we saw the Parthenon, the Propylaea, and the Erechtheum. It was amazing to see such magnificent buildings over 2,000 years old still standing here even after being burned down.

The sun was beaming and after we got some lunch, we set out for the Agora of Athens and then we all went to the Panathenaic Stadium, the stadium which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. It’s reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium and is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble as well as being one of the oldest in the world. We all ran the 400m and I think it’s fair to say that everyone was shown up by Tim Molony, taking the gold. Everybody had a nice sunburn when we got back to the hotel and went for dinner.

On Friday we we had an early start as we were taking a bus down to Nafplio in the south of Greece. On our way we stopped at Chaeronea to see some artifacts from a war in which Alexander the Great fought the revolting  Athenians and Thebans. After Chaeronea the bus dropped us to Delphi where we went to see the where the famous Oracle would have made her prophecies. We then headed over to see the remains of the walls of Plataea where the greatest ever defence of a city took place. A few of us even took some small rocks from the walls. We arrived at Nafplio, a small seaside town, at around 8pm and went for a bite to eat and some of the lads even went for a swim, prompting many of the locals to stare and even take selfies. We had an eventful night as the manager of the hotel chased us into our rooms if we were on the balconies, shouting at us for no reason. Thus, we christened him “He Who Shouts”.

The next day we left at 10am and stopped in Corinth and at Agamemnon’s Castle at Mycenae. The castle was amazing and is over 3,000 years old. It is an impressive palace even though much of it is ruins now. We then began our journey back to Athens. That night we went for one last big meal after a nice relaxing evening at the hotel. We left for Dublin the next day.

Overall we all had a great and thoroughly enjoyable and interesting trip. To stand on ruins over 3,000 years old that we read and write about in a classroom really gives you a better perspective of the course and a better insight into the lives of ancient Greeks. A big thanks to Ian Murphy for organising the whole trip and for giving us one of the best school trips most of us have had, and Kieren Sparling as well.

Written by Jack Leonard