TY Trip

Transition Year Waterford Greenway Cycle

On Tuesday the 7th February Transition Year students set off on our trip to cycle the Waterford Greenway. We were excited to get off in Waterford after the bus journey down. Although it was quite a long journey to Waterford, it didn’t drag down our hopes for the cycle as any day out of school beats going to classes! I was a bit surprised when I hopped off the bus because we were in the middle of a town –  not the type of atmosphere I expected for a greenway cycle but I put aside my doubts and we all collected our bikes in a shop up the street. When we all were geared up and ready to go, three instructors led us out of the town down a cycling path between the houses. That’s when my hopes for the trip were truly fulfilled. It was like we snuck out the back door of the dull town into the vibrant countryside. The greenway path avoided most roads so we weren’t cycling in single file up a main road. The path also captured the landscape of Waterford with dug in valleys that were covered with a canopy of green leaves on the outstretched branches of the brown oak and vast fields that went on as if they had no end, with cattle scattered among some of them. The cycle itself never seemed difficult, even after 10 kilometres, most of us weren’t even thirsty, but one of the milestone breaks was at a small shop just off the greenway. It was called ‘Siopa Beag’, which we all thought suited it quite well in fact.

We then split into groups to go into the shop so we wouldn’t crowd it with over fifty students at once! After taking our break we set off again. We winded through twisted tracks and even passed through a few tunnels.

One of the most memorable moments though was when we went through a huge dark tunnel just after our break. It took about 5 minutes just to get through it and when we were in it water leaked from the corbelled stone roof spraying most of us as we cycled through with only the distant light from the opening guiding us.

We eventually emerged, soaked, but our minds were quickly elsewhere as we were met by towering walls of mud and rock at each side with curling roots reaching out from the sides. It was like a huge man made valley carved through the ground and paved with a smooth tar road. The finish line came eventually and we all pulled into a large courtyard with huge stone buildings at all sides.

We gave in our bikes and then were given a talk about the history of the place. It turns out it was a workhouse in the Famine and also a base for British troops during the War of Independence. The guide showed us pictures of bridges blown up by the IRA which had been repaired since and made up most of the greenway track. After spending some time at the Famine workhouse we got back on the bus and headed home. Overall I think we got more than we expected out the trip and would love to go again. Thanks so much to our Transition Year Coordinator, Ann Aungier, for organising such an enjoyable trip again for TY class.

Mike Twomey, TY Student

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