Ursuline Secondary School

Transition Year Trip to Ballyhass


On Friday the 24th of September, all the TY’s woke up at an ungodly hour to arrive at school on time to catch a bus to Ballyhass which “leaves at 7.15 on the dot, girls.”

We congregated for a little while before the buses arrived, mostly complaining about how tired we were or questioning the life choices of the one girl who decided to wear shorts on a freezing autumn morning.

When the buses finally arrived, we filed along inside, trying to grab seats beside as many friends as possible, and then we were off!

The two hour journey consisted mostly of people trying and failing to sleep, a really bad and really loud Spotify playlist blaring from the back of the bus and many strange conversations mostly centred around cows and horses in fields.

And then finally, we arrived.

We hopped along off the bus and were directed over to this square, gazebo-like structure, where we dumped our bags on the tables and ran to the barrier overlooking a quarry-like bowl which held the jade green lake. (Many photos were taken.)

From there you could see almost all of the centre including the zip lines and water activities.

An instructor then told us to “pick four people you won’t survive the day without and stand beside them.” We were then put into larger groups of around fifteen people and carted off in different directions with our instructors to begin or activities.

I was in group three (The best on by far.), and our first activity was kayaking. One of our instructors was a British guy called Ben and I don’t think our other instructor gave us his name, but I distinctly remember them acting the maggot constantly.

Anyway, as I said we had kayaking first, which I did not actually do, because I am deathly afraid of water. So, while everyone got into their wetsuits and boarded the terrifying things that are kayaks, I sat on a rock at the side of the water and listened to the instructor of another group yell at the girls flying overhead on the zip lines to “Run, run, run, run, run!” and “Put your feet down! Feet down!”

Apparently, I didn’t miss much, just a few rounds of Simon Says and these bright orange fish called Koi. (They’re Japanese.)

Everyone then got out of their wetsuits, and we were handed over to a new instructor called Jed. Jed told us we were going to play “team sports”. (I know, what on earth are they?) They basically consisted of being put into two teams, Green and Pink, and then asked to make a perfect square from six or seven different shapes, using all the shapes. I was on the pink team and (with a little help from Jed. (Don’t say a word!)) we won!

The next team sport was a sort of “X’s and O’s” game. There were nine very misshapen hula hoops laid out on the grass and, in the same teams as before, we lined up and were given three coloured bibs. The aim of the game was to have your three bibs in a row. (Obviously) Our team won again.

After this we were abandoned and told to eat lots and lots of food. Which of course we did, despite being harassed by a wasp we decide to name “Jim-Bob-Joe” who was intent on stealing the open bottle of Lucozade on our table.

We finished our lunch and were then brought over to the “Indoor Arena” and geared up for “Jacob’s Ladder” We were also introduced to another instructor called Jess who was going to help Jed.

We walked to an area where there were these unmentionably tall climbing games. We of course had to do the most terrifying one: “Jacob’s Ladder.” It was essentially a ladder, made out of thick wooden rungs, connected and hung vertically by heavy, metal chains. But obviously, life is cruel and so are ladders and this one especially because the further up you climbed, the further apart the rungs got.

It started at maybe one foot of a gap and ended at well over eight feet. We were reassured that it was perfectly safe and that we would not die if we slipped. The brave soul that I am, I gave it a go but because I am short and not actually good at climbing ladders, apparently, I only got up to the fifth one.

In fairness to me though, I did go up a second time and got up higher.

After the Ladder, we went on a rope swing, which was fun. At this point, I had learned from one of the Spanish students that she learned English after listen to music, so of course we decided to do a singsong! (I must say, she has very good taste in music.)

And then, (finally) we went back to the “Indoor Arena” to gear up for zip lining. They attached two ropes to our harnesses and then we walked to the zip line.

I personally loved this part. The ropes were attached to the zip line, and then you had to run forward and jump off. You flew over the trees and then crossed the lake, through dome more trees and then skidded to a stop on the gravel on the far side. The second zip line was very similar but about twice as long.

After the zip lining, the group went back to the main part of the centre and took off the gear. We collected our things and got back on the bus to go home.

The journey home was vastly different to the journey there, mostly because everyone was exhausted and half asleep. We got back to school at around half six and everyone dispersed and went home, undoubtedly, to sleep for a week.

To conclude, Ballyhass was great, everyone had fun, and no one died!

May 26
Sixth Year Graduation
May 30
Summer Exams -1st, 2nd & 5th Year
Jun 08
State Exams - Leaving Certificate & Junior Cycle
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