BLue Countries Newsletter # 3

Mobility in Strabraggan NS, Arigna

May 19th-May 24th 2019

On Monday morning, all our visitors were welcomed to the school. The oldest in each family held up a sign saying welcome in the other countries languages; Italian, Polish, Irish, Greek, Romanian and Estonian.Some songs, tunes and statements about the importance of water were included in this ceremony.

Pupils went on an Environmental trail, where they found loads of different bugs, plants and trees. First, we walked around the path and showed our hosts the school grounds. They then went down to Lough Allen- our own water reserve on our doorstep and did some gardening in the polytunnel with Wayne from Knockvicar Organic Centre. Co-ordinators spent this time reviewing and discussing the lipdub and project activities for this year.

After lunch everyone went to the Arigna Mining Experience. There we were told about the layers of resources in the ground such as dirt, black diamond and many more in the local Arigna Mountains. We were shown how the mine carts went in and out. After that the guide showed us how they would blast their way through the rock with explosives and mine the coal and he showed what would happen when the bombs would go off by pushing down a lever. The whole mine was thrown into darkness.!!

At 4pm, we went to Tommy Earleys farm. We went on a walk and stopped in a wetland and Karen from Water Communities took some insect samples from the pond.. The creatures in the pond reflect the water quality. Next we continued to walk towards the lake. Beside the lake there was a bog.It was explained to us why bogs are so important to lakes and rivers. At the lake we found more water creatures.

Later that evening pupils returned to their host families and teachers travelled to Carrick-on-Shannon for some dinner.

We think everyone had an enjoyable first day in Ireland.

Trip to Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Station

On Tuesday 21st May 2019 we visited Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Power Station in County Clare.

Before we went in we had to put safety gear on which was hard hats, hi-vis vests and glasses.

Ardnacrusha was opened in 1929. It supplied all of Ireland’s energy when it opened. It was the largest hydroelectric station in the world at the time. When it was being built there were 33 fatalities . It currently supplies 2% of Ireland’s energy.

The guides showed us around the hydroelectric station and explained how the Shannon's water was harnessed and fed into the station via a canal. They explained the process of producing the electricity. it was really informative for pupils and teachers alike.

Pictures from the Day

Bunratty Folk Park & Castle

Bunratty Castle is a really old and historical castle. It is located in Co Clare on the shores of the River Raite. There is also a Folk Park attached to it. Bunratty Castle is a very large castle with a magnificent great hall with lots of historical furniture. It also has a very interesting staircase that is full of traps. In the Folk Park there are lots of cottages, shops, a school, and lots of different animals. There is an ice cream shop also next to the playground. When we were finished we went to the gift shop to buy souvenirs so everyone can remember their trip to Bunratty castle.

About forty minutes down the road we went to have dinner in a hotel in Gort Co Galway. We had a large variety of choices.

We really enjoyed our day but we were all tired at the end of the day.

Wednesday 22nd- Watermills & Windfarms

On Wednesday, pupils were mixed into groups. They were given hydrokits and from this were given specific watermills.Each group made a water mill which they thought wouldn't work but it did work and we also the other pupils worked with their host families. The types of mills made were hammer mills, sawmill, water towers , fountains and a water wheel with generator. It was an interesting & productive morning.

In the afternoon, We travelled by bus to the highest point in Roscommon to visit the windfarm at Altagowlen.

The highlight of the trip was visiting the inside of one of the windmills. The first windmill in Arigna was built in 1997. Pupils were shown the building that stores the electricity made from the windmills. We wish to thank Sheila Leyden for sharing her knowledge and time with us.

Thursday 23rd

In the morning, co-ordinators held a meeting to finalise mobilities for the coming year and to discuss up-coming project activities.

The main target for the day was to perform a lip dub using the song by Michael Jackson called The Earth Song. We first practised in the classroom then we went to practice outside and Miss McCabe opened all windows so we could hear it perfectly from outside.

After practising a few more times, We all walked down to Lough Allen Lake. We worked very hard until we got it right. We went down to the lake because our project theme is water. Everybody enjoyed going down to the lake as it was a lovely morning. Dermot Leyden filmed the lip dub and he did a wonderful job. Everybody enjoyed the lip dub and had a fantastic time.

In the afternoon, pupils went swimming and we said farewell to our Polish friends. In the evening time pupils enjoyed their last evening with their families whilst teachers enjoyed the splendour and history of Kilronan Castle.

Departure Day

It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to our project partners and their wonderful pupils. we all gained so much from the shared experience and knowledge that our week brought. We were thankful for the excellent weather as we could show off our beautiful countryside to its fullest potential.

We look forward to a second exciting year in the project and especially our exchanges to Tartu, Rethymno and Galati.