1st Class School Tour

1st Class School Tour 2019

We had a super day on our school tour to Aillwee Caves. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. While the weather wasn’t as lovely as previous weeks we only faced one shower during the Birds of Prey Flying Display.

The bus journey was a little bumpy heading to County Clare but we survived! On arrival we had a Guided Tour of the cave given by Liz, our tour guide. We learned that there is a constant temperature of 10 degrees celcius inside and this is why the Brown Bear would have chosen to hibernate here many, many winters ago. The bones of the Brown Bear were found over 40 years ago. See http://clareherald.com/2018/07/aillwee-cave-bear-skull-is-10400-years-old-19767/ for more information.

The cave was discovered in the 1940s, when a farmer named Jack McGann followed his dog, who was chasing a rabbit. Some children were very concerned that Jack died in the cave but we were reassured by Liz that he lived to be 90 years of age and enjoyed several explorations of the cave.

We saw stalagmites (grow upwards) and stalactites (fall down), which are formed from calcium deposits not ice as some guessed! We passed over a few narrow bridges inside the cave, saw a waterfall, got our hair wet running under dripping water & enjoyed when the lights were turned off in full. It was very dark & we realised what it would have been like for the Brown Bears. Scary!!

We ate a snack and some treats at 11 a.m., walked in the Woodland Area with Conal leading the way and visited the Birds of Prey Centre. We walked through the aviary, meeting eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures. It was a truly magnificent flying display. Guided by experienced Falconers we met Jess, Batty and Milly as they swooped over our heads in the high winds. Isabelle and Sam, both wearing bright colours were chosen to stand in the middle of the ring while beautiful birds landed on their arms! One bird wore a hood to keep him calm. The children taught he looked like a secret agent up close!

We learned all about Aillwee’s award winning Burren Gold Cheese. The children asked interesting questions about the colour of the wax, why didn’t they make blue cheese & how heavy were the wheels of cheese. Dylan lifted one and attested to its weight.  We tasted some samples also. We visited the Gift Shop and learned how 5 euro cannot buy everything. The children chose pencils, erasers, small teddies of the birds of prey and/or a sweet treat.

Despite the road closure at Oranmore rail crossing our great bus driver from Costello Bus Hire had us back in school by 3 p.m. While exhausted we had a fabulous day and the children were very well-behaved, curious and interested throughout. Well done First Class!

To see all the pictures from the tour, please go to classes tab and select your child’s class grouping.

Helen, Hilary and Karen