Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Chief Commissioner's Award: final weekend

It's all over for another year. 60km, €3.50 a day, 8 projects and carrying your home on your back. Our four teams have been amazing. They all finished saying they couldn't have given more of themselves than they did and that is exactly what we were looking for.

We spent our final weekend at the Chief's having interviews, visiting  Father Ted's House, surfing and. of course, having the all-important ceremony and banquet.

We chose Poulnabrone Dolmen for our ceremony as it is one of the enduring monuments of the Burren. The sun shone (although storms were forecast) and the girls' squeals of joy could be heard all over as one by one we announced that they had all received cert, woggle and pin.

Gillian, Colleen and Cathy couldn't have asked for a more perfect end to a great week. Well done again everyone and we'll see you on the Explorer Belt! 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Chief Commissioner's Award Day 4

Another fine sunny day here in the Burren. All our teams have now checked into their final campsite for their final night under the stars. After months of planning and training their adventure is coming towards it's end.

The teams have explored the Burren and now know the area as well as the locals. They have visited local highlights including Inis Oírr, Doolin, Doolin Caves, the Burren Smokehouse, the Cliffs of Moher, Fanore, Lisdoonvarna, Caherconnell Stone Fort and lots more we'll hear about tomorrow.

There have been highs and lows, some injuries, happy tears and sad tears but they are a brave and determined group of women who won't let anything get them down.

They are all in their various campsites tonight furiously working on finishing logbooks and projects by torchlight. We can't wait to hear all their stories tomorrow and we'll share as many as we can. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Chief Commissioner's Award so far....

Monday morning the sense of nervous excitement was thick in the air. Bellies were stuffed and cars were loaded as they headed into the unknown for a great adventure.

They were dropped at various points around the Burren, handed their folders (their bible for the next five days), had a final photo taken before their hair got mussed and were left to begin their journey.

Áine, Aisling and Lauren were dropped at Doolin Pier and decided to head to the Cliffs of Moher before heading back to Doolin to catch the ferry to Inis Oírr to spend the night. Orla and Lucy started in Ballyvaughan and completed an epic journey through the woods and down the coast to Fanore Beach. Mairéad and Ciara were dropped at Doonyvardan and after careful planning headed to Lisdoonvarna. Eimhear, Laura and Vera were dropped near the Cliffs of Moher and walked along the picturesque cliff walk before lodging in Doolin.

Over the past couple of days they have been making friends, investigating projects and searching for service projects (always a tough task to complete). The teams are doing projects on things like: living on an island; local crafts people; festivals; caves; cliffs; tourism; development education; the Geopark and lots more. They also have to write a song about their experiences and create a brochure to entice people to the Burren.

So far we've been lucky with the weather. Some wet spells but mostly the sun is shining on our Teams.

Keep sending your messages to the girls and help keep their spirits high. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Chief Commissioner’s Award – Gathering Day

4pm and we all gathered in the Lidl carpark in Oranmore.  After all the months of preparation and anticipation the time has finally come.  Still unsure of where we were headed we bundled into the cars and  headed on the road – driving through beautiful countryside to our final destination which for tonight is the Burren Outdoor Education Centre.

Our evening consisted of chats and reminders about the week ahead – managing the 2 big risks we face – roads and cliffs.  We must walk safely on the proper side of the road and remember not to lie over the edge of cliffs – it seems straightforward enough!! We then had our final pep talk – we’re all going to be grand!!! 

We had our bag check.... How many shorts do you really think you need? Do you think you should be  bringing that amount of hot chocolate?  All sensible questions and we did make some decisions that I’m sure we’ll be delighted about later in the week having had the rucksacks permanently on our backs.

Now it’s time to head to bed before tomorrow’s adventure begins for real.  We’ll be dropped off in the morning and have to head towards our first campsite.  Exciting times!!