School Tours

Language-focused European Tours

At St. Brendan’s College a number of annual and bi-annual tours form part of the jigsaw of extra-curricular activities for our students.  Our language departments organise trips for 1st, 2nd and 5th years on a bi-annual basis, alternating between a French and German tour. These trips allow our students the opportunity to experience the language, culture and sense of the nation and the people, the history and the architecture behind the language they are studying in class and for examinations. They are a rich enhancement of the school experience

Transition Year Tours

While many local or regional trips occur as an integral element of the Transition Year Programme- to Colleges, Universities, Outdoor Education Centres, Industry sites etc Transition year also offers the opportunity to attend an optional tour to a European Capital. The details and costs involved will be discussed with parent groups at the beginning of the year. In recent years the Ty class members have toured Warsaw in Poland, Barcelona in Spain and Manchester in the UK. As part of the programme a number of students have had the opportunity to experience two weeks in Shanghai as part of their Mandarin Chinese language course.

Click on any of the tours below to see more detail on the TY trips


Tour to Germay 14th – 17th February, 2014. 35 Students and  4 Teachers  – Ms. Susan Follin, Mr. Mike Leacy, Mrs. Lou O’Flaherty and Mr. John O’Shea departed on February 14th for a four day trip to Germany.  They visited the Bayer Leverkusen Stadium and Cathedral in Cologne, Marksbury Castle and The  NÜRBURGRING .



Text and images to go here on the Barcelona trip.


The trip took place earlier this year from the 1st to the 14th of April 2013. The transition year students were part of a group of about 80 people from counties Kerry, Cork, Galway, Waterford and Dublin. The Confucius institute was the institution providing these students with this wonderful opportunity. There were eleven students in total from St. Brendan’s college: Naoise Gloser, Eoghan Ó’Brien, Lee O’Callaghan, Anthony Breen, Donal Lyne, Liam Kearney, Kevin Moynihan, Shane Moynihan, Luke Sullivan, Jack Lenihan and Ciarán Cronin, with the teachers tasked to safeguard the students being PJ Lucey and Andrew Fitzgerald. They had to go to class in the lecture hall on campus every morning, Monday to Friday, except on the weekends when they went away on trips. The students rose early on the Monday morning to catch a flight to Dublin where a long journey awaited them. They flew to London where they hopped on a nine hour long flight to Púdong international airport. After this it was onto another bus to transport them to Shanghai where they would be staying for two weeks. The group stayed in the university campus situated right in the centre of Shanghai city. There are two campuses part of the Shanghai university, one outside of the city with a wealth of facilities to be enjoyed. Although we only had the opportunity to visit this campus once, the facilities included; four swimming pools, one of which was Olympic- sized, as well as sixteen basketball and tennis courts. The rooms were simple but comfortable standing high up on the sixth floor, sleeping two with a TV along with a desk and a bed. The main source of sustenance was a restaurant just down the road called 51, and breakfast mainly consisting of left over pizza hut and goods purchased in a nearby bakery along with the occasional Burger King. The food in the canteen on campus wasn’t appealing. There was a big retail park nearby as well, containing a five star restaurant, with every kind of food imaginable.There were many trips scattered throughout the students stay in China. Each being as interesting and memorable as the other. The best of these journeys occurred midway through the trip to the ancient Chinese city in the Jiangsu Provence. A few days after arrival they were given the opportunity to attend an acrobatic show in the city. The classes took place in the morning and were two hours long. During the classes they were taught calligraphy, Chinese history, geography, culture and language. They had a magnificent view of the city from the Pearl TV Tower which stood at 1,535 foot tall which was open to the public.


German Tour 1 On the 8th of March 2013, 28 Transition Year students went to the English cities of Liverpool and Manchester on a school trip, accompanied by teachers Mr. McGrath, Mr. Herlihy and Mr. Fitzgerald. The trip began on the 8th of March, when we met a bus at the school in the early hours of the morning. From there, we drove up to Dublin Port and got a ferry across the Irish Sea to Holyhead, Wales, arriving at 12:00. It was then a three hour bus drive to Liverpool, where we got a short guide and were informed of the history and major landmarks of the city. We arrived at our hotel in Manchester at about 19:00. On the second day of our trip, arguably the best, we arose early to go on a tour of the impressive Old Trafford stadium. Followed by this was a shopping trip at the Trafford Centre.

Machester ty students

Machester ty students

We then went on to do a training session at the Manchester City youth academy grounds, and finished up in time for the highlight of the trip: the FA Cup game between City and Barnsley. The game finished an easy victory for the home side, a 5-0 thrashing that saw Tevez scoring a hat-trick. The win put them through to the Semi Final. The third day of the trip saw us visiting a few museums around Manchester, among them being the Imperial War Museum and the National Football Museum. At the Football Museum we got a chance to take photos with an official replica of the Premier League Trophy. On the 11th, we got the ferry back from Holyhead to Dublin Port. We arrived back to Killarney late that night. Overall it was an eventful trip and a very enjoyable experience. The three days were excellently planned. Indeed, the trip was such a success that a similar one has been organized for this year’s TY students.



Lourdes Trip from Michelle Sep 13 There are so many things to be said about Lourdes. The theme of Lourdes this year was “A doorway through faith”. This year was my first year going to Lourdes and I can tell you that it won’t be my last. At the start of the week the theme “a doorway” was introduced to us by Bishop Browne, and I can only tell ye now that I have some kind of understanding to this wonderful phrase. By going to Lourdes as a helper for the week the doorway was opened for me and for everyone else. This is not like any normal door.  This door has no handle. Therefore as normal human beings we start to see the negative aspects of the door. It does not work! But after experiencing Lourdes for a week it is now clear to me that the door does work, it is opened from the inside. By going through this door we are going deeper into our faith; we are exploring all the aspects that make us who we are. Lourdes is thoroughly a magical place. 5 million people travel to Lourdes each year. Why? The simplest answer is because they go as one community of faith to explore themselves and to help others who are less fortunate. At the start of the week I was going to Lourdes just as a helper and to have a good time. But I came away from Lourdes with so much more. I came away with a better understanding of who I am and what I want to many of us take simple things for granted such as walking, being able to communicate, talking. I experienced over in Lourdes that not everyone is as lucky as me. But Lourdes is a place where everyone gathers together on pilgrimage. I believe it is ironic that Bishop Browne lead the pilgrimage last week because he chose   The motto in the coat of arms of the diocese in the years ahead to be ‘love one another’ (John 15:12). This is ironic because that is exactly what we did in Lourdes last week. We loved one another.  In the bible it says “love one another just as I have loved you” and that is what we did as the Kerry diocese last week. We cared for and loved each other. The friends that you make over there will last a lifetime, the fun you have will never be forgotten, the people you meet are extraordinary. Lourdes is a truly amazing experience and I would strongly urge everyone to sometime in their lives to take the time to go to this holy place. I finish off with a little saying that Bishop Browne said during the week and was also the theme during his ordination “St Brendan navigated the seas, Ours to tend the home shores”.


Newgrange view 3 Newgrange students exam Newgrange student going in Newgrange student exiting 2 newgrange outside Newgrange group 2 newgrange ogham stone newgrange trip stone As the wheels of our bus crunched into the dramatic rural loop of Bruna Boinne, I was secretly thrilled to discover that the hilltop which housed the stunning burial tomb of Newgrange was shrouded in a thick mist and fog. Twenty art students and I – the art teacher, all craned and squeezed our faces against the steamy bus windows in order to grab that first glimpse of white quartz façade winking and glistening at us from its archaeological mound where it has remained rooted in the earth for the last five thousand years. At that exact misty moment in time, the silver vapour which concealed our vista never felt more magical. In some spooky way, the atmosphere on our bus became more charged and somehow our eagerness to finally see, touch and experience this monument became much more important than we realized. Like typical Irish weather, the clouds above erupted and flung their wet guts upon us as we sprinted from the car park into the visitor centre, numb bums were forced back into the real world while we all stretched and ate and roamed the fantastic visitor centre. Having spent thirty minutes bathing our creative senses in the virtual and mystical world of the Stone Age craftsman, we received the news that our shuttle bus was ready to drive us one mile uphill toward this ancient tomb, excitedly we all clambered aboard and gripping our seats with white knuckle grip we swayed and lurched our way along the narrow bohereen, all the time ogling the shimmering fog for that first real view of our long studied graveyard. As we shuddered uphill towards the cairn the mist finally seemed to vaporise before our eyes and to our blatant astonishment – this Neolithic feat of architecture and design appeared before us like a huge towering ghostly apparition. Instantly all my PowerPoint presentations, group work, art history lectures, DVDs,  descriptions and explanations were forgotten, For the next four hours Art history took on a whole new meaning, feeling and believing. The stark reality of how Stone Age man used just his brawn and brain to build this triumph of science and art was frankly mind boggling and as we all stood before it, teacher and 18 students, we all felt equally humbled to finally experience the spectacular tomb built by our forefathers, the very same people whose DNA flows through our blood. I wondered if perhaps we were feeling a similar pride that Irish-Americans feel when they return here to their mother country. Standing at the foot of the earth Cairn, the white quartz façade gleaming at us, we no longer felt like teachers and students, we were all equals, various members of an Irish family returning home to visit and respect the bones and ashes of ourancestors. Happily I noticed that the boys took my advice and wore their oldest trainers because the walk up to the entrance of Newgrange was a little mucky. Despite this I was stunned to realize that almost magically the rain and mist had completely disappeared, coats, hoods and caps were flung off to reveal a cobalt blue sky stretching overhead. In my own little imagination I wondered if perhaps the spirits of Newgrange and our very own St Brendan had co-conspired ecumenically to create a veil of comfort over their visiting descendants. As we silently crept into the womb-like passage tomb, I sensed a wave of pure awe wash over us. We gathered together in the dim and dusty space where five thousand years ago Stone Age man laid the ashes and bones of his kings and chieftains, I defy anyone who denies that the hairs on the backs of their necks stood up. The dozens of monoliths corbelling above our heads bore the unique carvings of a prehistoric spirituality and a sharp knowledge of solar interpretations. Chevrons, arcs, star shapes, lozenges, spirals, serpent forms and parallel lines all fused together in a beautiful yet eerie and geometric fashion. Clustered together – eighteen of St Brendan’s most talented art students – stood in unified delight while our tour guide used modern electrical wizardry to recreate the winter solstice. Initially we stood frozen and hushed in the pitch black cavity, our hearts thumping and breaths shallow until suddenly a bright white light pierced into the chamber blazing its way down the narrow tunnel and directly into our little room where we stood motionless and amazed, the stone carvings all around us were illuminated in bright warm light while the stone basins that once held ashes and bones shone alight like gold. Together we bathed in the luminous light; our faces aglow with this enchanted sunlit power. Within a minute the darkness engulfed us yet again this time we had goose bumps and smiles upon our delighted faces.There is no doubt in my mind that Stone Age man worshipped the sun as a deity and just as it revives the earth and brings new life at springtime; it may have similarly revived the spirits of the ancestors within the tomb. Our knuckles experienced another trip to boot camp as we heaved ourselves onto the next shuttle bus to visit passage tomb at Knowth. By now, our artistic juices were flowing and we were brimming with pride and wonder at what next treat was in store for us…. And we were NOT disappointed! During the following hour we were immersed in a pool of fascinating history and rich ancient art, we explored this vast and complex site, scrambled over satellite tombs and crawled on our hands and knees through underground tunnels that our ancestors built thousands of years ago with their bare hands. As a group of leaving cert artists, our brains were created and steered to exploit every atom of our unique imaginations and I watched proudly as the boys investigated the cairn, their eyes shining with true appreciation and stimulation. In our own inventive worlds we imagined tribal man dancing and chanting at sunrise around this sacred monument, perhaps their faces and attire exhibited the spiritual trends and markings which they worshipped at that time. Standing on the soggy earth on that cool but bright day, no one but the group of students from St Brendan’s college could witness the imaginary tribal jig which performed before us. To other less creative tourists the only sound reverberating within their eardrums was the raspy whistle of wind but my boys and I could hear the melodic mantra of these prancing genius’s, twirling…. lurching…. swaying and passionately offering the souls of their dead back to the womb of mother earth again to be reborn and saved in the most spectacular and emotional manner possible. The unmistakable aroma of Supermacs wafted through the train carriage as we chugged our way out of Heuston station and home towards our own Kingdom of Kerry. Together we contentedly worked our way through an abundant supply of chips, fizzy drinks, nuggets and double cheese burgers. Grease had never very tasted so good or felt so right! Looking around I felt excited for these boys artistic future, perhaps a future so successful that one day in many generations ahead, another teacher would bring her class on a trip to experience the talented creations of these boys, my boys. Architects, graphic designers, product designers, fine artists and illustrators – they all sat around me munching chips and playing cards oblivious to the adventure and excitement that lies ahead. Outside a slight drizzle quickly turned into a thundering rain storm, the drops slapped incessantly upon the windows, manipulating and distorting my view, blurry smudges of grey and green flashed past me and the glum clouds above threatened to unleash their innards with vomitus fury. I couldn’t help but smile up at these pagan souls from Bruna Boinne who were obviously charmed by the sem boys and orchestrated our earlier rain respite. Our forefathers – the designers and craftsmen who created the miracle that is Newgrange were looking down at their grandchildren with the same pride that perhaps I was feeling at that exact very special moment in time.

Year Groups

Poised as we are on the edge of Killarney National Park our Year Heads utilise this wonderful resource as a place for Year group Bonding activities. These events open the possibility of engaging with the natural environment to our students in a low-cost high impact fashion!
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