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  Working in Ireland - Summer 2005

After my final exam of year 1, I went home packed and caught the flight from Gatwick to Dublin.  A basic weekend was spent in Dublin, including a visit to the Guinness museum. Fantastic ideas the man had, and a great product he still has.  Anyhow I caught the train westwards on Sunday, to Westport, then a cab picked me up for transfer to the adventure centre. It might even still be linked here: Delphi adventure centre.  The journey took 5 hours from Dublin to base, and was a great way to relax before starting my summer job.  The country side is a brighter shade of emerald green, and gently undulating.  I am surrounded by mountains, 2 ranges in fact.  The peaks vary from 600 to 780 metres, and they are practically on our doorstep.  Adjacent to us are the Delphi fisheries, which are also famous.  Rumour has it that Prince William has fished for salmon there.   In front of us, at the base of Ben Tor a river runs by, and is used for fly fishing during the summer.  Many an evening you can watch the local fishermen trying their luck!  Since Monday I have been inducted in the camps way of life and all the activities it has to offer.  Delphi is the largest adventure centre in the country  at the base of some big mountains (compared to England!)  A river runs past our back and front doorsteps. 

I am being slowly inducted into the way of life, and how to cover all the aspects of delivering a tiny little bit of adventure to those that come here.  Activities include archery, canoeing, forest walks, zip-lining (foofy slide), high-ropes courses ( a jungle Jim of interconnected ropes 15m or more off the ground.  It is definitely nerve racking and challenging, even for the little tots! My accommodation at the moment is great, as I have a room to myself in the courtyard buildings, with a window overlooking the mountains.  I do believe however that I will soon be joining my cohorts in the staff rooms, where I will share a room with one other instructor.  Meals are okay, and not too unhealthy either.  All in all I am enjoying my stay, and gaining some good experience.  We look after the kids 24/7 as the centre prides itself on 24 hour supervision.  Great.  Another nightshift element to deal with.  2 night guards, have to look after the 200 odd kids throughout the night.  And no sleeping on the job either. I must admit it is quite a riot looking after them, and I can definitely see myself at that age, and hanging out at the guild hall, and playing with the Mathews' boys.  It is so apparent what a great childhood and upbringing I have been fortunate enough to have.  To all those that put the effort in, cousins, parents, Sunday school teachers...the lot of you, thank you for your effort and enthusiasm.  Well after 2 weeks, I am still here, and enjoying it, although a few days off wouldn't go amiss.  They definitely get their pound of flesh here!  Anyhow, I have moved into my shared room, and yes - it is bloody tiny.  I share a single room with a guy from London, and we are in bunk beds!  Can you believe it, at my age I have to sleep on top of a bunk bed.  Buggers.  Work is pretty full on.  We start at 9 am and have a morning activity or 2 with the kids, then lunch from 1 - 2pm, then out till 6pm.  From 7 - 9pm, it is evening games, forest walks or a pub quiz, without the beer of course, but at least the spirit is there!  Guffaw Guffaw...  From 9 - 11 it's a movie, then finally to bed.  So you can end up working 9 am- 11pm. 

As I mentioned earlier we also do a night guard shift a week.  Long and tedious, and damn hard to get the dinks to listen to you, and to go to sleep.  I keep wondering whether I was that bad when I was their age?  After night shift, you have the next day off, so this passed week I went up Ben Tor, all 701m of it.  The route is such that there is no route.  You have to make your own way up, there is no path, and it is steep!  All along the way there are sheep, just munching away.  Amazing.  There are a lot of lakes as well, and the weather can change very quickly, not dissimilar to Cape Town, and Table mountain.  Anyhow, a good effort. I have also been surfing a few times, and we went sailing on Wednesday evening, on the fjord. Awesome, we even had a mini regatta through the mussel cultivation area.  I can now say that I can rig, and sail a dinghy.  I do capsize now and again, and am yet to attain Olympic status, but I can sail where I need to go.  Another toy that has to be bought!  Anyhow I am now on night shift, as I type this and will soon be off to Dublin, then a ferry to Holyhead, then a bus to Llanberis in Wales, for my mountain leader course.   I look forward to it, but dread to find out how unfit I am!  I have the feeling that some old codger, will traipse us all over the Snowdonia mountains, and make fools of us, but hey - only one way to learn.  Anyhow I will update this again when I return.