By Maria Duffy. First published on Friday 21st May 2010. 6 Comments so far.


Today my six year old son went on his first school tour. Now having four children, you’d think I’d be fed up with all the palaver surrounding such events. Not so! In fact I practically led the Mammy Brigade in running alongside the bus, waving, until the end of the path forced us to let our little darlings go.

Seeing his little excited face this morning made me remember my own school days and our yearly foray into the great unknown. I can still remember the feeling of waking up on a glorious sunny morning (‘cos it was always sunny in my day) and realising that today was the day. I’d head off armed with the compulsory jam sandwiches and banana that never seemed to survive the journey intact and a bag full of sweets that would ensure I’d be fighting back the urge to spew!

Now one particular year our teacher announced that in three weeks time we’d be going to Drogheda where we’d see the head of St Oliver Plunkett. A gasp of disbelief rippled through the room as our seven year old brains tried to digest this information. We were going to see an honest to goodness, dead person’s head. How cool was that? And who said history was boring? Well that day was anything but boring as four girls threw up on the bus, one peed in her pants and two got themselves temporarily lost. I think I saw our teacher crying at one point, but I couldn’t be sure.

It seems that today’s school tours haven’t moved on much from those days. I’m still giving my children the sandwiches which will inevitably become soggy and the sweets that will make them sick. When my eldest son was eight, I gave him a plastic bag to bring with him as it was a long bus journey and he wasn’t a good traveller. On his return, he announced triumphantly that he’d been sick on the bus.

“Did you manage to use the plastic bag then?” I asked hopefully.

“Yes,” he said. “But Mammy, why did you give me one with a hole in the bottom?”


So what are your fondest memories of your school tours?

Maria x

6 comments so far

  • Nice post, Maria. One of my fondest memories is of going to visit Frankfort, Kentucky, my home state’s capitol. We saw the capitol building, but the really exciting part was seeing Daniel Boone’s grave, way up on a hilltop in a cemetary overlooking the Kentucky River. The headstone even included an engraving of Daniel Boone wrestling a bear. That was cool, but kids like simple things, and the other most memorable part of the trip was collecting buckeyes that had fallen from the buckeye trees, and on the way home, one of our chaperones hollowed them out with a pocketknife so we could wear them as rings!

    • Thanks for that Mike. And you’re right about kids liking the simple things. Another one of the best tours I can remember was a trip to the Phoenix Park where we spent hours collecting horse chestnuts and making up games with them. Maria

  • That brings back memories alright. My first ever school tour was to the Glen of the Downs in Wicklow where we had a nature walk and I smelt wild garlic for the first time. Each time I smell it now, it brings me right back there. Think I was about 7 too!

    • Thanks for sharing that Barbara. Isn’t it funny how certain smells and sounds can take us right back to a certain time in our lives? They were the good old days! M x

  • It’s strange, because the thing I remember most about school tours (particularly in primary school) was the bus journey…the places we went to were none too exciting (Limerick Firestation…several years in a row, Bunratty Castle and Muckross House, I think) but the journey was all important.
    Best memory is from our final year in primary school. We were the eldest kids (aged 11 in my case), so we got dibs on the back seat. We then proceeded to eat every sweet under the sun, compose a dance to Mmm-bop (good old Hanson), convince truck drivers to honk their horn and finally, but oh so importantly, first kisses. Well, one first kiss and then our principal (who, strangely, didn’t miss the loud “oooooh, kissy kissy” screams coming from the rest of us) broke it up.
    Ah memories! This was fun, thanks Maria!

    • Ha! Thanks for sharing that Ciara. You obviously went to a mixed school! I, on the other hand, was at a girls only and the nuns would have fainted if they’d seen us at that!! Sounds like a laugh. I’m reliving it all through my kids now when they come home and tell me all about their antics! Maria x

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