Today, the fifth of July, our group had decided to do something a little different in our schedule. Our day hadn’t begun consisting of a breakfast and a mad dash to get out the door to catch our bus! Instead, we met up as a group and decided to have a milder beginning to the day with an hour of our solo time and another hour after that being a time to just hang out and talk with each other. The group needed that, and as soon as we were ready we scheduled the plans for the day. We were going to go visit the Malahide Castle.
We arrived at the castle after a lengthy bus ride and all of us were stunned in our own special way. The castle towered over all surrounding buildings and had a courtyard full of vibrant green grass and large gravel pathways. Our group had attempted to go inside the castle, taking part on a tour. Unfortunately, our timing was slow and we had missed the last tour of the day. Being the optimistic and tenacious group that we are, we made the best of it by splitting up and observing pieces of the castle from the outside with smaller groups within our total group. That strategy had opened up ways for our members to share with each other on a more personal basis, and was a key piece for our group to know and understand one another.
Our small groups had converged with each other at the designated time, just like always, and we devised our next plans for our adventure of the day. We put our heads together and decided we needed to go the beach near the castle, but we were at a loss for transportation. That’s when a small, miniature version of an orange road train came trundling by. We spoke to the conductor/driver and arranged for us all to get a ride on the not-quite-cramped locomotive on wheels. Our short ride was memorable. We sat down, got buckled, and (to some of our members’ dismay) several soundtracks from the movie Frozen blasted through the speakers on the little train. Our conductor had given us a tour of the small town pieces we went through, and in no time we arrived at the beach.
The beach did not completely face the ocean, in fact it faced an island that was a preserve for Australian wallabys, so swimming was sadly prohibited. Our group still found ways to enjoy it, so we skipped rocks, drew words in the sand, had throwing contests, and took more pictures than we could count. The beach was heavily littered with rocks, giving the sand a thicker and more durable surface, which was much more different than any beach most of us had ever seen before.
We did not return to the institute where we were staying immediately after the beach. Instead, we had gone to the meetinghouse to visit with a couple kids who lived in Ireland and made them our friends very quickly. Ideas had been taught to each group, and the night consisted of games, pizza, and smacking people “softly” with a roll of wrapping paper across the legs. We left the meetinghouse, saying goodbye to our friends, even though we will meet them again when Camp Moyallan comes around. Our day had ended with a powerful epilogue and we headed to bed with excitement for the trip to Portadown, which is going to be a major part of tomorrow!