In our own words : Our final week at DAC by Fondo & Taio

Our Italian schools from Fondo & Taio are divided into three groups – Red, Blue & Green. This week the Green group wrote about their overall experience – The Red group wrote about their day trip to Galway and the Blue group catch us up on their final week of activities. Enjoy.


When we arrived at DAC we were welcomed by Collie or ” The Big Boss”  He is a great jolly man and he wears colourful ,

Dickie and Johnny making us laugh like always

Dickie and Johnny making us laugh like always

flamboyant and wonderful shirts!!!  We did an English test and Nicki ( The head teacher) divided us into 3 groups red, green and Blue,  In the morning we had a lot of interesting activities for example Surfing, Climbing , Niteline , orienteering , Kayaking – all adrenaline sports.

The Instructors names are Dickie , Neil , Paul , Mark , Johnny , Darragh , Eoin , Cillian , Ken , Fran & Marie.  Our English teachers name is Tommy.

In the evening , we did very good activities such as fun dress up team game dressing up as boys / girls , climbing adventures , cinema & Movie nights in the red room

Food – Every day we eat in a local restaurant called ” La Sabbia” The means beach in Italian .  We had Chicken and Pasta and chips and Salad .  It was delicious.

From 2 – 5pm every afternoon we had an English lesson with Tommy.  In these lessons, we could speak English with our friends and our teacher.  We also did some grammar and learned lots of new Vocabulary.

Overall we had two incredible weeks.  It was an experience to remember and hopefully will get to do it again some day.


Bombs away - Donegal Adventure Centre

Bombs away – Donegal Adventure Centre

This was a really busy week here.  We went surfing twice and it was fun.  The waves were good and we think that Matteo is the best surfer in the Blue group.  We also did some Team Building Activities like Viking Quest and Niteline Obstacle Course.  We weren’t very good at building boats because most of them sank!!!!  Niteline was funny and we got so muddy it was great fun.  We also went to the cinema and bowling this week.

It was raining on Wednesday morning , but we still played Gaelic Football.  It’s very different to the football we play in Italy but we learnt a lot.  We did “Surfchicks” last night and we laughed so much.  Lorenzo won first place , Michele came second and Giacomo came third.  It was a great week


On Thursday morning , we woke up happy because there wasn’t  any school that day.  We were very excited , we had

The gang at the Spanish arch

The gang at the Spanish arch

breakfast and then we went to Galway.  It took 3 hours by bus but wasn’t boring because we talked and admired the Irish scenery.  When we arrived there , we visited the huge Cathedral.  In the church , there were some big and colourful stained glass windows.  Then we ate lunch and at 2pm we went shopping.  We explored lots of shops and did some souvenier shopping.  At 5 O’ Clock , we met in front of the monument in the the square and then came back by bus.  We stopped at Supermacs for dinner on the way back .  We had a fantastic day.

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This is Niamho. We just said goodbye to our AWESOME AFS-USA group, who are now in the sky en-route back home. We are sure their parents can’t wait to have them home, but we are lonely Anyway…we’d like to tell all the Moms and Dads and families and friends that we had an AWESOME time with everyone. We still have AFS USA THE MOVIE to post… I would have had it done today, but Windows Moviemaker decided to hate me … so we’ll get it posted during the week. Meanwhile, thank you to Jill, a truly amazing “Den Mother” who came with AFS USA, and to our crazy kids… Andrew, Adi, Juan, Ameer, Robert, Zanea, Mayeli, Mabely, Cammy, Cameron, Tuesday, Emma Leigh, Emily, Genesis, Angie, Devon and Randy. Slan, my friends, Peace…. and Slainte!

Waving goodbye

Waving goodbye

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Fat Lady is belting it out

So it’s not quite over. But it almost is. We are still delighted to have Danielle & Antonio still with us who are still busy surfing with Christian, Niamh , Jaime, Dylan and our other day campers.

Our AFS group had a super final day yesterday – Those who were up for it went for one last surf and those who were a bit too tired watched Waveriders a fantastic Surf movie about Irish Surfing with Bundoran’s own Richie Fitzgerald in it.



After another scrumptious lunch prepared by our Gary, we borded Kevin’s bus and headed off to Eagles Flying. This was one of the highlights of the trip.

As well as a display of Birds of prey – the gang got to handle snakes and even more exciting for New York kids, they got to hold rabbits and guinea pigs and feed the animals. Really they could take or leave the snake and falcons but feeding pigs out of your hands was a huge thrill 🙂

eaglesSeriously though, we had a fantastic time and thanks to all the folks there for making our day.

Although there was more to come. After dinner, Dickie used his connections to Get Irish dancers Laura & Karen up to give us a display of Irish dancing and have a go at Set dancing (The Irish equivalent of square dancing I guess) . As you can see , we had a lot of silly fun but it was a great way to end a great day and a great program. dance

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Sideline cut

The titles of these blogs are becoming more and more Irish – just like your kids. Yesterday after we said a teary goodbye to Nick, Carla and Tania, Dickie took all the AFS gang with special guest stars Antonio and Danielle to the pitch to show them the art of hurling. Nothing to do with Aurora, this is ancient sport is hugely skillful and physical sport, the fastest ball game in the world in fact.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had an awful lot of fun – we obviously didn’t have an actual game as we thought a trip to the emergency room might take the sheen off a great day ! The rest of the day was all water based.
We decided on one more big group surf – where there was major excitement as there were loads of dolphins at the beach – and try as we might we didn’t get one single good shot of them. Say what you will about us, we may know how to entertain a hundred kids but photographers we ain’t .

The evening, again by popular request was spent cliff jumping. Even though we had our first drizzly night in what seems like an age , the joy of watersports is that well you are going to get wet anyway so what matter a little rain. It is Ireland after all….

Clash of the ash Isaireland style

Clash of the ash ISAIreland style

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Sligo & So Long

A few more departures today – Our good friends from British summer headed 602667_10151742379575659_44566057_nback to Barcelona today along with Bernardo, Arnau and Camile from Paris. Brooklyn Nick left in the very early hours of the morning but we still have  Dublin / German / Swedish until tomorrow

We have a sporty few days to finish off the camp – The gang were surfing or bodyboarding this morning while AFS worked on their ballad singing and help make a new video .. more to follow on this. The AFS crew also got in some more shopping in Sligo LIKE THEY HAVEN’T SPENT ENOUGH ALREADY  and they’ll be doing a little it more work on videos  tonight as well as chilling with a DVD.

Tomorrow we’re going to introduce them to the wonderful world of hurling but not the Wayne’s world variety.. tune in then



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So nobody in the US calls it a splitting headache?

Hello from a slightly quieter Bundoran – our friends from Majorca (and Minorca) left us last night at 5 am among much wailing and gnashing of teeth – we miss them lots already but your correspondent here does like the lower volume.


A nice easy one to start you off

Everyone went surfing this morning – surf camp were too tired to manage a second go this afternoon so got in a bit of last minute shopping – Meanwhile Dickie took all the AFS gang to the Eco park in Kinlough where we had an orienteering course / treasure hunt laid out for them – They had to find the clues which were all plays on well known phrases such as the one pictured – however once again we found out that while we all speak English, we don’t necessarily speak the same English – Still they managed quite a lot of the phrases and the team of Devon, Cameron and Genesis were victorious.

More departures and fun tonight but that’s for tomorrows blog


Can you solve them all ?

Can you solve them all ?

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Loads to tell yet nothing to Tell

Hello from Bundoran cineplex where I’m writing this – obviously I’m not in the theatre – here at the institute of study abroad, we are far too big movie geeks to ever break cinema etiquette.
Our AFS gang are in seeing “Now you see me” or the ” the worlds end” depending on their preferences while most our European gang have gone bowling as its their last chance to do this before they go.
We had a super day today , almost everyone went for a surf this morning although some chose a lie in and then it was off to the Gaelic Football Club where Paul , Mark and Cillian gave the gang a demonstration on the skills and technique and then we had a match.
I say match but pitched battle would be better but it was tremendous fun and Juan , Toni and Lonnie loved the physicality of it.
The reason we could play on the official pitch was A) thanks to the good people at Realt na Mara GAA club & B) that the whole town had left to watch Donegal vs Monaghan in the Ulster final ( like a regional championship ) obviously all our gang are now committed Donegal fans so we raced back to the hostel to catch the game. Everyone was very excited to watch Donegal who were the heavy favourites LOSE ! Oh the horror

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Dublin bound

The AFS group left Bundoran at 6am, catching an amazing sunrise over the hills and lakes of Fermanagh. Our first stop was at the Hill of Tara in the Boyne Valley, the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland. Niamh said she has been

hill of tara

hill of tara

at Tara in all sorts of weather, but never did it look so lovely, with the July sun burning off the morning fog, and revealing the four provinces of Ireland all around. We looked at the ancient passage grave and the sacred stones that allegedly cried out when the high king was worthy of coronation. Devon observed that the ghosts of the old celts were everywhere.

We then went on to Dublin city, enjoying a wonderful picnic in St. Stephen’s Green, before going onwards to check out the treasures in the National Museum. By now, the students had all learned of the various periods of Irish History, so it was great to see the actual remnants from those times, including the stone-age and bronze-age weapons, the amazing Gold collection of the Celts (the “Bling” collection, as we called it, ) and the awesome Treasury collection, from the Golden Age. After that, we visited the W.B. Yeats exhibition at the National Library, to see the original manuscripts of many of Yeats’ work. There were mixed feelings about the Maud Gonne portrait, and whether she would have held the same romantic influence  over our boys!

We checked out the Dail (Irish house of parliament) and went on to the campus of Trinity College, and the Library which houses many wonderful books, including the Book of Kells. However, as the lines to view the book were horrendous, we marched on, up past the Statue of Daniel O’ Connell (a distant relative of our Cameron, of course), and up to the General Post Office, site of the 1916 rising. We enjoyed the beautiful sculpture of Chuchullain, strapped, dying to a tree which was commissioned to commemorate the rising.

Onwards to the Georgian architecture of Parnell Square, and we stopped off at number 36, to see the interior of these fine buildings. Number 36 is now the home of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, and we enjoyed tea and scones (or “biscuits” as some of our crew said… though Niamh pointed out that there was no gravy, or grits, but homemade jams and butter..). We enjoyed this little break in the room where Irish writer James Joyce took his music lessons, back in the day when he was not sure whether to become a singer or a writer…. Oh the pages of scholarship that would have been saved if

Children of Lir statue , garden of remembrance

Children of Lir statue , Garden of Remembrance

he had have chosen music!

Our last stop was the Garden of Rememberence, a little oasis in the city designed to commemorate all of the Irish lives lost in the pursuit of freedom. The astonishing centerpiece here is a sculpture of The Children of Lir, captured in transition from human to swans. Our students know this old Irish myth, and appreciated this beautiful work. But then, Niamh was forced to admit that it was shopping time!

The students (and leader Jill) were released to explore the wonders of Carroll’s gift shop, Penneys and the stores of Henry Street. We gathered again at 6pm, tired, happy and ready for home. We stopped by Molly Malone on the way to the bus, and finally, departed the capital. Our final treat was a late stop at McDonalds on the way home…well, there are times when only a cheeseburger will do!


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Zip it

It’s too hot – I’m not sure in 18 years or so of writing these diaries I’ve ever written that before but seriously it’s a scorcher over her reaching up to 30 here (86F) which mightn’t seem mega hot for you guys but we ain’t used to here – not to mention   nobody has air conditioning or fans because well it seemed like pointless .  It doesn’t seem pointless

The All Aboard

The All Aboard

now ! Firstly apologies we’ve been a bit slow on updates for non-dramatic logistical reasons – laundry , a few summer colds that need attending , not to mention having fun with the kids 🙂 We last talked on Wednesday night. Thursday saw AFS hit the waves again – they haven’t surfed as much so they jumped at the chance – Even Ameer who was skeptical at first to say the least but then discovered he was a body surfer – Then in the afternoon it was Fiddy’s Fighting Fitness – Fiddy is one of our best instructors and the heart of the centre – As well as all his other duties he coaches kids in boxing in his spare time as well as taking part in mma and ju jitsu – So the man knows his stuff. So for a change he took the gang down to the gym and put them through their paces doing some boxercise (obviously non-contact stuff) The girls particularly were really impressive, even if the gym was really warm and it was a really fun, different experience  for the gang. That night we joined up with English & Surf camp to do some of my favourite climbing tasks – the all board and the zip

Cameron and Co-pilot Cameron ..I'll leave you to decide which is which

Cameron and Co-pilot Cameron ..I’ll leave you to decide which is which

line – I’m sure you all know what a zip line is but the All Aboard is a small platform about 40 feet high that 4 people have to scale using a limited amount of pegs – It’s awesome ! So much fun was had , we forgot to take any photos but I  know Jill, Monica and Alejandro took loads of photos and I’ll post them up. Friday was Kayak and Talent show day but that’s tomorrows post…..

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Reach For The Stars

Captain Dickie here back at the helm of another blog. A lot to get through this evening so I will try and keep to writing about what happened today instead of losing track and talking about something else half way through.

Just as reliable as the buses in Dublin, our surf camp surfed twice today and by all reports its was awesome, English class today finally broke free and

Reach for the stars

Reach for the stars

caused a lock down of Bundoran as they ran through the streets dressed as clowns! They didn’t really, they had class and surfed as well in the afternoon but I thought I’d mix it up a little, rather than what we usually write, English class did English and surf camp surfed.

AFS went on a lovely trip to the City of Derry, where they enjoyed the mix of cultures which they learned about in class with Niamh yesterday. They started off by visiting some of the murals that Derry is famous for and seen first hand how by simply crossing the road the difference in the two cultures. They also walked around the City walls, seen some cool cannons and visited the Bloody Sunday memorial, you can read more about it here
On to this evening where we had one of the summer camp traditions. That being, cost Collie a fortune. It was of course Reach for the Stars, where our campers climbed to the top of the climbing tower and took and envelope which is stuck to the top back down. Inside there were many fantastic prizes including €10, won by Emily, €5 won by Nacho, a few €1 envelopes along with bars of chocolate, bracelets, and what started out as just a normal prize but turned into the one that everyone wanted, a tub of chocolate spread. Seriously, the €10 was the second best prize even though €10 can buy many tubs of chocolate spread but that didn’t seem to matter.

So there were many excellent prizes but we didn’t want Collie to have to re mortgage his house so there were some not so great prizes, number one for me of those was, marmalade. This one everyone hates, if you are unlucky enough to come back to earth with this you have to eat a small portion of orange marmalade. Marmalade is lovely on toast but on its own is quite disgusting, hilarious stuff! I was looking forward to one prize being won but

mmmm marmalade

mmmm marmalade

unfortunately no one got it, which was to make me a cup of tea, I’ll have to devise another game to get a cup of tea made for me. Photos will be posted tomorrow.

The last time I wrote this blog, I made a single grammar error and got slated for it so, this time I hop i didnt make two much miss takes but there is a couple in the main body of the text which I’m sure will annoy Collie!

Tonight’s video is our theme song for this evenings activity, which was stuck in my head all day, hope you enjoy!


Dickie 🙂

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Hello from scorching Bundoran

First of all – I hope you all saw this picture of Bundoran beach last night taken by the fantastic Claudio

claudio dolphins

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how much you like playing soccer / football this was at the one moment yesterday where we weren’t at the beach. D’oh!

1069859_524972824218638_510970244_nHowever yesterday we were back to the routine of classes & surfing for English &  Surf camp- however this makes it sound a little boring – when you are surfing as part of the routine trust me – it isn’t boring at all !

Speaking of not boring AFS were split into two classes learning about Ireland’s turbulent history ahead of the trip to Derry today / one not un-ironically re-drawing borders themselves, putting the finishing touches to our surf camp mural – then swapping over in the afternoon.

Nightime was taken up by a big soccer tournament on the pitch behind our high ropes course followed by our nightly attempt to break the world record for most amount of toast eaten.  Plus plus ça change


the leaning tower of Elena

The leaning tower of Elena

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Atlantic Rim

Good morning from Ireland – it’s a little overcast but very warm and the good people at the Met office tell us the sun is going to poke through later.
It’s another really busy day that started very early as Emile, Robert, Enzo, Margherita & Jules all departed. Sam from the UK also leaves us today – we will miss you all but we are looking forward to meeting Antonio who arrives today.
Yesterday it was back to our usual schedule. Classes and Surf for our English and Surf camps – our Americans were busy doing songs and tales with Niamh , followed by working on our Mural which is coming together slowly mainly due to the Herculean effort put in by Jill.
Last night we all went to the movies to see Summer blockbuster Pacific Rim – as someone who usually watched subtitled angsty dramas I must say it was dumb , corny and too loud and I absolutely loved it.




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Superstars, Surfchicks and Sligo

Hello – the sun has returned again but more importantly so have the waves – nothing special today but it will be good.

Yesterday day was superstars – some of you might remember the old TV show where different sports stars were pitted

Winning sandcastle

Winning sandcastle

against each other in various sporting events – Our version is similar but as well as sporting events it has sandcastle building , cracker eating and even blindfolded musical chairs. The teams are split up into a mix of different nationalities and they have to work together to figure out who is most suited to each event. The winners of each event get top points but there are points awarded for every finish so the team with the best average wins.

The morning events took place on majestic Tullan strand and involved long jump in the dunes, sprints and relays, sand castle building, Iron man running, swimming and paddling a surf board  and China – who can dig the biggest hole in the sand in 5 minutes. It’s very funny.

Tug o war !

Tug o war !

After lunch the action took place in the Adventure Centre – and included penalty kicks, shooting baskets as well as some of  the sillier events like cracker eating – they have to see how many crackers they can eat in 1 minute without

touching any water – Sam from Manchester was particularly funny during this event.

Anyway when the scores were added up the winners were . Andrew (USA) Jack (Ire) Mar, Marga (ESP) Devon (USA) Arnau and Joan (ESP) and they get free popcorn and treats and the movies tomorrow night.

To finish of our fun day we had our annual Surfchicks competition –

Cracker eating competition

Cracker eating competition

this is a bit of fun where the girls dress the boys up as models and we have a beauty pageant, nobody is coerced into it and we are there to make sure it isn’t inappropiate just very odd , ridiculous and hilarious – all the “ladies” deserve praise but the winners, starting in 3rd place as is tradition , Samantha (Sam from the UK) , Roxie (aka Randy from USA) in 2nd and the winner was Nikita (sometimes known as Emile from France) who walked away with the crown – oh the tears , oh the drama 🙂

This morning Dickie took the Euro gang off to do a bit of sightseeing and shopping around Sligo while our USA gang , who’ve been here a little longer and have already visited Sligo had a special Irish cookery demonstration and a big Irish breakfast and then caught up with services and some much need laundry and room cleaning –  We’ll probably just chill with a DVD and some basketball tonight for tomorrow the surf returns…

Roxie, Nikita and Samantha

Roxie, Nikita and Samantha

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Busy few days here at the DAC / ISAI – the weather has been amazing – the only downside being that the waves have aa2

Evening cliff jump

Evening cliff jump

also gone on vacation. Nonetheless Surfcamp still had a great week paddling around our coast, skateboarding with Dani & Kyle and a lot of cliff jumping. English camp were still able to a little surfing as they are much less experienced surfers the small waves weren’t a problem not to mention we had a great couple of days kayaking too . I think the highlight for them was cliff jumping in the evenings though. Afs had an extremely busy touring week – Following on from Dickie’s magnificent tour and blog (he made me say that) they went west on Thursday to explore Sligo and the magnificent

Parkes castle

Parkes castle

Parkes castle – seriously I can’t recommend the Parkes Castle tour highly enough and well done to all the great staff there that made our day so memorable. Kayaking was order of the day for Friday morning on beautiful Lough Melvin followed by us finally starting our big mural of the 52 countries that staff and surf campers have come from over the years – 53 if we count Johnny’s  home planet but that’s another story. Finally the muck part – last night we did the niteline – our famous combination of blindfolds , assault course and lots of muck and water ! Photos to follow

This is where all the guards used to sleep - finally answering the question of how many Americans can you fit in round tower.

This is where all the guards used to sleep – finally answering the question of how many Americans can you fit in round tower.

Let's do some painting

Let’s do some painting


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210 Steps To Paradise!

Many apologies for the late post this evening but any of you that have seen some of the photos posted earlier will recognise that we had a pretty awesome day.


And to add to it, this evenings blog has been put back in the hands of the boy from the back streets of Bundy, Dickie! So be prepared for the usual ramblings that eventually get to the point.


The weather here has been turning nearly every Irish person into lobsters all week, mainly because Irish people only see this kind of sunshine on holidays, so the constant application of sun cream eludes many of us, and with a cheerful “it’ll be grand” off we toddle only to return complaining about the heat. Not me however, I’ve learned my lesson and it only took around 20 years of getting burned!


Anyway, back to todays events, myself and AFS crew headed off to Sliabh Liag, (Sleave League). At 601 metres high (1,972 ft) are the highest sea cliffs in Ireland. Yes the Cliffs of Moher are more famous but Sliabh Liag are nearly 3 times higher!

So I spent the bus journey telling everyone how spectacular they are only to arrive at the viewing point only to see nothing. The cloud was down and was so thick that we only had around 20 metres visibility. However, I am ever the optimist and plodded on up thinking that by the time I got up about 50 or 60 metres there’d be plenty to see. And there was! Now I have been to these cliffs many many times but standing above the clouds and watching the cliffs slowly unveil themselves and show the beauty that I know and love was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time! I will post a link to the photos and Collie will add in some here but it was a spectacular and breath taking start to the day.


Tearing ourselves away from the magnificence and splender of one of Ireland’s truely beautiful sights we headed for another. We have all been to beautiful beaches but I love Silver Strand on Malinbeg Co. Donegal. I struggling for new ways to describe the beauty we saw today but I will say that I have been asked by at least 6 people to go back before the trip is over because they loved it so much! The fact that you have to walk down 210 steps (I counted) wont put you off, one look and you wouldn’t be able to resist! Paradise!


The usual game of red tractor was had to and from the sights with yours truely keeping up his 100% record, but Jill did run me close onl;y for Devon to see the last one and crown me champion!


This evening we mixed surf camp, English camp and AFS and half went cliff jumping and the other half to Viking Quest. Before anyone thinks that we invaded anywhere, Viking Quest is what we call our raft building activity. Captain Randy and Captain Robert build the ‘ships’ and we raced up and down the sea pool. Robert was victorious in the end even though his ship was attacked by the other vikings.

A fun end to a fantastic day all round.


Tomorrow collie will be back the reigns of the blog and will update on everything else that I have missed.


Until then Planet Earth, stay safe, never wear your glasses when you’re a viking, always bring towels and swimming trunks to the beach, and always wear sun cream!


Dickie G.L.T.Y.C. 🙂


P.S. This was stuck in my head all day! Enjoy!!!



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July 8 & 9: Heatwave

Phew it’s a scorcher. Now in my 18 years of doing this, I’ve written this before but I’ve never had a camp where Spanish



kids were telling me ” Collie it’s too hot!” The good weather has seen us alter our schedule a lot to take advantage of the sun.  Both our English camp & our Surf camp went for double surf on Monday – Fantastic day but they were absolutely wrecked afterwards and despite the good weather elected for the cinema. Our AFS group joined them after spending a day at the beach as well as doing a class on Celtic Art with local expert Marion Rose – you can see her website here

Our Italian friends spent their day at the lake kayaking – then wisely decided to forgo the cinema and went for a swim at the beach instead.

Tuesday if anything was even hotter. Our AFS group toured Gleniff Horseshoe and Mullaghmore with Collie who told them all of the tragic tale of Diarmuid & Grainne as well as a few more modern tales of Giant waves in Mullaghmore – although it was calm today with crystal clear water sparkling in the sun.


Alejandro Spanish leader

Surf camp surfed as usual – although the surf wasn’t great in the afternoon so they did some skateboard work with Dani – Our English class swapped between Kayaking and classroom work and our Italianos spent the last day here in Donegal  as everyone should – Surfing and laughing lots.

They at leave at 6 am tomorrow morning and even though they’re crazy we will miss them very much. Good news though Carla and Tania from Barcelona just arrived with Sam from Manchester. Roll on week 2 !

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July 7 : GGGG- Galway (a joke only Irish people will get

Very short post today – not for any bad reasons but today was excursion day

Cliff jumping Friday

Cliff jumping Friday

so the gang all spent their day on a trip to Galway. Much fun was had and of course lots of your money was spent but someone had to stay at home and do the paperwork and that particular task fell to me ! I’ll get our staff to fill in the details tomorrow but it’s 10:30 as I write this and pretty much everyone is asleep which is always a sign of good trip.

Tomorrow: serious surfing

American group ready to surf

AFS group ready to surf



This way to Turin

This way to Turin

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July 6th : chasing the sun

Those of you who have been to Ireland may not be shocked to hear this but

Pau & Gary

Pau & Gary

there was no heat wave today. Not so unusual you might think but we were promised one.  The met office promise it’s still on it way .. stay tuned.

However it was warm and dry all day – both Surf camp and our AFS group hit

Yesterdays cliff jump

Yesterdays cliff jump

the waves this morning, it was one of those perfect Tullan Strand days and we were delighted that everyone took part. Our English camp were split between classes and starting a basketball tournament in the school. Our surfers joined in in the afternoon taking part in an round robin style tournament – we were building up to a final tonight but despite being quite warm , it began to drizzle – the court was kinda slippy so we decided to postpone the final for another night – to be honest everyone is pretty bushed and we used the rain as an excuse to catch up on getting everyone to call home and then we all settled down to a movie.

For once our Italianos were on a different schedule – because they have such a short stay we want them to do a few of the more spectacular activities – so

Hanging out

Hanging out

today they had a go at the Jacobs ladder & trapeze. They finished the day off with the Niteline a legendary activity here – a blindfolded assault course that I don’t want to say too much about as I know some of our campers read this blog and they are doing it next Friday !

Meanwhile I (Collie) took off for the day with our summer project – This is a group of young Spanish kids (9-13) from the makwilloughby school in Granada who are staying in some of our cottage accommodation with their leaders – Being a little younger than our campers they come in for daily activities with local , younger Irish children but today was tour day I had a great time bringing to see the stunning landscapes around the camp and tell them a few Irish legends too.

Tomorrow is our big excursion day to Galway. Until then , goodnight and wherever you are , I hope you are having as much fun as us

Glencar waterfall

Glencar waterfall


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July 5th : Summer camp diary

A very quick hello from beautiful Bundoran tonight.

We had another extremely busy day today- Our USA camp started work on our

Italian Ninjas

Italian Ninjas

new mural (no hints yet) then spent the afternoon cliff jumping with Dickie and Surf camp – Our Italian school & our English camp split their time between class and Viking quest raft building & surfing respectively.

Tonight as always the camps all merge into mixed groups and are doing the reverse of Wednesday nights activities so those who were climbing are doing Team building and vice versa.

We have loads of photos but due to our issues with VODAFONE  we are are a bit low on internet so I’m going to save those for Monday when we are back in the land of Broadband

Lets go surfing

Lets go surfing

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Happy Birthday America!

A little bit of gridiron

A little bit of gridiron

Happy 237th birthday America.  As many an Irish man would say, never count your birthdays, only count the days to pay day!

Busy day here in Donegal for everyone.  Today was the first time the AFS crew headed for the ominous Atlantic sea for their first surf lesson.  The surf was big and messy but the troops were more than a match.  After some very confident talk by some, Robert and Randy to name but a few about how good they already are at surfing even though they have never tried it before, it was time to put the words into action.  After a quick lesson on Tullan strand by your truely, off we trotted down the beach.


Americas game

I would love to say that it took a long time for the first person to get to their feet and surf towards the shore but in fact it took Devon one wave to show the rest how it’s supposed to be done.  Many were soon to follow suit and before long Cami, Cameron, Adelaide, Zanea and even Mr. Surfinator himself Robert discovered they have a new favourite sport.  Conditions were tough but the taste that everyone got after this mornings surf left the group hungry for more.

This afternoon we gathered in the tv room of the hostel to plan the mural that will be put together over the coming weeks.  After some excellent ideas by a lot of people we finally settled on one.  But you will just have to wait to see the finished product before we can reveal anything.  I can tell you though that it will be awesome!

The rest of the camps had the regular routine of surfing all day for surf camp, which by reports from Dani are all standing comfortably on the board even though many only surfed for the first time yesterday.  English class will have some catching up to do but I’m sure they will have no trouble.

Happy 4th from donegal

Happy 4th from donegal

This evening we celebrated ‘Merica’ day by heading to the beach and playing some American sports, American football, capture the flag and America’s pastime Baseball.  While the rules of each were more like guidelines, a great evening was had by all.  Even Emile, who got a nice nick under eye said that it was worth it.

The highlights of day included Andrew wrestling with a shark and coming off best, even though he has the scars to prove it.  It may have been a surf board but as I always say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story!  Also, I had one of the nicest cups of tea I’ve had in a while.  Many of you I’m sure are partial to a cup of tea every now and again but when you get a lovely cup of tea at the right time of the day, then it is something to be savoured.  Maybe its just me but Jasus I love tae!

While we didn’t blow anything up to celebrate Independence day, we did have a great day none the less.

Signing off, Bundoran’s number one son, Dickie! 🙂

G.L.T.Y.C.   (Good Luck To Your Cows)


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A whole lot of surfing going on

So another busy, busy day at the DAC / ISAI . We had the last of this weeks arrivals today our friends from Tuenno who

Monica, Spanish leader tries some abseiling

Monica, Spanish leader tries some abseiling

came with some old friends but this no Nicoletta – we miss you lots – but as always they were great fun and the listened to me go on and on for ages without complaint. As I write they are doing their test to learn what classes they will be in.

Meanwhile all our English classes & Surf camp have all hopped on the bus to Tullan strand and are taking part in their first surfing lesson or in the case of some of our more experienced surfers,  getting some advanced lessons from Dani  & Kyle.

AFS & Nick who I’m just going to refer to as AFS from now on are getting a guided tour of the lifeboat station by Dickie , their chief instructor who is  a keen member of the local RNLI lifeboat crew.

The gang line up for Team tasks tonight

The gang line up for Team tasks tonight

Tonight the real chaos begins as we mix up all 87 students for a night of climbing / abseiling & Team Building  – It will be crazy. We can’t wait.

Before I finish I would like to just say hi to the hundreds of campers that have spent summers with us and we are thrilled that so many of you stay in touch through Facebook and twitter but we want to to say we always think of our friends who have left us too early when the camp starts.  Ben, Charlie & Aymeric this is for you.


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Arrivals Part 3

Wow what a busy day – the floodgates are well and truly open with lots of old & new friends arriving from the USA , Spain , France and Ireland via New Zealand. Lots of stories and photos to follow but we are too busy having fun


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Summer Arrivals gallery

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Well it looks like the Americans have arrived

Not everyone went for a nap

AFS guys shooting some hoops

AFS guys shooting some hoops

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Summer Camp 2013 – about to kick off

We’ve already had our little day camp friends from Malaga – Niamh is in Dublin picking up AFS and our old friend Pau

Exciting times mj

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Babs did the post but some how the internet destroyed it. Skynet ? Is this the start? Still this what we did.


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Le Bons temps and the bonny auld times after a frantic fall into chaos at the beginning of the end of the beginning which led to the beginning of the fun times oh yes indeedily

hmm well we started with a svelte timed swim were we all flashed our toned muscles and set to work trying to tear up and down the pool. felt chilled and good, but i lost count quickly and i know i could have given it more socks,

Croc Pit

Croc Pit

another drawer full to be honest, towards the end. anyways, onto another learning experience ( i hope) for us all.

meet and greet, split, uh split, i mean split yes now we’re split up, oh wait we were meant to split the gorup, not us!!!!!! d’oh!!! soon the numbers fell into place with more focus and smiles on our collective face we led the way on a mysterious tour to the field of dreams, where heroes are made and rules obeyed. delving into our linguistic archives we transcended the language barrier, well tried at least, and managed to bring some smiles and fun times to our teams of little rapscallions. soon enough both irish and french were interacting and looking out for each other, using their new found abilities and problem solving skills to win each time (well my group did, go group 6 🙂 ), overall a good day and i even managed to speak a little french which perhaps helped out 🙂 but we need to organise ourselves way way more duuuuuuuuuuude pour matinau, au revoir et faire de beau reve, Ciao G


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USA meets Ireland

Surfing at Tullan was brilliant…. Despite the fact that there were three groups out( OITC, Belmont Abbey a college from America and FÁS) there were lots of waves to be shared. We had High Ropes in the afternoon which started with a challenging timed set up and moved quickly onto the Trapeze.

Belmont College and some of OITC on the beach

Belmont College and some of OITC on the beach

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Wed 6th March

Today as other OITC’ers led groups of students in boat building and ropes activities (including the blindfolded trapeze), I led a group in various team building exercises.  Included in this were the imfamous “Triplank” and obstacle course.  Though I still did not feel all too confident in my leadership skills, the group’s general optimistic and playful attitude greatly helped ease the stress of the situation (Neil also helped a ton by filling in when I couldn’t remember little aspects here and there).  I’ve led both small and large groups in projects and activities before, so I shouldn’t be getting so nervous, but hopefully practicing this will help me mellow out in these situations.  It was a fun day overall, with an end result of very minimal stress and a nice feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.

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A quiet day for Surfing

The weather was very mild and swell free this morning. We decided to head over to Tullan though for a bit of surfing. It was a pretty quite day even there as waves were concerned, but we were able to catch some in Tullan in the morning. Speed or wipe outs were definitely not our biggest concerns. For practicing the moves on the board it was a good morning altogether. Next day I will just have to try this standing thing everyone is talking about it.

In the afternoon we have done loads of lifeguard theory on different types of injuries and their treatments. Very useful information with maybe less excitement than this morning surf I guess.

Instructors taking a lesson

Instructors taking a lesson

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Tied up the loose ends of another week! 28th Feb

Today the reefs were 3 foot and glassy! Cool (8C) and sunny in Bundoran! the sand bar on main bench lined up for some super fast 2-3foot lefts! lots of fun had! Pete was spotted on some 2 foot glass standing and crusing through even when it turned to white water, Clo and Krisztina were making it all look too easy and Garry and Barbaire were fearless on the pitching impossibles….wipe out of the day from Gary (apparently…..I didnt see)….but the main thing is fearless on the drops and popping up even when the pressure is on!
the afternoon had a ropes challenge to set up on everything!! we raced out and started but mostly didnt make it in time…..lessons learned about timing, days where it doesn’t go to plan, equipment, tricky belaying, trusting ones’ own set ups, dismanteling set ups and also that when spinning like spiderman….curling into a ball doesnt actually slow you down!! 🙂
Stay awesome!

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Work experience with Sligo Studenten Ja Ja das is gut

Today was our first day doing some work experience with the ever so friendly and bubbly students from Sligo I.T,

Myself and Anne had a nice group on the high ropes, were we had great fun laughing at each other and getting the conversations going and flowing, as we watched people climb higher and higher and higher 🙂

Babs and Clo headed out to the lake to build some rafts which eventually brought them to the other shores of existence, exuding joy but immersed in cold they brought a helping hand to the group, and obviously a bit of charm and sunshine 🙂

Petey Pete Pete Peterson headed out to the field were he worked his ricetastic magic and wooed the masses with his charms and other worldly accent 🙂 a new experience on this island for a young man from other shores 🙂

James and Krisztina were on the rock climbing and abseiling and apparently did a great job too, their group being the most boisterous they had a right auld laugh and could be heard all across the centre….ahem ahem in other words interrupting some other games where the screams of dying students on the minefield was drowned out by laughter from the tower.


A positive day and I think we all had a grand old time chatting with some nice folk and sure twas good to see people push past their fears and limits and try something new 🙂



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Friday blog on Wednesday

We had some technical difficulties so here is Anne’s blog a little later than planned

so high up in the sky
Today the day went really fast.

It was a nice sunny today, so not one of these raining days, were the rain also feels really wet. Only Irish will understand this. So, we decided to go up the 25m tower and feel the sunshine and the fresh wind.

But, it wasn’t really easy to get up the tower, as we needed to keep the door open from the staircase of the tower first. This is a complicated procedure as you need to let open the door with a special not adjusted doorstop which you need to put in a certain degrease to the door. It is so complicated and even harder to describe and draw it dawn, so I will just skip this part now.

So, we just kept the door open somehow, went up the stairs, adjusted our abseiling and were happy!

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Fairy , Wolf and the Duckling

Hello BlogWorld!

Clo here to update you on the latest goings on with the OITC group! Today Collie was our instructor as Dickie was away doing his level 2 surf instructor course. We started off the morning with some word puzzles that really got us thinking outside the box. Here’s one for example – X MASCARA, some of thought it was something to do with an xmas card but nope, X MASCARA = Kiss and Make up! Did you get it? And if so, what do you think the title of this blog means?

The Brain trust at work

The Brain trust at work


Catching up on our missing blogs

IMG_2483 IMG_2484 IMG_2485 After the word puzzles racked our brains we made our way to field number one to learn all about the thrills of nightline! This is where students get blindfolded and have to make their way through the obstacle course full of random falling water and invisible rats. I also found a glove!

Then after lunch we made our way to field number two, where we did Tri plank, the croc pit, postman’s walk and the swamp! Everyone worked really well together as a team and we completed all the puzzles in good time.

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Surfing allllll day at Tullan!!!!!

Today we had two surf sessions at Tullan Strand. The morning session was small and clean with 1 to 2 foot waves. Although it was crowded with some long waits between sets I think everyone also managed to get some nice rides on these friendly waves.
We were also greeted by a Seal(the singer just popping over for sea sessions:) No a real seal was intrigued by us and hung around in the water for a while for a look.
In the afternoon we had another session. It was a bit bigger and faster in the afternoon and also a little more messy and harder to get out..however again lots of good waves were had. Overall conditions were brilliant today.. the skies were blue, sun was shining and from what I could see, smiles and tired faces all around:)

Seal says hello - ok it was nothing like this but still....

Seal says hello – ok it was nothing like this but still….

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Money for Jam

So you jump off a cliff , do a little swimming , how hard can it be….

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The Best Day for The Jump

Beautiful sunrise this morning and we are hoping to finish the day with some cliff jumps in this weather, we could not ask for a better one for it.
After enjoying the morning sunshine we started the day with some very useful signs to fight the traffic in the water. With some practice we eventually found our way around the car park no problem.

After some phonetic alphabet we reached the best part of the day the cliff jump. One two three jump!!! I have never ever jumped off anything as readily as these rocks today! The best day so far!
We eventually finished the day with a great bit of surf, well most of the group I have practiced the all essential swimming skills today.
Great day altogether, the best for me so far.
Better go a swim some more
Kilo Romeo India Sierra Zulu Tango India November Alpha

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This Years Model

Before Tuesday’s Post – A quick mention for Gary’s modeling career which we discovered today as part of



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Monday Funday!?

Tulland strand was 3foot with a force 5 offshore…and we were on it!!
lovely sunny morning in Fundoran but sunny doesnt always mean warm! after some dancing warm ups and a few bars of one direcrtion! we blasted out the back with all guns blazing (espically in the dunes where the army were shooting!) with off shore spray in our faces, some cracking waves were cought! there was plenty of company in the water but plenty free peaks down the strand! happy days! delighted with a hang 5! sorry to see acold finish, but no hypothermia so all good!
In the after noon we got to grips with petersons tubes, approaches and releases. after a good theoretical run down and some painful demos from dicky we took it out doors to practice in the winter sun!
then we all had a go at some painful releases, solid approach techniques…and lots of questions and demos.
huge success all casualtys were rescued safely…job done!

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St Fiddy’s day

Day 4 of Week 4
We started off this morning with one man down, well under the “water”

Our 2 k route

Our 2 k route

apparently 😛 We set to work learning more about CPR and all that it entails. The procedure is straight forward enough but some-how we seemed to lack the ability to shout it out, however with positive encouragement from our valiant leader we found our voices and let the world hear our calls  Little Anne, her 2 sisters, junior and baby Carlos all received the undivided attention of these surf/rescue heroes in the making.


……………the truth is Fiddys Fighting Fitness class has truly kicked our derrieres  sweat-tastic and groan filled we pushed thru the pain barriers as Fiddy guided us through some new core exercises, after of course a nice run, 5 x

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

3mins of skipping, all sorts of press ups (spiderman eat your heart out) lots of planks, sit ups, bear crawls, sprinting, rolling, punch bags and much much more. We ended the session with the help of a junior accomplice and managed to land some punches onto the big man himself 
We are Alive 
We are ready for week 5 

Fiddy''s workout list

Fiddy”s workout list

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The All Essential Theory Day

Helmets, harnesses and ropes ready we have started the morning session with a couple of knots and bolts on the rope course. After couple of hiccups on the “Number 9s” and some pretty twisted double 8s we have finally succeeded the all important Double 8 knot!! We have all worked together at setting up the rope course for the afternoon session with a near miss of losing the tracer in the wind (mind you one of the first instruction we have received today was “not to lose the tracer”). Phew….

Our afternoon session was slightly drier and wind free with Cilian about leadership skills and games thrown into the mix. The team managed to deliver the “Helium” stick safely to the ground while fighting our way out of handcuffs. We have all set our goals for the remaining weeks of the course trying to be realistic as well as attainable.
I’m off for a bit of swim to cure this knee I will definitely need for the next couple of weeks.

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Pancake Tuesday

Bright and sort-of early (too early for some one) on this wonderful Pancake Tuesday/Mardi Gras morning, we all headed to a well behaved Rossnowlough. The waves were a nice size, and tended to be fairly clean with very little foam. Though it took a long time, everyone in the class made it out to the back and caught some sort of a wave back to shore. Although I did not stand up, it was sort of exhilarating dropping in on an almost barrel-worthy sized wave. When you fall/drop in to the wave, it feels more like the board is slipping on ice rather than the typical pillow-esque push from the small waves than I have grown used to. It is yet another piece of encouragement to egg me on to stand on that “double decker [foam] bus”. As a whole, the group did quite well. Anne took a wave that could rival one of the giant Leprechaun’s (or so I’ve heard). In the afternoon, Oprah joined the class as sounds of Elvis and chickens emanated from the yellow room.

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Rossnowlagh Offshore 3 foot.. Fun fun

Great day today. Conditions were clean, offshore, 3 foot. Lots of fun waves.

Why isn't there an OITC course for Dogs :(

Why isn’t there an OITC course for Dogs 😦

Morning session was hard to get out the back as it involved a paddle through lots of white water but I got there in the end

Afternoon session we went through the rip and out into some nice, clean, glassy waves where its all nice and peaceful:)

“Almost certainly surfing tomorrow:)” D has just told me.

Have to run and refuel and relax for tomorrows session:)

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Surfin ‘n’ Fightin

Surfing was a toss up this morning,mush or other mush so we chose mush! 3m W,NW swell with a force 1 southerly wind on main beach means 2-3ft waves on a low to mid tide.In the good company of half our FÁS friends we paddled out

Fiddy puts Bairbre through the paces

Fiddy puts Bairbre through the paces

the back we found some not mush waves! there were some green pockets left and right and despite competition for waves fun was had until the wind changed to a force 4-5 onshore!!

I believe everyone learned a lot today and conquered demons from dropping down the face and trying to stay ahead of the white water, paddling out the back in the rip and for the brave drifting in the rip and self rescuing without a board!! Well done everyone. after sailing back to the beach with boards for the most part! 😛 We headed back for a debrief, lunch and to prep for some fighting fitness!

Fiddy told us last week he would take it easy on us and he did it was probably a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10 on the intensity scale of 1-10! today started with a 2k run, then 5 sets of 3min skipping, then an eternity of inventive ways of making your triceps back and abs spasm under pressure in the plank position…then sit ups and more bag work than Katy Taylor!..then holding arms up,then combos,then bear crawl….its a lot of work to type but more to endure!

He told us we had fun and we’ll do a bit more next week!!! where to from 10 tho fiddy!? 11!??

Well done to the crew…another big week down, looking forward to next week and everyone progressing as much again! 🙂

Later dudes! James


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Protection of the wee uns

Day 3 Week 3
We approach this day the same as any other, with fire in our hearts, fresh air in our lungs and a willing to learn and improve ourselves and our understanding of the world of which we are a part.

We ventured forth into a new sphere or legality and reality, child protection and the importance of conducting ourselves and interacting in an appropriate manner.
Information is filtered and bubbles to the surface layer of consciousness and can be interpreted in many ways so we must be aware with our words and actions lest they be misunderstood or miscontrued.
The safety of the child and his/her sanctity respected and valued.

There is a line, a branch reaching out which gives us support, and guidance on how to deal with these matters should they arise, and the measures in place to help facilitate a positive outcome to all situations.
Help is at hand with our trusted designated liaison person Trish, and clear line of command/communication.
An understanding of how the centre runs as a whole and how we as trainees fit into the puzzle. A thoroughly enjoyable day learning, absorbing and furthering our abilities to be valued assets of this fine establishment were dreams come true 🙂 (but perhaps not the dream i had last night were i was living in a wooden hut and had to leave cos the tide came in and suddenly i was paddling down a road that was actually a snow river!!! hmmm early night tonight me thinks 😛 )
Our responsibility widens as our shoulders grow stronger with each wave we take & each new lap we swim.

Body like mountain,
Mind like the open sky,
Breathe like the wind………….



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Don’t surf the white water

Today was a lovely day for staying inside all wrapped up – but not for us trainee outdoor instructors! With strong winds we headed straight to Mullaghmore, not for the big waves (just yet!). The swell was big enough that it was pushing perfect 2 foot waves into Mullaghmore beach.

You can see a video of me surfing below but watch out for James barreling in the background when I fall off

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Some people got a bit too friendly with our Little Annie

Lifeguard theory in the morning, ropes in the afternoon.

Mellow day due to hurricane winds, however we covered lifeguard t

theory and knots which will give us more time for surfing during

the week.

We didnt realise it would happen but some people took quite a liking to Little Annie:):).

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Moon, the earth and twinkle, twinkle little stars

Mostly, when you start your day, you may listen to the weather forecast. Just as a reminder to not forget the umbrella of course! Usually, you would hear:

“Today, there will be bits of showers followed by sunny spells.”

This weather was today as well, except that it was flashing and cold. But this didn’t bother us as much, as we were sitting inside and listen to Dickie explaining that there is gravity going out from the moon which causes low and high tides to the earth!

James meanwhile trained his singing for the pub later on and showed us a perfect singing performance  of  “Twinkle, twinkle little star!”

AdventureWe also learnt how to draw Ireland (but you are not allowed to draw a face in it!).

Yeah, that’s how class went today with Dickie! Now we all can predict the waves and who cares if you get wet from above when a wave is under your feet!

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Leprechauns and Burfers

It was a bright, yet windy and cloudy day at Rossnowlagh. A good-sized leprechaun flew across the waves (as all good leprechauns should do) as a man from Mallorca helped teach students from the Donegal Adventure Center surf. Whenever those students weren’t enamored with the leprechaun’s surfing ability, they were practicing their pop-ups and

Peter vs Peter

Peter vs Peter

trying to catch the messy waves. By the end of the day, standing up became as easy as pie (don’t worry, I never understood the phrase either). With any luck, the class will soon be dropping into bigger waves and barrelling like those penguins in Surf’s Up.

After our great day of surfing with a leprechaun, we headed off to the Boxing Club with a Boxing-Surfer (a position to be known from now on as a “Burfer”). There, the Burfer worked us to our near limits, from skipping ropes, to hitting poor, helpless punching bags and all sorts of different upper (and some lower) body workouts. Despite that, smiles remained on every face, a feat seemingly impossible. But, little did possibility that when a burfer, a leprechaun, and a man who already blessed with unending and eternal happiness combine their powers, they create…something to make people happy, even in darkest night.

Sore and tired, the class left the boxing club, ready for another day of fun, exercise, and getting better at doing what we do best–whatever that is…

-Rice out


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Rosnowlagh Madness!!

A very early start for some with some pre surf training varying from parkour to swimming, on a windy Tuesday in Bundoran!!
After an epic laughter filled bus trip to Rosnowlagh (where Fiddy thought we had fully lost it) the gang were revved up and ready for surf, a quick warm up and every one was smashing through the slightly mushy surf! (no laughing by this stage 😐 )
lots of waves cought and some nice long rides on the inside (well done all)!
It was a battle to get out the back and an even bigger one to sail the boards back to the van after (seriously windy)…so after a beach pick up we were all in the van with blood back in the extremities!
The afternoon session was filled with learning about formations of rips



and how to avoid sticky situations involving them.
Dickys soothing voice was forcing sleep on, so the couches were abandoned and school chairs occupied…Thanks guys!! 😦
We also learned about forecasting, wave formation and a little bit about how heavy the wipe outs are for big wave surfers…half a million kgs in a big lip when its crashing on your head…that’s HEAVY MAN!
All in all…a solid day with surf fun and laughter! “Windy as Bru” or “vary blooway” up here!
looking forward to everyone being on time tomorrow!! 🙂
Jimmy B

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