School trips and exchanges are organised to enhance the learning of students, as well as providing good opportunities for personal development and building friendships. These trips form a major part of a student’s experience in the school.
Disruption to the normal school timetable is minimised and use is made of the school holiday period to facilitate longer trips. The school generally avoids high cost trips which effectively exclude those who cannot afford them. The plan for school trips is drawn up before the beginning of the school year, finalised by the school management in September and then approved by the board of management.
Parents will provide written permission for students’ participation in school trips. Exclusion of individual students from trips is a school management decision. Such decisions will be made taking into account a student’s school performance, his level of co-operation with teachers, his previous performance on school trips, his capacity to make the trip difficult for other students. It is acknowledged that some trips may not be suitable for some students due to temperament, maturity and, perhaps occasionally due to disability issues.
Trips are usually advertised in November with the school seeking ‘expressions of interest’ at that time. Meetings about each trip are usually held before the deposit stage. Students are encouraged to pay in instalments.
Plan for 2015/16
Italy Exchange Trip
7 days in June 2016 for 1st year students
Probable dates: return by 11 June 2016
Each year first year students spend a week in Italy. The trip is primarily a cultural experience and forms part of an exchange with students from Rome who visit Rockbrook each year. This year the Rome students will visit Rockbrook in autumn/spring and Rockbrook students will pay a return visit to Rome in June.
The group will visit Rome and the surrounding areas. The main stay is in Rome. There boys will stay with a host family for approximately 6 evenings and experience Italian culture first hand. The group leader will collect them each day and visit many of the wonderful sites in and around the city including The Vatican and it’s museums, St. Peter’s, The Catacombs, The Coliseum and Forum and the beautiful “Piazzas” of the city.
The trip is memorable: young people even after many years speak fondly of the experience and of the Italian families.
Estimate cost is €490 if a family hosts an Italian student. This price includes air fares, accommodation, food, transport and gallery entrances.
Places may be limited. In this case priority will be given to those who return the application forms first.
Spanish Language Trip
15 days in June 2016 for 2nd year students
Likely dates: return by June 20
Rockbrook has facilitated language and cultural trips to Spain for 2nd year students for a number of years now, with a view to helping them actively advance their language proficiency prior to the Junior and Leaving Cert years. The trip is also open to students not taking Spanish as a school subject. Apart from the obvious benefits of improving their language skills and ultimately performing better in their State examinations, young people learn to appreciate a different cultural environment.
The trip offers an exciting and varied programme of language tuition, sports, cultural visits and excursions. Working from a school base near Cordoba, students will have daily classes, sports and cultural activities. Cultural and sporting trips take place on weekends. The estimate cost is €980, including flights. A DVD of previous trips to Spain is available from the school on request.
Rockbrook students will mix regularly with Spanish students for sporting and fun activities: for example, there will be soccer matches and other sporting challenges in conjunction with the host school.
As with all trips, students must work well during the year and have good discipline records in the school to be permitted to participate.
Final details for the 2016 trip will be available in March 2016.
History/Geography Field Trip to West of Ireland
In early October the 3rd years have a three-day trip to the West of Ireland, during which they will study particular historical and geographical features of the Galway, Clare and Limerick areas. All the class are encouraged to participate in this trip. Estimate cost is €160 all-in. Accommodation will be in local hostels and the group travel together by coach for the three days.
Plans for this trip are finalised in mid-September each year.
Six-day trip to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Transition Year – Dates, March 18 – 23, 2016
Walking the Camino is one of the great cultural experiences of Europe. The walk follows the old pilgrim trail to the shrine of St James, across the north of Spain, finishing up in the ancient cathedral town of Santiago de Compostela.
Not for the fainthearted, the plan is to cover the “minimum” pilgrim route, a 110 km stretch from Sarria, to the east of Santiago, on the French pilgrim route. It is by times exciting, at times exhilarating, and at times tiring. The group will fulfill the usual pilgrim customs along the way, and enjoy the scenery, the food, the music and great fun. A couple of days are left for sightseeing, tourism and shopping on arrival in the great city of Santiago. Estimate all-in cost is €550 and includes flights, meals, hostels, insurances and transport. Before going students must participate in some preparatory walking trips. Bookings will be finalised in January.
This trip may be combined with a special 40th anniversary trip, to celebrate the school’s foundation. News on this trip will be circulated in September.
Workcamp in Trinidad
Seniors (5th year)
1 – 19 June 2015
The school’s trip to Trinidad is being run as an activity of Rockbrook’s development education in conjunction with Nullamore Club. The trip will challenge senior students think more constructively about what they can contribute to society, develop their team-work and communication skills and strengthen their virtues of responsibility and independence, while helping to build home for rural peasant farmers in Trinidad.
The school has run workcamps in Kenya in recent years assisted by the Local Lives Foundation, a registered Irish charity set up by some past pupils to facilitate the past pupil community as a whole in helping deprived peoples in the world.
To get an insight into the work carried out, have a look at the short videos below from a previous trips.
If you have an interest in any of the school’s workcamps then you should watch the 2014 videos produced by M Gardas:
Video 1: Kibera Slum and Kenyan Safari
Video 2: the 2014 video shot in Turkana,Kenya
Video 3: the Mount Kenya Climb which formed part of the 2014 Kenya trip
World Youth Day, Warsaw 2017
Seniors (5th/6th year) July 2016
To mark WYD the school is currently planning to participate in an international youth conference in Warsaw which will coincide with the World Youth Day events occurring there. Details for this trip will be finalised in October 2015.