The Study of Geography: The study of the elements that constitute the delicate balance of our Planet
Junior Certificate - Aims to give students knowledge of their immediate environment, concentrating on Weather and climate, rock structures and formation of our landscape, rivers and coastline. The modern day problems and patterns that are emerging are also studied, for example Acid rain, pollution, river and coastal management.
The second part of the course focuses on the broader world, looking at patterns of life in other countries, studying the historical background, world economic patterns, with case studies of some Third World economies.
Skills of map reading and photograph interpretation are on going skills being taught in all of the Junior Certificate years.
Leaving Certificate - Is an in depth study of the physical world and the development of mapping skills. Students study the economic and social criteria that aims to give an understanding of the current world economic dynamic. Europe is studied on a thematic basis, with the emphasis on the changing pattern of today's economies in relation to their historic past.
Trip to Iceland:
I think everyone would agree that the Fifth Year geography trip to Iceland (April 2014) was an unforgettable experience. To see so many of the places we learn about in geography class in real life gave us a better understanding of the physical forces at work.
Walking out into the snow in a swimsuit was very weird but the Blue Lagoon was amazing! For many girls this was the highlight of the five days. It was a nice way to relax after being in the airport and a fun way to start the trip. The snow and hail showers made it even more memorable.
Friday was very busy. We went on the Golden Circle tour visiting many places including Gulfoss Waterfall, Geysir, Thingvellir National Park (where the Eurasian and North American plates are separating) and an earthquake simulator. It was great to experience the simulation, but I think we would all agree that we wouldn't like to be in a real earthquake – it's quite scary! The sulphur in the geysers smelled absolutely awful (like rotten eggs) but it was definitely worth it to see them explode. The weather was very changeable and the day was exhausting so we all slept well that night!
Saturday was more relaxing with swimming and a city tour of Reykjavik. Reykjavik is very small and only really had two streets to shop on. Even then there was not a great selection of shops, but we still managed to get our souvenirs. As beautiful as Reykjavik is, we wouldn't recommend it for a shopping trip!
On Sunday we visited Hellisheidi Geothermal Powerplant, two waterfalls, a small village called Vík and a volcanic beach. At one of the waterfalls, Stógafoss, a rainbow appeared beside us! The only time we've ever seen the end of the rainbow and there was no pot of gold – legend is a troll who lives behind the waterfall stole it. Hellisheidi geothermal power plant is run by only two people as it is so efficient which we couldn't believe! In fact energy is so efficient and cheap in the capital of Reykjavik, foot paths are heated in winter to prevent them freezing over!
We were able to walk in behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall and follow a trail right down to the plunge pool at the bottom. It was amazing, but the spray meant that we were all completely soaked for the two hour bus journey back to the hotel! We gained so much from the tour and this knowledge was tested in the final night quiz. It was a fun way to finish off the trip.
Everyone had a fantastic time and we will always have great memories of Iceland. We definitely recommend people go if they ever have the chance. Bring plenty of warm clothes and waterproofs
Niamh Conneely 5.1