Fresher’s Weekend by Ailbhe Tuohy

Dressed up for Saturday Night!

Dressed up for Saturday Night!

Before college, I remember looking through all the different sports societies that I wanted to join. Literally, no joke I had about 20 on my list. I knew that there was no way I would be able to join all of them, so I decided to take my time looking around the sports expo in September and choose a manageable 4 or 5 clubs (or so I thought). September came and I made my way into the sports expo, ready to look and choose carefully. My plan was to wander around, then go back and sign up for the few that grabbed my attention the most. This, however, was no to be. As soon as I reached the kayaking stall, I was greeted by friendly faces. I immediately felt at ease and was told all about an amazing trip to the Alps by Marie and Finch. I think I ended up chatting for at least 20-30 minutes! I went against my plans of “shopping around” and immediately signed up. I can honestly say, Best… Decision… EVER!

I started going to pool sessions every Wednesday and Thursday. I started to recognise people’s faces and became friendly with a few. Then it was announced that there was a fresher’s trip to Middleton, Co. Cork, the perfect way to make friends! So off I headed on the 18th of October, no idea what I was getting myself into! The bus was mighty craic! I had never had such an eventful and not to mention, fun experience on a bus before in my life!

The Bus down

The Bus down

 I was introduced to everyone and by the end of the journey I felt right at home! Once we got off the bus, it was a scramble to find a bed. Once you had claimed your sleeping area (be it a bed or floor space), you made your way to the kitchen where the craic was had way into the early hours of Saturday morning (this may have included stealing peoples shoes, poker, running around the hostel and a bit of wrestling).

Saturday morning, we were awoken by a loud Chinese gong (well, pots and pans really). We stumbled out of bed to the lovely smell of club sausages….. mmmm. At about 10 o’clock, we were on the bus and heading towards the sea for a bit of kayak surfing! This was my first time kayak surfing. I loved it! The feeling you get when you catch a wave for the first time is utterly thrilling! There was no pressure to kayak either. If you got tired or felt like you’d had enough for one day, that was fine, you could chill on the beach and play games like bull dog or red rover. A few of us even went for a swim and played chicken wars on each other’s shoulders. When time was up we gathered our gear and helped each other to carry the boats to the trailer. When everyone was changed and the trailer was packed we headed back to the hostel. We had a few hours to kill before dinner, so we all got to do our own thing for a while. Some people took a well-deserved nap, others went for a walk and a few of us rugby heads went to the pub to watch the mighty Munster play Glouster. We arrived back in time to a gorgeous home cooked meal thanks to the great cook, Derv. After dinner it was time to get cracking on our amazing costumes! There was everything from surgeons and skeletons to little bo-peep and her sheep! We spent a good portion of the night just chilling in the kitchen and dancing to no music at the hostel, then it was time to take the required group photo and head to the local pub for the remainder of the night and next morning!

The next morning, we got to sleep in until about 9:30 until we were woken, yet again by that mysterious Chinese gong, operated by Niall Finch. It was time to pack up and clean up. When all was tidy and sparkling, we boarded the bus and set off for Dublin. We stopped :)off on the way and ran the Clashganny section of the river Barrow, which consisted of a few rapids. Everyone was shattered after the amazingly fun packed weekend and the bus was almost silent on the way home, apart from the occasional snore!

This was definitely one of the BEST weekends of my life, which has thankfully been followed by many more amazing kayaking trips!

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