School Tour – Paris – February 2023

The full itinerary for the next school tour taking place in February 2023 will be published once all dates are confirmed.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” St Augustin

School tours have been an integral part of life in Our Lady’s Bower for many years. Gone are the days when the tour groups hauled themselves by ferry and coach to the distant lands of The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland, to name just a few of the places visited, usually all during the one tour!

In recent years, groups have taken to the air, saving time and energy, and single destination tours have replaced the annual European pilgrimage. Students have visited such places as London and Paris on umpteen occasions, as well as Barcelona, Milan, Rome and Berlin.

Perhaps the most momentous air trip was post Christmas 1991 when 65 pupils and teachers descended on Leningrad and Moscow. It was in the days before glasnost and perestroika when the Soviet Union was a dark and mysterious place. Just about everything that could go wrong with a trip…did.

From missing lifejackets on the Aeroflot airbus to garlic meatballs for breakfast, this was one steep learning curve. A pupil had her appendix out and the school chaplain was arrested by the KGB for dealing in dollars on the black market to name but two glitches!

These events tend to stick in the mind longer than the beauty of the snowbound Kremlin, the Bolshoi Ballet or the frost rimed Hermitage museum with its Fabergé eggs! Is there anyone out there who remembers the trip?

More recently, students have enjoyed cultural trips to Paris and Milan, a stimulating week at Space Camp near Brussels in Belgium, an invigorating trip to the ski slopes of Italy or Austria and a poignant visit to a concentration camp near Berlin.

Whatever one’s memories of school, the week spent travelling with classmates always remains a real highlight to be savoured long after the actual event.

2nd Years Enjoy the Parisian Sights – Feb. 2020

As Audrey Hepburn said “Paris is always a good idea” and that was certainly the case for 77 of our 2nd Year students who travelled on Thursday, February 13th for four fun-filled days of culture and sightseeing. The tour began in the early hours of Thursday morning with a 2am departure for Dublin airport. All were happy to be leaving Ireland behind as storm Dennis was making his appearance. The flights there and back were a bit turbulent but the group was thrilled to touchdown and enjoy four days of spring sunshine in the City of Light.

Day one began with a visit to the Palais de Versailles with its splendid grand apartments, the glorious hall of mirrors and beautiful garden. The girls then enjoyed a cruise along the Seine followed by an obligatory pit stop to dine on some delicious crepes before hotel check-in.

With the group staying in a Disney hotel, they were only a stone’s throw away from the Disneyland parks for their activities on day two. A short coach ride meant they arrived at the park ahead of the crowds and could make a plan of attack, squeezing as many rollercoaster rides into the day as possible. They enjoyed the thrills of Big Thunder Mountain, Tower of Terror and Space Mountain with a few hugs and high fives from the Disney characters along the way. With it being Feb. 14th a number of students were even witness to a marriage proposal! The parade along Main Street and spectacular fireworks display above the castle were enjoyed by all – students and staff alike. They certainly got their money’s worth, as they were the last Minnie Mouse-eared revellers to leave the park.

Day 3 started with a visit to the Louvre Museum with everyone excited to see the magnificent artwork on display, especially da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Montmartres was next on the itinerary but first came the climb up the Montmartres hill to the Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur. It was here that some of our eagle-eyed students made a celebrity sighting with YouTuber and rapper KSI being swarmed by our Bower girls and happily took time to stand in for some selfies and snaps. We are hoping this was not the only highlight of the trip!

The group’s final day was a lot more relaxed with a bus tour of the city’s sights and a leisurely stroll along the Champs Elysees to see the Arc de Triomphe and a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. A spot of shopping was enjoyed before an evening flight home.

The girls were a credit to the school and their families while away and we hope they made memories that will last long into the future. We would like to thank the staff members who travelled with the group and the tour committee for organising another highly successful 2nd year tour.

Long live school tours.

Some Recent Destinations:

  • 2022 Barcelona Hockey Camp
  • 2020 2nd year tour to Paris
  • 2019 2nd year tour to Paris
  • 2018 2nd year tour to Milan
  • 2016 Barcelona Hockey Camp
  • 2015 Second year tour to Paris
  • 2014 Malaga Hockey Camp
  • French Exchange with College Ste Clotilde, Douai
  • 2013 Second year tour to Paris
  • 2012 Cheltenham Hockey Camp
  • French Exchange with College Ste Clotilde, Douai
  • French Exchange with St Jean, Beauvais
  • 2010 Douai French Exchange
  • 2009 Ski Trip to Austria
  • Second Year trip to Venice and Verona
  • TY trip to Berlin
  • 2008 Second Year trip to Paris
  • Space Camp Brussels for TY
  • Ski Trip to Lavarone Italy
  • 2007 Douai French Exchange
  • Second Year trip to Paris
  • Space Camp Brussels for TY
  • Liverpool Hockey Camp

There are many other tours and trips on the Bower calendar including:

  • Day trip to Knock for 1st yrs
  • Horizon Adventure Centre for TY
  • Ice skating in Dublin for TY and 6th yrs
  • Theatre visits for set plays
  • Field trips for juniors and seniors in geography, art and CSPE