In April 2014, FYC embarked on its first tour to Ireland, with concerts in Cork, Kells and Dublin.
Day 1 – Cork
An excited choir boarded the coach after being photographed by the Farnham Herald for an article to be published (on the front page) later that week. We were off on the first leg of our journey to Ireland. Southampton Airport was our first port of call. There was plenty of time to chat, eat lunch or have a Costa coffee and sing a few songs for our fellow travellers before boarding our flight to Dublin.
After a short flight we landed in Dublin and after locating all the luggage (with the aid of our bright yellow luggage labels) we were met by our courier, Anne, and our coach driver, Enda. As we drove through the lovely Irish countryside we experienced typical Irish weather – sunshine and (heavy) showers.
We stopped for our evening meal just outside Cork at the Silver Springs Moran Hotel Tivoli for a lovely meal (roast no.1), then continued our journey to Kinlay House, pausing at Tesco to buy provisions including lots of cake!
Before bedtime we had a chance to unpack uniform and meet to find out arrangements for the next day.
Day 2 – Cork
Following breakfast, the choir walked to the CIT Cork School of Music for a rehearsal while I stayed at the hostel and prepared the uniform for the evening concert. After a light lunch at CIT, FYC put on a magnificent concert to a packed hall. This was part of the Life Long Learning Festival and the audience spanned the age range including groups of school children, all of whom gave FYC their first standing ovation of the tour.
After that, it was a short coach journey back to the hostel for well-earned cake! Some of the choir had a short visit to a local sweet factory while others crammed in a bit of revision. It was then time to travel to Carrigaline for our evening concert with the Carrigaline Choral Group in the Church of Our Lady & Saint John. Following a short rehearsal we went across the road to the Carrigaline Court Hotel for our evening meal (roast no.2). Another excellent concert.
Day 3 – Dublin
Today we were off to Dublin, stopping en route at The Rock of Cashel. Our fantastic guide pitched the tour really well. We had the opportunity to sing in two of the buildings and learnt about round towers. After lunch in Cashel village, we had some retail therapy at the Dundrum Shopping Centre. The evening was spent at Bewley’s Hotel, where, following dinner (roast no.3) we had a Soirée. Members of the choir entertained us with singing, piano solo, juggling and musical theatre. It was a lovely evening followed by an early night.
Day 4 – Dublin
The morning was a guided coach tour of Dublin with our guide Irwin. We visited Trinity College and then headed to Christ Church Cathedral for a short rehearsal, lunch outside and a concert in the Cathedral. It was a lovely acoustic to sing in and a wonderful concert.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at leisure at the hotel before departing for St Columba’s Church in Kells for our evening concert. Following a short rehearsal, we ate our evening meal at the Vanilla Pod Restaurant (not a roast!). Another fantastic concert.
Day 5 – Home
After a late night, we were able to have a leisurely breakfast. On our way to the airport we stopped at the village of Howth in Dublin Bay, where the choir were able to go off and explore in groups. Before we knew it, we were back at Southampton and were surprised to see Brian our coach driver from Monday waiting for us. We had given him a CD on Monday and he’d been listening it to all week!
Alison & John Nicholls