Early last Wednesday morning a group of forty four senior History and German students from Our Lady’s Secondary School, accompanied by their History teachers, Mr. O’Boyle & Ms. Sheridan, Mr. Lyons, Mr. Gonoud, Ms. Sweeney and Principal Mr. Kelly, set off to the historical German city of Berlin. The trip gave the students a wonderful opportunity of bringing their Leaving Certificate History syllabus to life as well as honing in their German skills for the upcoming Leaving Certificate Oral exam. After arriving on Wednesday morning the students took part in a guided walking and bus tour of Berlin, taking in the political, economic and social history of the city including features such as the Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Berlin Wall and a visit to the former site of Hitler’s bunker. Next up, the students had the opportunity to get into the festive spirit with a visit to the world renowned Berlin Christmas markets at Potsdamer Platz as well as relaxing with some ice skating in the outdoor skating arenas.
This was followed on Thursday with an eagerly anticipated visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp which was used by Hitler and the Nazi’s during World War 2. The students were treated to an excellent tour of the camp and its role during World War 2. Next up was a visit to the Olympic Stadium, site of the famous 1936 Olympic Games where the great Jesse Owens won four gold medals. The students marveled at the magnificent architecture and history of this famous stadium. Later that evening, the students had the opportunity to visit the German Parliament headquarters at the Reichstag and take in some of the spectacular views of the city from the buildings iconic roof terrace and glass dome.
Friday began with a tram out to our last guided tour of the trip with a visit to the Stasi Prison. This was used for holding political prisoners during the Cold War period. From there it was onto the famous Checkpoint Charlie museum and was followed by a visit to the former headquarters of the SS located at the Topography of Terror.
Before flying out on Saturday evening students were given one last chance to visit the Christmas Markets and the famous Berlin Mall. The group arrived home safely to Castleblayney with many interesting facts and additional knowledge that can be put to good use in the months ahead as well as many treasured memories that will last a lifetime.