On 10th April 2014, six brave students from Gormanston College arrived in Spain to undertake the challenge of walking 165km to Santiago de Compostela along the Camino Frances.
The walk began from O’Cebreiro early on Friday 11th in the cool, misty hills of Galicia in Northern Spain. That day the students saw beautiful scenery and well-earned views after a number of steep and arduous up-hill climbs. On arrival into Triacastela, everyone settled into the dormitory, freshened up, did some laundry, checked and managed their blisters, and explored the town. Dinner that evening was the wonderful creation of the boys themselves.
Each day followed a similar pattern. The weather was glorious and the students took every opportunity to get a tan. Some of the highlights of the days included the wide variety of wonderful pilgrims they encountered along the way. The Gormanston boys made a great impression on everyone they met. People of all ages and nationalities complimented the boys on their kindness, friendliness and courage on the Camino. The spirit in which each student undertook the walk was admirable. They were sociable, mature and very considerate of others. They made the trip most enjoyable and worthwhile for the accompanying teachers. The evening meal was also a great opportunity to share stories and have some fun after the hard day’s trekking. Some of the difficulties faced were the physical ones. Blisters, muscle ache and a bit of sunburn made the pilgrimage tough. But the boys never complained or showed any signs of giving up. They remained positive and grateful at all times.
As the students walked the way, they carried an Irish flag. As a wonderful souvenir of the trip, they asked every person they met to sign it and got it stamped in every coffee shop along the way. What a lovely idea. On reaching the Cathedral in Santiago, they stormed into the square full of joy, raising the flag high over their heads. With pride each one received their Certificate or Compostela for their great achievement and then visited the Cathedral to give praise and thanks to God. Each of the boys showed great appreciation for the huge accomplishment they had successfully completed and all are eager to return and travel an extended part of the Camino. Well done to Thomas Keane, Cillian O’Connor Barry, Richard Donnelly Devine, Tristan Parker, Evan Murphy and Luke O’Neill. They are superstars. May they continue to reap the rewards of this journey for many years to come.