The University of Limerick Kayaking Club have recently been on their first trip of the year to Lahinch, County Clare. The trip took place at the end of week 3, Friday to Sunday. Lahinch proved to be a great spot to commence the new season. New members got a chance to mingle and experience kayak surfing, as well as the joys of non kayak-related life in the hostel.
The trip got off to a flying start on Friday evening. Everyone was excited about the weekend ahead, spirits were high and red bull was plentiful, only a short bus journey separated us from the fantastic weekend in store. The journey was shortened by the talented Brian Higgins and Darragh Keane who provided exhilarating renditions of popular songs on their guitars, and the slightly less talented rest of us, who provided the vocals. Once we arrived, and got our room numbers, the fun part of living in a hostel began. From spontaneous raves, to pillow fights, everyone was enjoying themselves and was thrilled to be there. Everybody was getting to know each other, fun was had and ‘selfies’ taken. At the end of the night the concept of assigned rooms flew out the window and we crashed wherever we wanted.
As we got up on Saturday one of two things was going through or minds. Some were anxious and excited about the day of kayaking ahead of them, and others were trying to remember where they lost their things, as they realised that skinny dipping the night before may have been a bad idea. Kayak surfing proved to be an amazing experience for those who have never tried it before. For beginners, the challenge was to keep upright, and not be overwhelmed by the waves, it took quite a few attempts, but getting the hang of a kayak when being mauled by a wave felt like a massive achievement, and something great to walk away with at the end of the day. Of course there were less glorious moments, many were turned over, and “some”, made the unfortunate mistake of being slightly too eager to get out of their turned-over kayaks in shallow water, only to realise that smashing your head into sand, hurts, even with a helmet on. Thankfully there were no major occurrences, thanks to the eagle-eyed, experienced members of the club, who watched over us, and taught us a thing or two about how not to get tossed over. Although exhausted from the heavy paddling, we could not pass up on a good swim, which was a great rest and made for some excellent photo ops.
Saturday night was the highlight of the weekend for most, everyone dawned their fancy dress outfits, as per the cartoon/TV add theme, no one can doubt that there was a vast amount of variety, from “Popeye” to “Dick Dastardly”, to two “Flintstones” and three “Bat”-men, even “Thomas” was there with a few cans, makes one wonder, what’s Halloween going to look like? As we reached the night club the night went into high gear, the fatigue of kayaking wore off and the dancing began. There were three groups there on the night, but we were by far the loudest. Everyone was dancing none-stop all night, and when the music stopped, we provided our own. The fun wasn’t over with the club either, sleeping only got in the way of us enjoying the night, so we avoided it. We got to know each other better and also got to hear some stories from the older guys. Our room packed it in at 5:30 am that night, or morning?
Sunday’s morning was bittersweet, there was still more kayak surfing to enjoy but the thought of going home was still constantly in the back of our minds. We went out that day and took as much fun out of the morning session as we could. By the afternoon we were all packed up, sitting together in our rooms, going back over the highlights of the weekend, at 6 the bus arrived and we made our way back to UL.
The trip will definitely live in the memory of all the new members, it was our first time out with the club and it was absolutely mental to say the least. I’m sure everyone is ecstatic about the upcoming trip in week seven, and I hope to see you all there.