Banbridge Academy Iceland Trip

Academy Students travel to Iceland over half term


During half term break, 34 Academy pupils and 4 staff set off from Dublin airport for the Geography Department’s first overseas trip since the pandemic.  After a smooth morning of travelling, we arrived in Keflavik International Airport and were greeted by our charming tour guide, Elsa and her trusty sidekick Bjerkney, the bus driver.  From the start, we were treated with stunning views of lava flows which were over a millennia old on our way to the infamous Blue Lagoon.  This man-made wonder provided us with an opportunity to relax after a long morning of travelling and to stay on top of our skin care routines (Mr O’Shaughnessy and Mr Reaney very much included).  Once our batteries were fully recharged by the mineral rich geothermal waters, we made our way home through the lava field to the Cabin Hotel Reykjavik, our home for the next few days. We rounded our evening off with a stroll into the heart of the Icelandic capital to the backdrop of the world-renowned Northern Lights.  A fitting end to a wonderful first day.


Day two began bright and early with a trip to Hellisheidi Geothermal energy exhibition.  This provided a really interesting insight into how Iceland leverages its unique natural landscape to benefit their population and how they are planning to extend these benefits to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.


Following our tour at Hellisheidi, we set off on the Golden Circle tour to the soundtrack of the masterful commentary of our sagacious and charismatic guide, informing us on a range of topics, including the trials of the Viking settlers of the island and why Icelanders never switch off the lights, much to the dismay of Mrs Evans!  On the tour, the views of the Golden Waterfall and geysers were stunning in the bright winter sun.  We also visited the site of the world’s oldest parliament close to the continental divide where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet.  Upon returning to the hotel in the evening, day 2 concluded with a fiercely contested quiz night where the contestants physical, mental and gastrointestinal toughness were tested to their limit.


Our third and final day brought us to the beautiful south coast of the island of Iceland.  We soaked up the wonderful views of the rugged Westman Islands and gazed at the imposing spectre of the Mt Hekla; all struggling to pronounce the now infamous Eyjafjallajökull.  Our journey along the south coast ended with a lunch stop at the town of Vik and its beautiful Black Sand Beach.  Then we headed back in the direction of home, with a longer than planned photo stop along the way, due to a particularly disobedient bus door.  A quiet bus ride via another idyllic waterfall brought us back for one last trip into the heart of Reykjavik, bringing the final day to a close before the short trip home across the water early the next morning.