The Camino De Santiago is a pilgrimage rooted in medieval origins, also known as The Way of Saint James,
and has grown in popularity in Ireland and internationally. It leads to the tomb believed to be that of the Apostle Saint James the Greater, in the crypt of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
The team at Cliona’s Foundation knew that a great strength comes with an achievement like doing this walk and that strength is unshakable, building res ilience and realisation in all who take part.
These are skills and friendships that are important to encourage in our remarkable young people.
While fundraising for families the students are then rewarded with a remarkable opportunity to journey to Spain.
35 Transition Yearstudents took part this year from 11 schools in Munster including Mungret Community College, Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh, Laurel Hill, Laurel Hill Colaiste, John The Baptist Hospital, Colaiste Iosaef Kilmallock, Scoil Pol Kilfinane, Salesians Pallskenry, and from Cork, Colaiste Mhuire Buttevant, Scoil Mhuire Kanturk, and Colaiste Mhuire Crosshaven.
The trip was so rewarding and special that Cliona’s Foundation are calling on schools all over Ireland to join them on the journey in 2024.
Joining the group from Salesians school in Pallskenry was transition year student Alex Bennis from Killaloe in Limerick. Alex spoke of how special the trip was and of how much she learned from the whole experience: “This was an amazing trip and an amazing opportunity. We all truly made so many friends and memories which we will treasure forever.”
Accompanying Alex and her school mates was teacher Grace Sheahan: “The trip was incredibly special for me as a teacher, watching the students embrace and grow with the challenges and fun that the journey entailed. I was so proud of the students walking with special purpose. It’s something I know the students and I will never forget. I’m really looking forward to doing it all over again with another incredible group of young people.”
The students from the various schools had not met each other in person until they travelled to the airport on the morning of the flight, having only met through Zoom throughout the year. However, friendships were formed at lightning speed as their collective adventure began. They carried stones in memory of Cliona Ring and all the children who have succumbed to illness, and for their own loved ones at home. When they arrived in Santiago De Compostela the group walked together to the Cathedral and threw their stones into the famous fountain. The sense of purpose and accomplishment between the group made for emotional scenes in the square!
Dara Lynch, a student from Colaiste Muire Crosshaven says the trip was unforgettable “The Camino De Santiago walk was a trip I’ll never forget. We walked 114kms over 5 days from Sarria to Santiago. It was an incredible experience for a great cause. I met loads of new people that I became friends with over the space of a week. We had so many laughs and made so many memories to last a lifetime. Although the walk was tough at times it did’nt really matter as we were having too much of a good time to care. For anyone thinking about doing the Camino I’d say definitely go for it because you won’t regret it!