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School Tour to Italy – October, 1994

On 28 October thirty four 5th and 6th Year students accompanied by Ms. White, Ms. Dublaghan, Ms. Joy and Mrs Burke embarked on the second Cluny school tour to Italy. This time the north of Italy was the venue for a week; and in particular our destinations were the two cities of Florence and Venice. It was to be a combined cultural and historical excursion to the elegant and timeless landmarks of Italy at its grandest. Armed with some basic Italian language classes in September and our maps — we sallied forth.

Gondolas in Venice

Gondolas in Venice

The group stayed outside Florence in Montecatini, a relaxing and pretty little town fill of ‘GerlateHas’, about an hour’s ride from the city. In the two days we spent here most of the important sites were visited. The most dramatic was possibly that first one we actually visited. The guide introduced us to our first taste of the gems of Italy’s culture by cleverly steering us into the Academia, which houses the original statue of ‘David’ by Michelangelo and other works by the great sculptor. The effect on us was stunning — interesting enough in books but powerful in reality, we all agreed. We queued for the Uffizi gallery [the second most popular gallery in the world after St. Petersburg’s ‘Hermitage’, it seems] and eventually got to see the best of Botticelli, Leonardo and Raphael among others.

Group-Photo-in-VeniceWe also took in the Ponte Vecchio, the Pitti Palace and most importantly the markets. The girls enjoyed the bargaining and did very well — leather backpacks in black being the most sought after commodity! Popular also were beautiful art books; it must be said — the artistic beauty of Florence works its own magic. The old and the new were both valued.

Group Photo in Venice

Group Photo in Venice

The next two days were spend in Venice. We were located in Lido de Jesolo, which was rather quiet at this time of the year but we livened things up at a local disco a couple of nights! We travelled across to Venice by Vaporetto both mornings in the autumn mists, until the city on the water loomed out like a Hollywood stage set. It is difficult to believe that it is quite real, but we quickly adjusted to the extraordinary and we loved it. St. Mark’s Square where Carla wanted to feed all the pigeons but no one else agreed. We took in a guided tour of the Doges’ Palace, the Rialto Bridge, Gaileria deli’ Academia — and of course the shops. The brave ones took gondolas — and the strains of Cluny voices could be heard singing about Cornettos down the backstreet canals!


Our last day took in Verona (of Romeo and Juliet fame), Sirmione, with an exhilarating boat race round this beautiful fortress town on Lake Garda (not on the itinerary!) and on to our last night in a lovely hotel beside the lakeshore — where we put on a show and displayed our singing talents — much to the amusement of some of the guests!

Teachers in Venice

Teachers in Venice

Without exaggerating, this was a wonderful trip, enjoyed by teachers and students alike. Abbey Travel deserve our thanks and 1995’s 5th and 6th years surpassed themselves as travellers and did credit to us all.


Group Photo in Venice

Group Photo in Venice


Flashback to 1991/1992 – The Sound of Music

“The hills were alive… with the Sound of Music”, as the talented 5th year students enthralled a captive audience with their splendid performance of “The Sound of Music”. It was a truly memorable experience, in which all of the 5th years were involved. Producer-director was Mrs Irene Burke, the musical director Ms. Timara Galassi, pianist.


The part of Maria was portrayed by Susan Sheridan. Naomi Doyle, a handsome Captain Von Trapp, tempted Maria away from the cloister — without too much difficulty. Their singing was accompanied by the angelic Von Trapp children. The Abbey Nuns formed a wonderful choir, led by the Mother Abbess (Caroline Browne). Indeed, I believe these Nuns may even have been offered a place in the convent!

Each weekend, we took a few hours off to go to Timara’s house, where she very kindly welcomed us. There we practised the singing. Our drama class on Wednesday gave us a chance to polish up on our acting. So, between both of these practices, we managed to prepare ourselves as well as could be expected for the opening night.

The acting was absolutely outstanding, and Una Mc Kevitt won an award at the ceremonies, for her very original portrayal of Mad Max!

We performed on Thursday 26th, Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March, and put on a really excellent show. We all agreed that it was a great experience, and who knows…. Maybe you might see some of us on the stage again in the future!

Alva Finnegan 5Y Production Assistant.

From Annual 1991-1992