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Krakow
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A group of History students from Gorey Community School had a most
interesting easter break which included a four-day trip to Krakow, Poland. 
38 students and 4 teachers (Ms Liz Russell, Ms Derville O’Malley-Moore, Ms
Noelle Doyle - all History teachers plus Science teacher and History buff
Ms Catherine Steacy) enjoyed a fabulous action-packed trip featuring the
historical highlights of this wonderful region of Poland.  On arrival in
the beautiful medieval city, the Gorey group were treated to a walking tour
of several of the highlights, starting with the vibrant Old Town.  Here the
streets have barely changed since the thirteenth century; a wonderful
mixture of churches, restaurants, wooden buildings and museums.  From there
the students walked to the Jewish Quarter which includes the oldest
surviving synagogue in the country, a beautiful renaissance building at the
top of the district’s market square.  From there it was a climb up Wavel
Hill with its imposing cathedral and castle, this was the seat of bishops
and kings and the centre of church and state in the country during the
medieval period.

Day two witnessed a journey into more recent history - a full day trip to
Auschwitz-Birkenau.  This was a powerful and emotional experience for
students and teachers alike - harrowing but necessary to see to keep the
memory of this awful period of history alive.  Auschwitz of course was more
than a concentration camp; it became an extermination camp when taken over
by Nazis Himmler and Hoss and it is here that more than 1.2 million people
were murdered.  The Gorey group saw the dreadful conditions, they heard how
cattle trucks were unloaded and hundreds of thousands of people, deemed
‘unfit’ were sent to ‘shower rooms’; gas chambers which killed up to 2,000
people at a time .  This was a living memorial to those who died and to the
horror of the Nazi’s Final Solution.

The next two days included trips to the world-renowned salt mines and the
communist-built town of Nowa Huta.  The Salt Mines have been in use since
the 13th century and this was a very popular tour with the students which
began with a walk down 378 steps!  As well as seeing the wooden workings of
the mines there are carvings and sculptures made by the miners in the salt,
underground lakes and highly-decorated chambers used for everything from
weddings to concerts!  The final tour, to Nowa Huta, brought socialist
realism to life where the group witnessed a huge town, built on the orders
of Stalin in the 1940s to house the workers of the giant Sendzimir
steelworks.

Following this successful trip, the History department of Gorey Community
School is busy preparing next year’s tour!
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Gorey Community School
At the forefront of education in North Wexford since 1993
Gorey Community School