We picked a great day for our field trip to the European Parliament and the National Museum, both close to Dáil Eireann - Budget day. Before we got to our first destination we had to manoeuvre our way past the many gardaí on duty, as well as negotiate the road clocks put in place in the vicinity of Kildare Street. Perhaps we looked like early protestors!
When we finally reacher the European Parliament, we were greeted by Anne McEvoy who gave an interesting overview of how the European Union is organise and run. She outlined the composition of the European Parliament and how it interact with the other institutions of the Union.
Anne then also gave details of how the Irish MEPs organise their working calendar and the reason why they are rarely present in Ireland, let alone Dublin (so no photo opportunity with one of our elected representatives. We had better luck at the museum!).
After Anne’s comprehensive presentation, we watched a DVD on the benefits to Ireland of joining the EU in 1973 – forty years ago this year.
We then had a talk from Harry O’Connor who has worked in various institutions within the European Union for many decades. He shared his extensive knowledge with us and has invited us back for a study workshop in January 2014, when he promises to assist us with our research for our European Studies projects. Our two and a half hours in the European Parliament building flew by and we set off on a circuitous budget-day route to the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street.
We were greeted by the newly appointed Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Raghnall O’Floinn, who gave us an overview of the history of the buildings in his care and the collections each one holds. Our teacher, Paula Harvey, brought us on a tour of the display cases dedicated to the earliest arrival of man to Ireland. We followed the story of our ancestors from about 8,000 BC right through to the introduction of farming in the 4th millennium BC.
We also looked at the metal-working activities associated with the Bronze Age in Ireland and reflected on the developments in society and culture that is part of our rich Irish heritage.
After a quick lunch, we set about filling in the questionnaire provided by Paula - this exercise will greatly assist in project research and is a very useful tool for exam revision. We finally departed the museum about 3.30pm, after an intense day of research of the old and the new. We emerged blinking into the light, feeling satisfied and optimistic….and then remembered that it was budget day.