his March saw another hugely successful rugby exchange between the Jes and College Victor Hugo from Narbonne.  This year it was our turn to play host to 30 French boys and girls. The French arrived on the evening of Sunday 8th March and were collected by their host families to be settled and fed for the night.  Monday morning saw the French students and their accompanying teachers in school where they were officially welcomed and took part in classes with their hosts.  On Monday afternoon, a combination team of Jes Juniors and U14s played College Victor Hugo in a match at the swamp in truly adverse conditions – Galway weather at its worst!  Both teams gave it their best despite the wind and sleet but Victor Hugo came out on top.  Afterwards, the hockey girls hosted both the French and Jes rugby squad in a friendly training session in Dangan for a taste of a different school sport.

On Tuesday the French students toured Connemara and the French girls’ squad played a match against Westport in far sunnier conditions than the day before.  On Wednesday morning the students were back in class before joining us to cheer on our Junior Squad at the Connacht Cup semi-final.  Everyone gathered for a celebratory lunch in the Atrium after the match where good food and good company were enjoyed by all. We bid a fond farewell to our French visitors early on Thursday morning and they travelled on to Dublin to take in the city sights and the Aviva Stadium.

Many thanks are due to the host families of both the Junior Rugby Squad and the Hockey Squad who looked after our French guests so well.  Thank you also to the staff and management of the Jes for opening their classroom doors and offering their support to make the visit such a success.   Without the five teachers from Victor Hugo who accompanied the students none of this could have taken place – it was a week where new friendships were forged and old friendships renewed between students and between teachers alike!   Finally, thanks are due to Steve Parkinson whose ongoing commitment has kept the links between College Victor Hugo and Coláiste Iognáid strong and whose organisation and hard work made the 2015 exchange the success it was.

Here’s to Narbonne 2016!

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