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Journeys with TheJournal.ie: A trip for the kids through the Phoenix Park Tunnel

Our latest winner of a free Irish Rail trip is the CRC school Clontarf which is going to take its students on a tour of the new Phoenix Park Tunnel.

THERE’S SOMETHING A little evocative about a railway tunnel.

It can be a black hole into the unknown, full of mystery, particularly when it runs under a well-known landmark and most people don’t know it’s there.

Such is the case with the Phoenix Park tunnel – a 700-metre long passage which is almost 140 years old. Here at TheJournal.ie we’ve recently covered how the tunnel is being refurbished to create a conduit between Heuston and Connolly stations. And now we’re going to send some lucky people on a trip down the same tunnel.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

We are delighted to announce our latest winner, in the Irish Rail partnership with TheJournal.ie to provide free rail trips for deserving community groups, is the students of the CRC special school in Clontarf, Dublin.

The CRC currently has 98 students, aging in range from three years old all the way up to 19. Every student has a physical disability. Many are wheelchair users. Everybody is affected in some way.

Stacey Allen, teacher at the Clontarf school tells TheJournal.ie about how she and her students first heard of the tunnel under the park on this very website.

“We were reading TheJournal.ie, which we often do, looking for things that interest us, so we can have a debate,” Stacey says.

We just liked the quirkiness of the tunnel. So we said let’s enter the competition, sure why not. The whole class contributed.

Stacey teaches Civic, Social, and Political Education (CSPE). All kinds of topics come under her remit.

“We cover democracy, human rights, that kind of thing – and we try to make things as accessible as possible,” she says. “Some of the kids can’t read, but all can understand and contribute.”

We were talking about Hillary and Donald today for instance.

When it comes to field trips however, Stacey says “it isn’t easy to have a place to ourselves, though we always try for public transport like the Luas or the bus”.

“Being the first to go through the tunnel will be really special,” she says.

She adds that her students are “delighted” to have won, though she’s unsure just when they’ll make their journey. She promises to send on photos when she and her class do finally make their way along the new line.

“Just to win a competition like this, we don’t have much opportunity to win such a contest, so it’s great,” she says.

They could see I was on the phone and that something exciting was happening when I found out that we’d won. We had only entered on Monday! Now we can’t wait.

TheJournal.ie is announcing one winner a week, over four weeks, but there are 100 round trips to be won – for up to 50 people in a group at a time, so a whopping 5,000 tickets – and you can apply until 28 October 2016.

Read: Journeys with TheJournal.ie: Ireland’s oldest gay sports club encourages people to get Out and About

Read: Journeys with TheJournal.ie: Honouring the veterans of Jadotville

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