Friday 30 September 2016

Leaving Cert holidays back with a boom as students jet off with 'at least €1,000 spending money'

Tourism experts report 30pc increase in exam students booking flights abroad

Catherine Devine

Published 28/06/2016 | 14:40

Spainnoted as Irish students' most popular destination, particularly the Balearic Islands
Spainnoted as Irish students' most popular destination, particularly the Balearic Islands

It was once a rite of passage for Celtic Tiger kids and it's back with a bang.

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Students across the country are leaving behind their exams and jetting off on their Leaving Cert holiday with at least €1,000 spending money for boat trips, partying and beach days.

While the trend of Leaving Cert holidays all but disappeared during the recession, tourism experts report a 30pc increase in exam students booking flights abroad, with figures reaching the highest levels since the recession first hit.

Spain is noted as the most popular destination, particularly the Balearic Islands.

Cian Thomas from Cobh, Cork is heading to Magaluf with nine other boys from his school to forget the pressures of the Leaving Cert.

“Flights and a hotel cost us €550 in total and we're all bringing about €1000 spending money,” Cian told Independent.ie

Cian Thompson and friends.png  

“€1000 is just a safety net because we want to do a lot of things when we're over there like renting jet skis and going on boat parties.

“We paid for the holiday ourselves through working the summer before and then got spending money from parents as gifts for birthdays and Christmas," he continued.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the freedom of spending a week with my best friends and just enjoying ourselves for a week after finishing the Leaving Cert.

Meanwhile, Hugh Carr from Donegal is jetting out to the Spanish island of Majorca for a week with a group of friends.

“It cost us about €700 each, my parents paid for it but I'm paying them back now from the money I'm getting working in the Gaeltacht this summer," Hugh said.

Hugh Carr(right).jpg  

“I think I'll be bringing about €200 to €250 for spending money. It's not too expensive out there.

“The thing I'm looking forward to most has to be the stories that are going to come out from it, I feel like it's going to bring us closer as a friend group and it should be an experience to remember.”

Stephanie O’ Toole from Rathfarnham, Dublin is heading to Cala Millor, Majorca for eight days.

“There’s five of us going and the trip was €608 each. I paid for it from my job and my parents helped a bit.

Stephanie O%27Toole.jpg  

“We picked Majorca because it was cheap and flights will only take an hour and a bit. The area we’re staying in is more about the culture and activities than the partying which suited my group of all girls.”

Stephanie said she’s bringing around €500 spending money.

“I'm most looking forward to being able to sit on the beach and never having to worry about algebra or Irish grammar again,” she added.

In Cork, one school has the "majority" of the Leaving Cert year flying to Santa Ponsa.

Cian O’Keeffe from Blarney said his group of friends chose the south-west town in Majorca because "everyone goes there".

“We chose Santa Ponsa because everyone goes there. The majority of our school year is going," he said.

“My mam and dad paid for it. It was €700 as there was very high demand. I reckon I’ll bring about €700 to €800 spending money.

Cian O%27Keefe (Right) with Michael Shine.png  

“I’m mostly looking forward to the sun and party life over there after the tough and challenging year that we've been through.”

Anna Gallagher from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal is staying closer to home and is heading to London with her friend Brodie. 

“My friend paid for the plane tickets for my 18th birthday present and we're staying with her family over there so it didn't really cost me anything. I'll probably bring around £200 for shopping and food," she said.

Opting for a show in the West End over a beach holiday, Anna said she is most looking forward to shopping and relaxing.

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