My first ever adventure with An Óige was two years ago. It was on a humid summer evening in the Mansion House. Yes, the Lord Mayor’s house. A bunch of young professionals sat listening to the inspirational Jim Gavin, the former Air Pilot – turned manager of the Dublin GAA team. He displayed the electric and modest presence of a decorated man. Jim was speaking to a group of us about dedication, leadership and the importance of belief in success.
I was sitting amongst this mass of young people. We had replied to a shout from the An Óige rooftops, a call to become involved in Ireland’s oldest and greatest Hosteling network. My parents had often reflected on their nostalgic experiences with An Óige’s hostels. They told me of seemingly timeless adventures during the late 60s and 70s. With friends, they would trek from hostel to hostel, rambling and winding through Wicklow. They once hitchhiked from the heights of Donegal to the mystical Connemara landscapes with rucksacks and guitars in tow.
Looking at An Óige’s map of hostels that are generously dotted around this great island, a flame was lit. An Óige hostels are located in amazing natural locations with access to many adventure activities nearby. As the then Lord Mayor thanked us and bid us farewell in the quirky, befuddled way that any Dublin city Mayor would, my mind was running wild with ideas about volunteering with An Óige. I was not the only one. Along with me were a bunch of business heads, adventure seekers, philosophers, outdoor enthusiasts, fashionistas and scouts. All different, but all united under the hosteling roof, dedicated to promoting An Óige’s ethos of giving young people an experience of the Irish countryside.
Arising from the Mansion House on that night in summer, the Adventure Forum was created. A group of us were brought together to create adventures for young people around the idea of hosteling. Our task is to work with the staff and each other to promote and partake in Adventure hosteling all around Ireland. We are also the young voice of An Óige.
This is why I have just returned home from an moonlit hike and meal in the peaceful surroundings of Knockree Youth Hostel. Along with the fun and the banter we were also reporting on the projects we were working on. These covered areas such as media awareness, membership rejuvenation, activities, weekend trips, video projects, eco and sustainability projects and DIY work parties. It is great to be a part of it and we are always looking for new members.
Do you have a love of adventure? Do you want to volunteer with one of Ireland’s oldest organisations for young people?
If so, check out our Volunteer page or get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Darragh Miller for the blogpost!