Location: Church of Ireland Hall, Dalkey
Times: Tuesdays from 10.30 to 12.00
Prices: € 2 per session (no other fees apply)
PROs: cheap, very commited volunteers
CONs: (Not sure..felt that I didn't belong perhaps)
Overall: *** and 1/2*
St. Patrick's Church in Dalkey belongs to the Church of Ireland, which by only 3 per cent is the second largest denomination after Catholicism in the Republic of Ireland according to the 2006 census.
So much for civics lessons though! Because that has nothing to do with the toddler group whatsoever.
The Church is located on an elevated site overlooking Dublin bay and because I don't have a car, I walked along the scenic route passing Bullock harbour. And although we've been living here for quite a while now, for a moment it felt like I was on holidays. Walking up the hill, we passed a number of builders, which Aviva correctly identified as "Bobs". First struggling to find the Church Hall, I soon realized that they are sharing the same building with St. Patrick's National School.
The toddler group itself is run by committed parents only and one session costs € 2 with no further charges applying. Included are also tea and biscuits. At the start we all sat in a circle singing nursery rhymes (including an introductory song) to get warmed up, which has a very nice touch to it. It also gives the toddler group a bit of structure.
Having introduced Aviva by collective singing "Aviva's wearing beige today, beige today, beige today. Aviva's wearing beige today, on a Tuesday morning", I felt a bit bad, as she was the only child misbehaving and not taking part. However, the free biscuits certainly made up for that ;-).
So, while Aviva obsessed over a changing mat instead of playing with toys, I got talking to another young Mom. Or at least I thought she was! It turned out she was a Swiss au pair and henceforward our conversation continued in German. With the Swiss being very accurate and into standards, I wasn't surprised when she told me that she's mainly here to get an internationally recognized CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) and would soon go home.
Anyway, the toddler group! Overall it was a good experience and because it's so cheap and cheerful, I'm going to give it three and a half stars and a another go at some point. The only thing I felt was a bit of a letdown, is the fact that I didn't really get to talk to anyone and despite good efforts the athmosphere was kind of cold (But that's just me!).
You should definitely go and judge it for yourself :-).