Crashing the party in Magaluf
Tans, tattoos, mayhem and sugary drinks. To thousands of post-Leaving Cert teens that sounds like the perfect holiday
A s the orange sun sets over the Mediterranean, the sound of young, energetic male voices fills the air. A moment passes before I recognise the familiar Horslips tune floating from the second floor window of a block of holiday apartments. A large Irish flag is draped over the balcony where a group of teenage boys shout with glee at the bikini-clad girls in the apartment next door who are busy applying make-up for the night ahead.
Fliers litter the pavement advertising foam parties, washing machine parties and glow-paint parties. The rising hum of dance beats can be heard at the end of the street where neon signs have begun to light up. Girls in string tops and hot pants walk up and down the strip in platform heels, enticing customers into the numerous bars that line the beach.
Welcome to Magaluf, notorious for debauchery, rowdy drunkenness and, sadly, the number of tourists falling from hotel balconies in a drunken stupor. Situated on the southwest coast of the island of Mallorca, Magaluf, along with its neighbour Santa Ponsa, has become a hot spot for post-Leaving Cert students looking to indulge in a week of 24/7 partying, having finally escaped the grasp of CAO points and exam timetables.
“We were told by so many people go to Santa Ponsa because it’s more Irish than Magaluf,” Tiarna Dermody from Portlaise tells me as I pull up a chair in her beachside apartment.
Sunscreen and alcoholI’ve travelled the 8km from Magaluf to visit Santa Ponsa, the location favoured by Leaving Cert students from outside Dublin. Dermody tells me she’s met people from Cork, Armagh, Longford, Galway, Tipperary and Wicklow, but no one from Dublin. “There’s no Dubliners here, they’re a lot more wild,” her friend Shannen Kearney adds.
The girls, former students of Scoil Chríost Rí, have come on holiday with a group of male friends from Naas who are staying in the apartment next door. They sit around a sparsely decorated living area in light summer dresses and flip-flops, while a distinct smell of sunscreen mixed with alcohol lingers in the air.
Caoimhe Dollard tells me she’s been looking forward to the holiday all year and in preparation used a sunbed for two months. “I wanted to get a base-tan before the holiday,” she says, explaining that each session cost 90c a minute.
The girls admit they were nervous before arriving in Santa Ponsa, having heard stories of robberies and attacks in the resort. “We were so terrified we weren’t going to be safe here, that we’d get robbed and couldn’t bring anything with us,” says Dermody. “But you actually feel safe, everyone is so nice.
“It’s unreal here with the atmosphere. There’s music everywhere and everyone is 18.”
Getting a tanBefore travelling, they made a pact to look out for one another at night. They’ve also agreed to review the sleeping arrangements should one of them decide to bring a young man home for the night.
However, they’re actually far more interested in getting a good tan and argue there’s very little pressure on 18-year-old girls to have sex on a Leaving Cert holiday. It’s a different story for the young men.
“Girls are here for the sun and to have fun, but with the lads, sex is just on their brain,” says Dermody. “Every lad here wants to pull, that’s their main goal. Especially once they get drunk; it’s just straight out, let’s go.”
Down the corridor, the “Naas boys” are “pre-drinking” before heading out for the night. We crowd into a tiny livingroom while the boys sit back and crack open cans of beer. They tell me they organised the holiday months in advance and are paying €110 each for a week for the apartment. Dermody and her friends are paying the bargain sum of €65 each for the week.
When I ask whether sex is an important part of the holiday, I’m greeted with nervous laughter, broken by a number of sex-related jokes. A voice from the back of the room pipes up: “It’s not like it has to happen, you’d be pleased with just getting a shift.”
“But we’re not here to pull Naas girls,” he adds quickly. The young man speaking from the back of the room refuses to give his name but reminds me they’ve come abroad to meet new girls.
“You don’t want to go in and shift the same girl that you could go in and shift in the local place. Anything outside the Naas radius is game.”
‘Best week ever’ The lads plan on taking their time with the drink as they turned up at the nightclub far too early the night before.
“Last night we stayed here drinking for four hours but I think we could push it tonight because it was quiet when we got out,” says Darren McCabe. “ We were eager to get out because it was our first night.”