Jailbreak: a nation-wide scavenger hunt for charity

Ruby Topalian outlines everything you need to know about this year’s Jailbreak

Two days to get to destination X. Going up against twenty teams, you’ll have to travel across Ireland without spending a penny from your own pocket to find clues that will lead you to your final destination. How will you raise the money you need to do it? Through your own fundraising efforts. Why do it? To raise money for Vincent de Paul (VDP), Amnesty International, and to quite frankly have a great time.  

From February 18-19, Trinity’s VDP, DU Amnesty, and Cummann Gaelach will collectively host their annual Jailbreak fundraising event. As the largest student-run charity event in the country, founded in 2013 and having raised over €350,000 since its creation, this event is something that every Trinity student is going to want to get involved in. 

“As long as it’s legal, you can do it.”

Applications to join the scavenger hunt are now live. When you apply through the link on the Jailbreak Instagram (@jailbreakhq), you will be placed into a team of two. Before the race begins on February 18, each member of your team will need to raise at least €150 to participate. This initial three hundred euros will be donated to Vincent de Paul and Amnesty International Ireland, but half of anything you raise over that initial amount will be used for your travel expenses. The other half will be donated. In order to raise the initial €150 per person before the 18th, you can pursue a wide variety of fundraising efforts such as busking, bucket donations (you will be given a bucket when you sign–up), magic performances, endowments from wealthy benefactors and more. As long as it’s legal, you can do it.

Image by Niall Hannon for Trinity News

Once each person has raised their €150, your team is set to participate in the actual race from February 18-19. When Trinity News spoke with Jailbreak’s DU Amnesty Director Christopher Kirkwood he explained the importance of raising that initial donation as quickly as possible and how the organisers are doing what they can to help. 

“Right now we’re running a series of collaborative events with our contestants to help them raise the initial 150 euros per person donation so they can be in the race. So if they can sign-up soon and we can include them in our scheduling it would be really really helpful for us and for them because everything over that initial 150 that they raise for the race, half of that goes to their travel. Travel isn’t that expensive inside of Ireland, that would go a very long way to get you to where you need to go and so you can focus on the clues, focus on the hunting instead of singing on the street or helping people with their bags or doing whatever you can to get the money you need to travel.” 

This year’s scavenger hunt will start at Dublin Castle where teams will be presented with a series of clues. Once the race starts, teams will need to follow the clues to various destinations around the country and complete a number of challenges which will lead them to more clues, and eventually to their final destination the finish line at the end of the race. As the teams travel around, they can continue to raise money as they did in order to earn the initial 150 euro donation, and half of all the money raised during the race can continue to support their travels. There is one important rule that must be followed for the sake of safety: NO HITCHHIKING. 

“The first jailbreak was basically an entire race around the world where you weren’t allowed to spend any of your own money on your travel and at the end of the competition, the final barricade was that the winner of the race would be whoever could get the farthest from “this spot,” explained Kirkwood. “Two of the contestants found their way to Buenos Aires in Argentina and then couldn’t get back because they couldn’t afford the plane tickets. So, College alumnus Christopher actually reached out and paid for their flights back which made the news in a couple of places. It was a really, really sweet exchange because it really got the name of jailbreak out there. When you hear the name jailbreak you kind of think, is it a TV show, is it an amazing race? No, it’s all about raising money for Amnesty and for VDP and doing it in a way that’s constructive and fun for the contestants.

“When you hear the name jailbreak you kind of think, is it a TV show, is it an amazing race? No, it’s all about raising money for Amnesty and for VDP and doing it in a way that’s constructive and fun for the contestants.”

Even if you’re not super jazzed about the idea of running around Ireland in search of clues, raising money for charity along the way, and maybe even ending up on the other side of the world, you can still get involved with Jailbreak. The organisers are looking for people to fulfil the role of tracker over the two days. As a tracker, you are responsible for checking in with contestants every three hours and ensuring that they are safe and making progress. Kirkwood also explained that the current organisers are always in search of prospective organisers for next year’s Jailbreak, so if this is something that you are interested in they encourage you to reach out! 

Now that you know what Jailbreak is, you probably do want to sign-up for the race. Jailbreak’s Cumann Gaelach Director Niall Hannon shared some advice for potential contestants: “Go to our Instagram, see what’s there, look at it, familiarise yourself with it, tell your friends about it, then go, click that link in the bio for the application form, sign-up, you won’t regret it. And then, once you’ve done all that, come out, meet everyone, go to our events, it’s gonna be so much fun.” 

These next few weeks in the lead-up to the official Jailbreak scavenger hunt are going to be jam-packed with all sorts of exciting events planned by the Jailbreak organisers of Cumann Gaelach, DU Amnesty, and VDP. Keep your eyes peeled on the societies’ social media and get ready for good fun and travel in support of a great cause.

Ruby Topalian

Ruby Topalian is a Senior Freshman, Dual BA student of Middle Eastern and European Languages and Cultures. She is the current Features Editor of Trinity News, having previously worked as Deputy Societies Editor.