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The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

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The view through emerald eyes

Slowing down over spring break
Joe Wiethorn
Joe Wiethorn of the Class of 2024 at the Doolin Coast over spring break

Few words bring more joy to the mind of a college student than “spring break.” It is a term so synonymous with wild parties and freedom from classes that it has joined the likes of beer pong and darty within the vocabulary of university students around the country. 

Many prominent destinations for this once-a-year exodus include Cancun, New York, Paris, and the ever-popular Fort Lauderdale. We have all seen the footage from the skies; crowds of thousands packed onto the shores, baking in the sun with their friends, the only care on their minds being the songs queued up on the speaker. I used to think that this was as good as it could get, going wild with your buddies on some beach or big city for a handful of days. However, that was until I visited Ireland.

It all started way back in October when my long-time friend called me about an idea for a flight overseas for spring break. I was initially hesitant due to the usual high cost of intercontinental travel, but he had gotten a way under-market price. Although it wasn’t exactly the most popular destination for a spring break trip, I was looking forward to trying something new. 

Months passed and I barely gave any thought to the trip until only a few days before I was set to fly out of D.C. At this point, I was extremely stressed about midterms and the looming end of my senior year, as many other students were as well. As the day drew nearer, my mind wandered to the trip ahead as well as to the itinerary my friend had created for the 8-day expedition. We were scheduled to visit Dublin, the bustling capital of Ireland; Galway, a harbor city on the west coast known for its musicians; and Doolin, a tiny coastal village with a total population of a few hundred. 

The flight was rough, but we made it there in one piece. Fortunately, Dublin in person is unlike any city I have ever been to. As one of my friends on the trip said, “It’s the biggest small town I have ever seen”. With a population of over 500,000, the streets are filled with people, 

View of the Dublin skyline
(Joe Wiethorn)

but due to the extensive sidewalks and walking paths, the city does not have that “downtown” cramped atmosphere. Along with its layout, the buildings of Dublin also rarely go above five stories in height, allowing the open sky to relieve that claustrophobic feeling one usually gets in big cities.

My favorite place, however, we visited a few days later: the village of Doolin. It is located on the west coast of Ireland and houses a total population of around 300. When I tell you that it is unlike anything I have ever experienced, I am not lying. The only way I can describe what it was like to stay in Doolin is to equate it to a dream, both in scenery and feeling. Witnessing rolling hills of grass so vibrant and alive brought me a sense of serenity I had felt only a few times before. Even better was the breathtaking vistas on the tops of the Cliffs of Moher that lined the village’s coastline with the raging Atlantic.

Joe Wiethorn and Ethan Eichelberger overlooking the Cliffs of Moher (Joe Wiethorn)

The hike up the cliffs was grueling to be certain, over five hours of fighting through rain, mud and 20 mph winds to finally reach the top. Once we did reach the peak, the rain subsided and our eyes were gifted with the sight of a full rainbow arching over the horizon, connecting the ocean to the village we had come from, now far below us. It was an amazing sight I never thought I’d see on a spring break, at least not a typical one. 

Being out in the Irish countryside, it truly felt therapeutic to be away from all the deadlines and worries of college life. Even though the ragers usually associated with these days off always seem to be the more favored option, this trip has taught me that a little respite from all the noise can do the soul wonders during times like these.

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