“Xmas Breakers”

Posted By: JohnMcCarthy
Posted On: December 29th, 2018
Attending: Institute of Technology Carlow

Over Christmas break, I took advantage of the time off and traveled with a group of the Scholars to Prague, Vienna, and Munich. Many of the Scholars took the opportunity to go home for the holidays to spend some time with family, but I couldn’t pass up the cheap Ryanair flights and easy access to mainland Europe. The six of us flew out of Dublin on December 19th and spent a total of seven days between the three cities. Since we were only in each city for a short time, we took full advantage of each day and covered miles of cobblestone walkways for as much sightseeing as daylight would allow. Twenty thousand steps logged on Ellen’s FitBit became a daily occurrence!

To be honest, I did not know what to expect going into the trip. I had spent the previous couple weeks working hard to finish my schoolwork and didn’t get much of a chance to thoroughly research where exactly I booked my holiday vacation. I even pulled up a map of Europe days before our trip to find out exactly where each city and country is located. I had heard good things about the Christmas markets in each of these cities, but ultimately booked my flights for a chance to travel with some of the Scholars who I had not spent much time with yet and to visit new places! Ellen took the reins on booking accommodation and organizing travel plans, and I (along with the others) followed her lead. Employers out there in need of timely, diligent, and organized scheduling and planning, Ellen’s your girl!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in each city, but here are a few highlights from the trip with the “Xmas Breakers” crew:

December 22nd: Vienna Christmas market and skating “experiment” in front of Vienna City Hall



December 24: Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Germany (close to southern border of Germany and Austria)


December 25: Christmas Day mass (in German)


December 25: Christmas dinner, steins, and card games at Hofbrauhaus in Munich

Having the chance to travel and take in some of the beautiful scenery and architecture at some of the tourist attractions in these European cities is only part of what I will remember about my 2018 Christmas. I have my camera roll to hang on to those visual memories of the trip! Instead, the people I shared this experience with (Kollyns, Jenna, Shay, Courtney, Ellen, Tom, and Justus) will be the most prominent part of this trip when I look back on it. The card games, train rides, nights out, etc. will stick the most.

While in Ireland, it is difficult to find the time to visit and spend time with other Scholars in the midst of our coaching, playing, and academic responsibilities. So, I am thankful I had the opportunity to get to know this group who I don’t get to see much during the year. Having not spent much time together at all since the first week we arrived in Ireland, I thought we became very close during this trip and now have a mutual experience to reflect on and a friendship to build on the next time we see each other.

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