Matthew’s desire for home comforts takes him from London to Donegal

ANYONE who has ever lived away from home can attest to the occasional pang for the comforts and a yearning for the familiar, as well as the desire to be close to family and friends.

For some, that want leads them to catch a bus, a train or even a plane to return to where it all began, but for one Killygordon native, it made him jump on his bicycle and pedal his way from London all the way to Letterkenny in two days!

Having finished his penultimate year nutrition and dietetics degree exams, Matthew Carlin wanted to go home – he really, really wanted to go home! Having not seen his parents, father Sean, a former athletics star who only missed out on a place at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics due to injury, and mother Mary, in six months, and after a couple of 
months of isolation due to lockdown and the pressure of his end of year exams, the 23 year old decided to start his journey north, but rather than using conventional transport for such a trip, he decided to cycle the 475 kilometres instead.


“I was in London and it was the end of year time at university. I had to finish up some exams and some coursework and that time of year is tough enough without having to do it during lockdown,” he explained.

“I was getting myself into a bad old headspace during that time because I was making myself guilty if I wasn’t studying but I found that the bike was the best thing for clearing my head so I decided once I had all my exams finished up, I hadn’t seen my parents in six months, so I said to myself, ‘I have to go home, I want to go home’!

“With planes and coronavirus, you don’t know what you’re bringing home, so with London being one of the epicentres and wee Donegal not having too many problems, I didn’t want to be the one to bring them problems.”



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