Editor's Note: Clare Brady is an account executive, health coach, blogger, Notre Dame graduate, and recovering m&m addict. You can find her preaching the truth at her website Fitting It All In & on Twiter (@fittingitallin). I asked Clare to share with you, the loyal Subway Domer fans, her "Dublin Experience." This first part is all about the prep and excitement for the trip. Look for part two to be published after Clare arrives back in the states. Unless, of course, some Irish Lad sweeps her off her feet- then we will be but a memory...
I should just lie.
When I tell people I’m going to Ireland to see a Notre Dame Football game, the reactions are a mix of “Come again?” and “You spoiled little brat.”
While yes, flying across the world for 4 hours of football is pretty outrageous, I think most Domers would jump at the chance. We can avoid trying to demystify our crazy behavior with the famous Lou Holtz quote:
“I’m often asked to explain the mystique of Notre Dame. I reply, ‘If you were there, no explanation is necessary. If you weren’t, no explanation is satisfactory.’”
For me, though, it’s a little more than pure love for the University. My Godparents live in Dublin, a connection made through my dad’s Irish-born high school principal. I grew up Irish dancing and playing Irish music, traveling to Ireland twice for competitions. This familiarity with Irish culture led me to study abroad at University College Dublin for a semester during my junior year at Notre Dame.
I should also mention that I was also in Dublin in 1996 when Notre Dame played Navy there the last time.
Okay, so maybe all of this didn’t originate with my love for the University, but it is 99% due to my dad’s four years there in the 1970s. My mom, an Anglo-Saxon Vanderbilt grad, has been very good about putting up with our little Irish obsession.
When it was announced that the team would play Navy in Dublin again this year it was pretty much assumed that my family would go. It’s a chance to see my Godparents and some other family friends, which makes the whole “going to Europe for a football game” thing a little more reasonable.
My parents, being the sweet caring people they are, immediately told my two brothers and I that we were on our own for travel. They were inviting friends and planning their own tour of Ireland the week before. Kids not invited.
Turns out my younger brother, a 2012 grad, couldn’t go anyway due to starting his job. My older brother and I started to think about our trip, wanting to to head to some places we’d never been like Prague and Vienna, until he “accidentally” invited four of his best friends. I was now part of a traveling frat party.
Cue: My best friend and Notre Dame roommate deciding to go. I was so relieved to have someone new to travel with! She has never been to Europe, so the two of us will be spending a few days in both London and Paris before heading to Dublin for the weekend. I could not be more excited.
Dublin is somewhat of a second home to me after living there for a semester, but I’m still curious as to what it will be like. With 35,000 Irish fans flooding the city will it feel more like my favorite European city or just another tailgate in the JACC lot?
Here’s what I have planned:
- Arrive in Dublin Thursday night and likely meet up with family for dinner and drinks.
- Spend the day seeing the hot spots of Dublin.
- 8:00pm is the big pep rally called “Notre Dame: A Welcome Home” at the 02 Arena. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a huge deal with musical guests, an appearance by Martin Short, and sold out seats. I’m excited to see how it compares to one of those riveting JACC pep rallies.
- Attending the ND Mass at Dublin Castle at 9am (tentative, but would be neat!)
- 10:00am – 1:00pm is a “tailgate” in Temple Bar, the touristy part of town full of typical Irish pubs. I’m not quite sure what this will be like. Do we make hot dogs? Do they even eat hot dogs in Ireland? I wonder if they will sell cans of beer so people can shot gun. How disastrous would it be to shot gun a can of Guinness? Or maybe we’ll all decide to be civilized and just order a few pints. There is a parade and band performance during this time too.
- 2:00pm is game time at Aviva Stadium which seats 50,000. I’m going to go ahead and assume that there will be more Notre Dame than Navy fans there, but that could be my blind ND pride. I expect it to get rowdy, and of course result in an Irish win (see: blind ND pride) with post-game celebration back at the pubs.
- A traditional Irish breakfast is a great hangover cure.
- The O’Connell House, home of the Dublin Abroad Program, is hosting a get together north of the city in Howth which I intend to stop by for a few hours before heading to a big dinner at my Godparent’s house. They are professional party throwers, hosting a five to six course meal nearly every Sunday night. When my dad emailed them to say we were bringing around 20-25 they didn’t blink. Think homemade brown bread, multiple types of salmon and potatoes, both beef and chicken, at least four homemade desserts, free-flowing wine and a night cap of my Godfather’s strong Irish coffee. I will be passing out on a couch.
Unfortunately I have to head back to Dallas bright and early Monday morning. Flights were outrageous even on Monday, with Sunday expected to be one of the biggest days in Dublin Airport history. Luckily Monday is a holiday (Labor Day) but work on Tuesday is going to be rough.
I’ll report back.
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