American Football in Ireland: Notre Dame vs. Navy

On Saturday, my husband woke up with a glimmer of excitement in his eye.  And one second later I remembered that it wasn’t for me.  Instead, today was the first day of Football Season.  I should have been disappointed but, as far as Keith was concerned, today was a little like Christmas.

You know, that one day that you have been looking forward to for a really long time.  Although, in this case, we had been looking forward to today for eight years.

So here we are.

The location.  Dublin, Ireland.  Specifically, the Aviva Stadium.

The time:  2:00 PM Dublin time.  8:00 AM Chicago time.

The event:  Notre Dame vs Navy.  The Emerald Classic

We started the day at the Notre Dame tailgate in downtown Dublin.

An entire street was a Notre Dame tailgate.  The band was there.  We almost missed them but we took off down the street at a full sprint …

Just in time to see the back of their heads.

I promise they are in this photo.  But at least you can get a sense of how many domers were in Dublin for the game.

And it felt just like home.  Except that we were on a street with hundred year old houses and shops and pubs.

Even the donkeys got in on the tailgating action.

There was even a cow in the bar.  But that picture is on a different camera so I can’t post it at this time.  Just so that everyone is clear, there are no cows in this photo.

There were traditional Irishman.  This gentleman was cleaning the streets with  a recession brush.  Because it was missing the middle.

Then we walked an hour to the stadium.  And found out that you can drink in the stadium.  They serve wine, hard liquors, and beer.  But they ran out of cider before the game even started.

It was OK because they also ran out of food in the 1st quarter.

Apparently they underestimated how much crappy food Americans will eat.  Although we did managed to scrounge up so chips and popcorn.  And Erin’s magical purse produced Gummy Snakes, Mike n Ike, and trail mix.  So we didn’t starve.

We carried on the Notre Dame game traditions as best we could.  Although security has no idea what to do when the attendees start doing push ups.  Especially after someone falls.  They got hurt because they didn’t have the thousands of humans squished in around them to act as a cushion.  It’s probably the only downside of Aviva Stadiums spacious seating.

Notre Dame won.  50 – 10.  But it’s the only game of the year when I feel bad about beating a team.  And it has nothing to do with seeing a man in uniform.  Or maybe that the entire reason why I like Navy …  Except those times that Navy beats ND.  I didn’t really care for those games…

Although the most amusing part of the game was trying to explain American football to the local Irishmen sitting in front of us.  At the end of the game, an older brother asked his younger brother, “So what did you think?” and the younger brother replied that “I had a good time but it is not as interesting as Soccer.”

Anyway, we ended the day with an hour walk back, pizza, and (more) drinks.

Tomorrow the group starts to break up and head home.  This was a great trip but I’m still reeling from the fact that it is over.  We were waiting for this week for so long.  I guess the only solution is to start planning the next vacation.

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