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Ireland trip part of what makes Notre Dame special

Sep 2, 2012, 7:43 PM EDT


With my bags packed and wake-up call set, I’ll spend Labor Day traveling a little over 5,000 miles as I head from Dublin back home to Manhattan Beach. I’m a terrible traveler — constantly getting too hot, too uncomfortable, too claustraphobic in a plane I can never sleep on — and the idea of 13 hours in the air tomorrow on a national holiday is hardly ideal. Yet after one of the best weeks in my life, it’s hard to complain, as everything about this trip to Ireland was terrific.

With 40,000 (mostly Irish) fans descending on Dublin, it was a surreal time seeing and meeting so many Notre Dame people so far from home. With the popular Temple Bar section of town continually invaded by Irish fans donning every piece of Notre Dame apparel possible, every evening (and just about every afternoon, too) was spent popping in and out of pubs, talking ND football, and hearing how excited everybody was to be a part of this experience. I’m certain I’ll never pay five or six euros again for a pint of Guinness, but the entire trip felt like a celebration of what’s right about the university, and it was a terrific example of what makes Notre Dame special.

Hundreds of hours of preparation went into making this trip possible, and for players, support staff, coaches, band members and administrators, this was a herculean endeavor that unfortunately probably felt too much like a business trip. Those sleepless nights paid off though, as the Fighting Irish certainly did their namesake proud on and off the field, and ND Nation made an equally impressive showing as they infused quite a bit of much-needed cash into the struggling Irish economy.

There might not be another college football program in America that can pull of what Notre Dame just did. As someone who was lucky enough to call this a business trip as well, I just wanted you all to know I was grateful to be your eyes and ears in Aviva Stadium.

(And maybe a few pubs, too…)


  1. idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    …and we are grateful for you

    • Jennifer - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      “…. There might not be another program in America that can pull off what ND just did,” “The entire trip felt like what’s right about the university, and it was a terrific example of what makes Notre Dame special.” Keith Arnold.

      This post should be required reading 101 for future prospects and their parents. Great reporting, Keith. Thanks for being our eyes and our ears on the Emerald Isle!

  2. irishbornraised - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    in short: take that rick reilly

    • runners00 - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      Exactly. Oh, and you want to call us quitters? Fine — but don’t look for us to down the football at the end of games with four touchdown margins.

      • irishbornraised - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:33 AM

        oh, and taking out your QB after 3/4s isn’t good enough

  3. dickasman - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Keith I didn’t know you are in manhattan beach. I thought you lived in Minnesota? Sounds like you need some Xanax. I can’t sleep on planes either.

  4. dickasman - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    If I was Keith, I’d just lie to the readers and say I was there. Oh wow, that was great trip. Best onion butter liver sammich I ever had.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:21 AM

      If you WERE Keith, i’d say we’ve got clear evidence of a split personality disorder…writing articles and then being the jackass that posts negative comments on your own articles.

  5. jerseyshorendfan1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    Keith, for all the talk of ND being irrelevant in the CFB world, is there another university in the world that could pull off a trip like this and make it so successful? I don’t think so. Was this your first trip there? I was there last in 2006 and had the perfect vacation. I was in a pub and the owner saw that I was wearing a Breeders Cup baseball cap. He asked if I was a Yank and we got to talking over a few pints. He asked if I fancied the races and told me there was a track at Tipperary, not too far from where we were staying. He asked how many were in my party (there were 8 of us) and he said he’d leave passes for us at the gate if we wanted to go the next day. Well we did go to the races and I only half expected the passes to be there, thinking his offer might have been more Guiness induced than reality based. Sure enough there were 8 passes in my name, saving us the 5€ entrance fee. Best part is that everybody you meet is that nice and couldn’t be more welcoming. That day and mass in a 15th century cathedral were highlights of that trip. Only downside is all that stout can pack on the lbs.

    • 9irish - Sep 3, 2012 at 8:02 AM

      Interesting stuff

  6. nudeman - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    My favorite experiences in life have been two golf trips to Ireland.
    Have a cousin who still lives on and runs the family dairy farm where my grandfather left to come to the US in the 1890s.

    Best golf course I’ve played was Waterville. Brutally difficult. Each hole has a nick name, and there’s a par 3 on the backside (I think) that is called the “Mass Hole”. It’s in a sunken area where the locals used to go to hold Mass in secret back in the 1600s or so when Catholicism was under attack.

    Best town: Killarney

    Best Ale: Guinness, of course

    Best Under the Radar Town: Fermoy

    2nd Best Golf Course: Tie: Ballybunion (old course) and Royal County Down

    • Jennifer - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      Nude! We’ve all got a little Irish in us, buy you are a Pedigree! …. A tip a’ m’ hat to ye!!!

  7. loadofwash - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    FYI, nobody gives a flip about ND. No more than a 2nd level program, a mid level university at best. Check the ratings, no one cares.

    • msmmh - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      22 and climbing… What’s your team?

  8. joeschu - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Thanks for the coverage and the alumni perspective. That weekend really was everything that was great about ND:

    – Respect for the hosts
    – Respect for the opponent
    – Great camaraderie
    – Fantastic competitive spirit

    I’ll take that over whupping up a MAC team with a bunch of guys who don’t go to class or can’t be trusted out on the town any day of the week.

  9. dbldmr - Sep 3, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Thank God! More brilliance from loadofwash. With his deathless prose he enhances every discussion.

  10. loadofwash - Sep 4, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    They thought it was an NFL game you dopes! ND sucks.

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