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SMC students soak up Ireland atmosphere

Claire Creely | Tuesday, September 4, 2012

While many students began last Saturday morning crowded around a television, thousands of Notre Dame fans were already enjoying some savage craic, also known in Ireland as “great fun,” as they cheered on their football team in Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Although students and fans traveled thousands of miles to support the team in different ways, most agreed that the weekend was an unforgettable experience and a great way to start off the season.

For some, the weekend provided several responsibilities as well as exciting opportunities for those traveling abroad.

Senior Laura Krahe traveled with the football team as a trainer, arriving in Dublin early Thursday morning to begin preparations for the game on Saturday.
Krahe said the team’s schedule was both busy and fun.  

“The team arrived and we had a practice, followed by an Irish meal and Irish dancing. The next day was similar,” she said. “The team had a walkthrough in the morning followed by a bus tour of Dublin. Saturday was the game and it was a truly great and memorable experience.”

Also finding time to enjoy the sights in Dublin between busy schedules were two members of Notre Dame’s band, senior Erin Brown and junior Amy Minasian.

“With two big performances, the pep rally at The O2 Arena and the halftime show at the game, we had a lot to rehearse and prepare for,” Brown said. “We still did get a few hours of free time every day, though, which my friends and I used to soak up as much of the Dublin game day atmosphere as possible.”

Minasian also found some downtime to sightsee between band commitments.

“I hung out at the pubs with my section, where we met fans and Irish people,” she said.

Some students, however, traveled on their own accord and had more time to discover Ireland with family and friends.

Senior Bri Tepe traveled with her family to not only cheer on the team but to also discover her family’s Irish heritage.

“There really was no better way to bring in the football season than being at the home opener in Ireland. It’s something I won’t forget and I’m very grateful I got to be a part of it,” she said.

In recounts of the weekend, the enthusiasm of the Irish and Americans in Dublin seemed overwhelmingly positive.

“Even the Irish men and women welcomed Notre Dame and Navy. They flew flags of both schools, had signs welcoming the teams and fans, and were more than happy to help the teams and staff with making game day a success,” Krahe said.

Brown added that the fans from Ireland were enthusiastic, although a little bit mystified by American football.

Favorite game day moments from students include the band’s halftime show, continuing Notre Dame traditions such as the pre-game march and push-ups in the stadium, and participating in the energy of the city.

“Seeing Dublin made the spirit of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come alive even more,” Krahe said. “We were playing the game we love in the country that inspires us.”