Traveling to Ireland for Notre Dame Football

Author: Savannah Carr

Savannah Carr stands outside of Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

Last month, I traveled with the band to Ireland for the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game, and it was awesome!

On Thursday, we arrived in Dublin, then bussed over to Trinity College to drop off our luggage. They gave us some free time until the evening, but since my roommates and I were exhausted from the travel day, we napped for a few hours. It was really nice to take this relaxing approach when we arrived, since it was a long flight! After getting some energy from the nap, we briefly walked around Dublin and saw the Molly Malone statue, ate some donuts at The Rolling Donut (my favorite one was the oreo one), and even stopped in the Lego store.

The band met again around 6pm, where we walked to the Arlington Hotel and experienced Celtic Nights, where we ate dinner and saw a traditional Irish dance show. For dinner, I had the duck confit salad, Irish beef and potatoes, and the Arlington Assiente trio of desserts (which were three little cheesecakes), and genuinely enjoyed all of it. I’m usually a picky eater, but I’m happy I branched out and tried something new in Dublin! I was also in awe of the Irish dancers we saw; the way they floated across the stage and danced along with the Irish Band was mesmerizing.

On Friday morning, we headed down to Trinity College’s cafeteria, The Buttery, and I ate a variety of European breakfast items (like scones, beans, and sausage) with some of my other favorites (hash browns and a croissant). We then departed and arrived at 3Arena, where we rehearsed for the “Notre Dame: A Welcome Home” program we would be a part of later that night. After some rehearsal and lunch, we then rehearsed our marching band show at Aviva Stadium, where the Irish would take on Navy the next day! Our dinner was at the Gibson Hotel, where we ate a hearty meal consisting of chicken, rice, vegetables, and salad. After eating, we walked over to the 3Arena stadium and were the closing act of the night after tons of performances and conversations regarding the historic event. We played the Victory March and the Alma Mater, two songs that truly celebrate our university and its history!

Saturday was game day! I had a similar breakfast experience from the day before, but this time we suited up in our full uniforms to get ready for the full day of festivities! As a band, we walked from Trinity College to City Hall and lined up at Dublin Castle. Then around noon, we got into our parade block positions, and marched down the streets of Dublin, playing the Victory March and cheering along with the Irish fans. We then stopped at Central Bank and performed “Concert on the Steps,” an experience very similar to what we do on campus at Bond Hall. It was incredible to see the fans line up to see us play, and I absolutely loved seeing the cheerleaders and leprechaun hyping everyone up! After a quick lunch and break, we bussed back to Aviva Stadium and arrived a couple hours before kickoff. I had the pleasure of taking part in an interview with AerLingus during this down time, and I loved talking about our experience in Ireland so far!

Once it hit 7:30 pm (Irish Standard time of course), the game took off, and the atmosphere in Aviva Stadium was insane. We scored 28 points in the first half, then we got on the field and performed our halftime show that celebrated Ireland, including the songs “Wild Rover” and “Danny Boy”–it was such a cool show to conduct! After halftime, the Irish dominated in the second half, and the Irish won the game 42-3!

I’m so happy that I was able to be in Ireland for the occasion–so many Notre Dame fans came overseas to see this historic game, and it's evident that everyone had a great time! Even though I have mixed feelings about being a senior, I’m super excited to start traveling more, and hopefully I can visit Ireland again!