Céad Míle Fáilte, Penn State

IMG_0537For the past couple of weeks, while the cats have been posting foolish photos of themselves, my husband and I have been in Ireland.

We love Ireland for many different reasons that I’ll probably enumerate soon but the catalyst for this particular trip was to combine our love of Ireland with our love for our alma mater, Penn State University.

Penn State opened its college football season in Dublin, against the University of Central Florida. For those of you who aren’t from the US, and even some of you who are, this whole fascination with college football must be confounding.

But for those of us who are ensnared, nothing could top this game! My husband and I have five degrees from Penn State between us—one BA, two MAs, and two PhDs. That’s a lot of years and a lot of football games attended—it gets in ones blood.

So, on the last weekend in August, we and about 20,000 of our closest Penn State friends showed up in Dublin, and what a welcome we received!

The focus of much of the activity in the days before the game was Temple Bar.

An estimated 10,000 Penn State fans showed up for the pep rally. That’s a lotta navy blue and white!

The Penn State party was held at the Guinness Storehouse. I never would’ve believed that a party of that magnitude could be pulled off without feeling crowded, without incident, and with such flair!

The game was at Croke Park—what a great place to see it! Before the game, two sky divers targeted the stadium, to deliver game balls. The one with UCF colors and flag missed the stadium entirely—do you think that was an omen?

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Penn State skydiver hits the mark!

It was a wonderful game, at least for Penn State fans. Lots of great plays, tense moments, the grim feeling that the game was lost . . . only to win on a last-minute field goal, as time ran out! Woohoo!

The kicker who made the successful field goal is Sam Ficken. My husband and I were at a game two years ago, where Penn State lost by one point, after this same kicker missed 4 field goals. From goat to big-time hero—who wouldn’t be happy for this guy?!

Sam is in the middle of this throng!

Sam is in the middle of this throng!

The city of Dublin has many new American fans, I’m sure. The people were kind and so tolerant of the hordes of fanatics dressed in team colors, behaving in odd ways. They provided at least 100,000 welcomes.

Thank you, Dublin—sláinte!

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39 thoughts on “Céad Míle Fáilte, Penn State

    • Oh no! I hope you don’t make me choose between you and football! Focus on the pageantry and the interesting stories about the people–think of it like the time the Tour de France came to town!

  1. It sounds like you had a great time! It was quite a funny feeling to hear that you were so close to England. I have loved the photos of your cats and know how pleased you will be to see them again.
    Karen.

    • I have to admit that, while I was in Ireland, I was very aware of how close I was to so many people like you! I kept thinking of who lived nearby and what they would want me to see. It’s fascinating to feel that closeness to people I haven’t met face-to-face! And, yes, it is great to be home with the cats!

  2. I knew you had to be away somewhere while the cats were partying and drinking out of the toilet bowl. It sounds like you had a marvelous trip…hope to hear more about Ireland soon. It’s getting close to candy making weather….no?

    • Oh, be careful what you wish for–there’ll be more about Ireland! And, yes, candy season is imminent–in fact, my sister is prodding me to make candy for a friend’s birthday. I probably won’t get listings re-activated on Etsy for a week or so but, if you don’t want to wait, let me know!

  3. Woohoo, Kerry is back!! I have no clue what so ever about sports of any kind…however I can see that you had a wonderful time with likeminded enthusiasts! A well deserved trip dear!! Charley dog was worried you were locked up in the basement by those cats. She was ready travel to Maine and rescue you…she is still running around in circles, tongue lolling and whimpering with joy and relief when I told her about your return!!! Hav a great weekend, love Johanna

    • That Charley! So sweet of her to worry and so like a dog to blame it on the cats! We did have such a fine trip–but I didn’t say much about it beforehand, in a direct way, because I remember you cautioning me, awhile ago, about putting too much personal info in blog posts! I hope you’re having a fine weekend, Johanna! Give Charley a hug for me!

      • ha, I told Charley so! And that was a wise decision. You would not be the first blogger annoucing a vacation and finding the house emptied out on return….though I think your feisty felines are ot to be messed around with!

    • It was very fun–and very odd to feel like we were in central Pennsylvania, surrounded by all those fans. And we kept running into Penn Staters for two weeks, as we traveled all around Ireland!

  4. Wow – you were having fun! But Ireland? American Football? They don’t even play your football there…. how on earth was that connection made? I hope you got the chance to see a little of the beautiful countryside while there. [We all have our secret vices – mine is cricket 🙂 Your turn to say “Whaaa….????” ]

    • I know–American football in Ireland does seem an odd match but there have been a series of these games over the past few years. Penn State and the other team planned it as a treat to the players and fans. I think Ireland likes it because they love a good party and I read that the fans brought an infusion of something 30 million euros to the Irish economy! And, yes, we left Dublin the day after the game and went out into the countryside–more about that soon!

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    • It surely was! That business of winning with three seconds left was stressful but the joy when the kick went through was incredible. I did feel sorry for the other teams’ fans, though . . . the agony of defeat.

    • I had never seen any point to it either but it was truly an amazing experience. The group that handled the Penn State events did a really spectacular job. I doubt I will ever do another trip of this sort–this one met all my needs!

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  8. Do you think some of the 20,000 actually live in UK? or did they all travel from the States? I’m not a fan of gridiron but I understand the fervor of a die-hard fan of any sport. It’s a bit like being a fan of a band and traveling the world to catch all of their concerts.

    • There were actually over 50,000 people who attended the game so I’m quite certain there were folks from Ireland there. Plus, every time a foul was called, they put an explanatory note on the big screen scoreboard, to help the uninitiated understand the crazy rules!

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