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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
The Observer

Dublin: More than a game

Traveling to Dublin this past weekend with the Notre Dame cheerleaders was nothing short of incredible. Having been to Dublin before, I was amazed by the city’s transformation into what felt like South Bend on a football weekend. The streets were flooded with fans who flocked from the United States, and even those who call Dublin and Ireland home were eager to cheer on the Irish. 

The identity and influence of Notre Dame was put on full display this weekend. No other school could have garnered the enthusiasm and the crowds abroad like Notre Dame did.

On Saturday, the parade down Dame Street (which was rebranded to be Notre Dame Street) turned into a pep rally with the band and cheerleaders. The bustling streets were packed by fans whose level of excitement was simply indescribable. People of all ages sang the alma mater and victory march as the band played, and I was amazed by the deep sense of enthusiasm and love and devotion the crowds seemed to have for Notre Dame.

On Friday night, Le Cheile, a concert celebrating Ireland and America’s musical talents, featured incredible acts with an opportunity for the University band and cheerleaders to perform. As a cheerleader, this experience was so special because I got to wait backstage, talk with other acts and hear the director of the show talk about the power of the Notre Dame identity. He told us about how he immigrated to America and found a home with the Notre Dame community. Through Notre Dame football, he found a place in America. He had such a deep respect for us and Notre Dame, and he could not express enough how we are so incredibly fortunate to be a part of this institution.

While Notre Dame’s planned events were fun, the most rewarding experience was interacting with the fans and locals. And then it all came to a head Saturday night when the team ran onto the field. The stadium, filled with about 40,000 people, erupted in excitement. The game experience was one I know I’ll never have again, and thinking about it now, I am still at a loss for words.

Everyone talks about the power of attending Notre Dame; its identity in the world is unparalleled. I saw that in full force this past weekend. The slogan for the game was “much more than a game,” and that could not be more true. The fans. The city. The interactions. The enthusiasm. The tradition. It all showed me why this football game meant so much to so many people. It was an opportunity to celebrate Dublin, to celebrate Ireland, to celebrate the historical relationship between Notre Dame and the Navy and to celebrate Notre Dame internationally. It was an opportunity to come together as a Notre Dame family, to partake in the rich tradition of our University and to cheer on the Irish in more aspects than just one. 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.