A Rocky Road to Dublin

Soo.. remember how I said we would have a match yesterday? Yea that got cancelled. THEY WERE SCARED! Haha, just kidding, unfortunately, their team was unavailable to play due to restrictive circumstances.

But, on the brighter side, that freed up an immense amount of time to do as we so please. We loaded onto our bus, and made our way to Charles Fort, located on the southern coast of Ireland. We only had “turr tea” minutes (thats how they say 30) to explore the grounds. But, we made the best of it.

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Our next extravaganza was Blarney Castle, famous for the Blarney Stone, known to bring those who kiss the carboniferous limestone the gift of great eloquence and flattery. Of course, we as a club lined up to get our chance at becoming eloquent.

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Unfortunately, the actual kissing has been turned into the biggest tourist trap. As for the rest of the grounds, well they’ve kept their beauty. It was a sight to see, and really was fun to explore! Especially the dungeon below the castle. It’s the weirdest thing to me that I could be driving down the highway and look to my left, and there be castle remains.

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While in Ireland, we’re also attempting to learn and experience their academic culture. We took a tour of University College Cork, our sister university who we have an exchange program with. We hope to be sending players over here soon to study and play rugby. The campus was what you would expect an old, European university to look like; beautiful, elegant, academic, any adjective you could think of.

IMG_1886We also stopped by a local rugby high school academy, with hopes to recruit a few of their players to come play with us. It was there that really got me thinking about the differences between US and European school systems. Never in the USA would you find an institution that puts sports ahead of academics! It’s unheard of. But in Europe, you’ve got soccer academies, rugby academies, etc. It’s different, and “different” is one of the main reasons I love to travel.

Today was another day full of Rugby. This morning consisted of a training session with the Irish Rugby Institute, a group who brings in squads from all over the world and trains with them! After the session, they took us out to a nice pub in Howth, Ireland, a small coastal township with a beautiful backdrop. We took this opportunity and turned it into a photo shoot.

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Our second session of the day was a little different then we expected. Just take a look for yourself.

IMG_0219We were able to meet up with the Irish National Wheelchair Rugby team and play a five on five scrimmage. I can not remember the last time I had that much fun from a single activity. We were literally fighting for wheelchairs, so we could get our chance out on the court. Obviously, their team whooped our asses, but it was fun none-the-less.

We ended the day with a much needed bowl of Pho. It was nice to sit and chat over a large bowl of steaming hot soup, while sipping on some delicious red wine.

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Tomorrow, we’ve got the day free until late afternoon, when we’ll go for another training session, as well as a possible scrimmage with another university! Hopefully we’ll finally get to play!

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