12 Trips in 12 Months: Ireland

I’ve been slacking. There’s no excuse, no good reason, just me falling behind, and therefor I’m going to cheat by combining February and March!

Earlier this year, I took on the challenge to take 12 Trips in 12 Months, or a trip a month. During the months of February and March, I embarked on a tour of Ireland with my rugby team (I wrote a lot about it here). While there, we ventured off to Dublin, Cork, and Shannon, recruiting, playing, and learning the game in each locale. We drank the drinks, we ate the food, and we watched the match’s. Does it get any more Irish then that?

guinness

We were fortunate to see and play a lot of good rugby while we were there. Our first practice was with Coach Brendan O’Connor, a former Munster player and current developmental coach for the Ireland national team. Speaking of Munster, we were able to get front row tickets to see Munster vs Glasgow, a Premier League competition between two of the best in their respective countries.

munster

Further on during the trip, we were able to practice with Mallahide, a top tier Mens Club who housed former Ireland stars, as well as up and coming players.They were kind enough to let us participate in their drills with them, and difference the level of skill was remarkable. Throwing a ball was almost like second nature to them. They had that natural instinct that it seems American rugby lacks.

Our university has a sister school in Ireland, the University of College Cork. With UCC, we have agreed upon an exchange program where we swap players, and allow those players to study at each others respective schools. Do I possibly see a semester in Ireland ahead of me?

ucc

Ireland was one for the books (or the blog if you will). It’s amazing how similar we are as nations, yet so different. Cultural norms, lingo, culinary items, etc. I saw a lot in Ireland, but I wish I had seen more. Trust me, you’ll find me back there some day.

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