Notre Dame fans flocking to Ireland in droves

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The flight attendant asked if anyone on last night’s/this morning’s flight to Dublin was traveling for any reason OTHER than football. Not a single person raised his or her hand. That’s impressive. I’m sure most of the flights from O’Hare to Dublin this week will have a similar makeup. Lots of jerseys, sweatsuits and hats. Looked like a pep rally at 38,000 feet.

From talking to cabbies and locals, it seems everyone is stunned that nearly 40,000 Americans are coming over for the game. Now, given their economic woes, they’re wondering if they should have held the game in Croke Stadium (capacity 82,000) instead of Aviva Stadium (capacity 50,000), to see if they could have wrung a few more millions of dollars from American college football fans. Oh, well. “We’ll take what we can get,” one jocular cabbie (they’re all jocular cabbies, from what I can tell) told me.

Oh, and pity the poor Navy fans coming over. At the airport gate, the gate attendants asked over the PA how many Notre Dame fans were in the house. They didn’t bother with Navy (one guy decked out head-to-toe in USNA gear bellowed, “GO NAVY!” to a smattering of applause and laughs). Same thing on the plane. The flight attendant asked how many ND fans were on the plane. Then she even asked how many were coming over for the high school games (oddly enough, there was a gaggle of Dallas Jesuit Prep folks on the flight out of O’Hare; that’s the team that’s playing Loyola Academy on Friday at the spectacularly named Donnybrook Stadium). Then she asked the question about anyone traveling for anything other than football. She never asked about Navy.

Poor Navy. It’s their home game, you know.

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