A few years ago my wife and I spent over a week in Ireland and we made our way up and down the country of Ireland which is actually smaller than I realized. I will not be making the trip to Ireland this week, though we about pulled the trigger.
However, I know five things that I would do that would make the trip worthwhile as a Nebraska football fan.
Here are those five things.
Rent a Car and Drive Ourselves
This is the first thing I tell people who are thinking of taking a trip to Ireland. Another piece of advice I give is that if you are going to rent a car then I suggest flying into the Shannon Airport and not into Dublin.
I was told that it’s extremely difficult to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road when you are in a busy city like Dublin. When driving out of Shannon you have long highways and some round-a-bouts to get you acclimated. It probably took me 30 minutes to feel comfortable driving. We actually drove through a pretty large city later that day and I had no problems.
The best part of driving our own car is that we can stop anywhere at anytime. There are so many small towns that you can pick and choose when and where you want to pull off and look at the beautiful scenery or stop in a small pub for lunch.
Our first day actually was a great example of the benefit of this freedom. We stopped at a small pub for lunch. I couldn’t tell you the name of the town but it might have had a population of less than a 1,000 people.
As we ate lunch the bartender there asked where we were going. Our GPS and map had a straight shot to the next destination. He actually ended up suggesting we take a different route.
It ended up being one of the most beautiful drives of our entire trip.
Wouldn’t Actually Go to the Game
I don’t think I would actually go to the game. I think I would find a “Nebraska” pub in Ireland. There are some, though I can’t find the link, that will be broadcasting the game.
This is an assumption that you have been to many Nebraska football games and maybe the experience of attending a game in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium isn’t exactly on your bucket list.
It wouldn’t be for me.
I would much rather hang out in a pub and maybe meet some locals. Or maybe hang out with other Husker fans at a Dublin pub instead of actually going to the game.
This is line with my view that I’m actually there to travel through Ireland and the fact that Nebraska is playing a game in Ireland is just that little bit extra that pushed us over the ledge to book those plane tickets.
Who wouldn’t love to sit next to a couple Dubliners as you try and explain some of the ridiculous rules of football (American football) as they give you crap about how dumb of a game it is.
It would be fun.
Schedule the Football Game at the Beginning of the Trip
Especially if you were going to the game, I would want to schedule it in the first half of my trip. I wouldn’t try to fly in the night before as you never know what would happen with delays or cancellations.
It would be perfect to fly in the day before. Take some time to get acclimated to the time change and the city before heading in to cheer for the Huskers. However, you never know what could happen.
I would rather have it in the early part of the trip to “get it out of the way.” Two friends and I traveled to England and Italy. However, the purpose of our trip was this race outside of London. We put that at the very first part of the trip so we could relax as the business part was over.
Maybe you would want to have the Husker game at the end. So it would be kind of a culmination of sorts. A celebration. Hopefully they win.
With that said, in a perfect world I would fly in the day before and see a few of the sights in London. The next day I would either go to the game, or find a pub that has the game and hang out and enjoy that experience.
Then you know what I would do the next day?
Get Out of Dublin
Yep. I’d get out of Dublin.
I know not all cities are the same, but Dublin is a large metropolitan city like many others. There are so many other sites to see in Ireland and experiences to have rather than hanging out in another city. I am sure there are a few neighborhoods worth visiting in Dublin.
However, if I was single I and I made my way to Ireland for the game then I would probably never leave Dublin.
But, I’m a 36 year old married man with four children. So Dublin might not be my thing at this point.
I’ve never been to Northern Ireland. Maybe I would go there?
Wear Nebraska Stuff Everywhere
I just wanted to use this opportunity to tell a short story. My wife and I were at a pub in Kenmare, Ireland. Kenmare is a town with a population of 2,376. So it’s a little smaller than Ashland, NE.
There was an older man sitting at the end of the bar. The next day I learned he owned the small grocery store/convenience store across the street. This is because I went in there the next morning to get ibuprofen for a headache (hangover).
The old man didn’t say much the entire night. We on the other hand were talking to the bartender and various people who would come in and sit down next to us because we were Americans.
Or maybe it was because I was wearing a Nebraska hat.
I say that because toward the end of the night I get a glimpse out of my eye that the old guy at the end of the bar was trying to get my attention.
I looked over at him and he started pointing at my head. I was confused but I took my hat off and pointed at the ‘N’.
He then said, “Go Big Red?”