Thousands celebrate Ireland and Notre Dame in Dublin

Author: Julie Hail Flory

When some 35,000 Americans descended on Dublin, Ireland, for the Emerald Isle Classic football game between Notre Dame and Navy (played Sept. 1 at Aviva Stadium), it was for many a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the country, learn about their Irish heritage, and celebrate Notre Dame’s rich academic, faith and athletic tradition.

Dublin, Ireland Dublin, Ireland

A series of academic events were held in the days leading up to the game, including “The Future of Energy: Dreams and Responsibilities,” held in the Science Gallery of Dublin’s Trinity College. Energy experts from around the world, including members of the Notre Dame faculty, discussed the future of energy — clean fossil fuels, next-generation solar applications and other renewable energy solutions, covering current systems, promising technologies and the responsibilities that accompany the development of this new knowledge.

Notre Dame brought together some of the world’s top intellectuals on Aug. 30 to explore the 1916 Irish uprising at a conference at Dublin’s Royal Irish Academy.

“Ambiguity and complexity continue to cloud the meaning of the Rising, nearly a century after it captured the world’s attention,” said Robert Schmuhl, Annenberg-Joyce Professor of American Studies and Journalism at Notre Dame, who then probed the context for historical understanding of the event, particularly the role of one key figure, politician Eamon de Valera.

Robert Schmuhl Professor Robert Schmuhl at 1916 Dublin conference

The line-up of speakers included scholars from Notre Dame, New York University, Northwestern University, Oxford University, National University of Ireland, University of Aberdeen and University College Dublin. Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies also showcased its forthcoming TV documentary on 1916 at the event.

“Notre Dame: The Irish Connections,” the annual Hibernian Lecture, presented by Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, featured Kevin Whelan, director of Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Dublin Centre. In the talk, Whelan analyzed the long-standing historical connections between Notre Dame and Ireland, and explored the more recent linkages of the “Fighting Irish” with the island.

And a roundtable discussion, “Ireland in Transition: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities,” held in Examination Hall at Trinity College, focused on how a rapidly changing Ireland fits into the wider world today and explored issues such as culture, the economy, politics, education, the Catholic Church and the European Union.

Pep rally in Dublin “Notre Dame: A Welcome Home”

Some 10,000 fans packed Dublin’s O2 Arena for the Notre Dame pep rally on Friday night (Aug. 31). Titled “Notre Dame: A Welcome Home,” this event merged the best of American and Irish traditions with musical performances showcasing the Band of the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame Folk Choir and cheerleaders — and the very best of Irish music, song, dance and literature. The event was aired live on Irish national television. (Watch pep rally video)

In his remarks to the audience, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny said: “This is a great event for Ireland to host. It’s going to be a mighty few days showcasing all Ireland is and all we have to offer to millions of people at home and away.” Other speakers and performers included Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.; comedian Martin Short; Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick; and such top Irish musicians as Brian Kennedy, Eimear Quinn and The High Kings.

A Mass of Thanksgiving was held Sept. 1 at Dublin Castle, with Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin presiding and preaching, and concelebrants Father Jenkins; Papal Nuncio Charles J. Brown, a 1981 Notre Dame graduate; and Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross Rev. Richard Warner, C.S.C. This outdoor Mass also was broadcast on Irish national television. (Watch Mass video)

Dublin Castle Mass Mass at Dublin Castle

After Mass, the Notre Dame Band marched from the castle to the Temple Bar area, where fans were treated to a unique tailgate experience on the streets of Dublin. The Band also performed a concert on the Central Bank Plaza, serenading visitors with a selection of Irish and American favorites.

Other Notre Dame events included service projects and fan get-togethers, Masses, an afternoon of tennis with the Notre Dame men taking on the Ireland Davis Cup team at the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, tours of historic Ireland locations, and a Notre Dame family pilgrimage to the West of Ireland to climb the spectacular Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick.

Notre Dame defeated Navy in the Emerald Isle Classic, with a final score of 50-10.

For more photos of Notre Dame in Dublin, visit

Originally published by Julie Hail Flory at on September 06, 2012.