Irish fan’s experience at the Euros - the highs and lows of the trip, and the amazing Irish spirit


We moved onto a lovely place called Sopot just outside Gdansk for the following two days just until we were to make our way to Poznan for the Italy game. There we met a group of young lads from South Kerry who converted an old school bus to facilitate four bunks and four seats while driving. It was gas. They had a block of wood holding the handbrake up in place. Not for the faint hearted driving through Europe but they had great stories of their adventure.

The following day we made our journey to Poznan. We checked into our fan campsite and unloaded the outdoor chairs and tables and relaxed for a few hours. There was close to 200 campervans in this site and 198 of them were Irish. I only made out two Italian vans.

It was great to see all the flags draped across the bonnets of all the vans some with their local towns and local pubs written on them. Then others with “go home to your granny” with a picture of Stephen Ireland on it. We got ourselves in order by having showers, not a nice experience at all being a woman in a camp site mostly full of fellas with just shower curtains between everyone. Then a trip to the loo was even worse. There was about 20 port a loos in the site and they had to be the worst thing about the whole trip. Just imagine having to gag every time you enter one- it was just terrible and when the heat hit 30degrees worse they got. Eventually we made the decision to use the toilet facilities in the bars we were drinking in rather than having to use them again.

We went into the old town square in Poznan and it was mighty craic. The chants were coming from all different corners of the square with a real carnival atmosphere. There was footballs being kicked into the air and you were constantly on the look out for one landing on your head but it was all in good spirits. In all the time and the few cities we had been thru we did not see any trouble on the streets or in the bars.

There was an air of excitement the next day in the campsite as everyone was getting themselves in gear for the Italy and final Irish game of the tournament. It was as if we were going to enjoy this no matter what. We knew there was no hope but sure why not enjoy ourselves at the same time.

At the stadium that night it was great again with all the singing and chat with everyone around us. We had a great start to the game -well by that I mean we didn’t leave in a goal in the first five minutes actually we didn’t leave in a goal in the first 35minutes which was good considering the other two games.

So we were beaten 2-0 and defiantly heading home (we knew that already). The singing continued after the game but it was nothing like the spontaneous “The Fields of Athenry” during the Spain game. So we made our way back to the old town square in what can only be described as a vicious lightening storm, had a few drinks and back to the campervan.

We decided to make our way to Warsaw a day early and give back the campervan and spend the night there prior to our early flight the following morning. So we made the five hour journey with no bumpy roads, only a motorway that wasn’t finished and did not appear on any of our two GPS, back to Warsaw. We got the deposit back and I got my sister (a travel agent) to book us into a hotel. It was perfect. We had roasting hot showers and scrubbed ourselves to death for fear we could still smell the port a loo off us.

We were just a 15 minute walk from the square where we grabbed a meal and watched the England v Ukraine game with a few drinks. There was very sad and sick heads at the check in desks all making the journey home the next morning. We picked up a few gifts, magnets, soccer balls and vodka and made our way to the departure gate. It was a much quieter flight home than it was on the way over but I am sure everyone had a great time.

The bad things about the trip were;
Bumpy Roads.
Match Results.
Roy Keane.
Port a loos.
Cold Showers.

The good things about the trip were;
Great Fans.
Cheap Drink.
The Fields of Athenry.
Hotel showers in Warsaw.
Beautiful old Town Squares in every City.
Polish Birds (the boys input).