Notre Dame/Navy date in Dublin in 2012 will be a trip of a lifetime for Irish fans

Notre Dame-Navy decision to play in Dublin on September 1 2012 will be a huge event for Ireland.

The last occasion Notre Dame played abroad was also in Dublin in 1996 at Croke Park and I was there.

Notre Dame won 54-27 in a blow out and the Irish love affair with Notre Dame dates from that game.

It was an amazing occasion. I remember the locals being utterly bemused but charmed by the sight of 30,000 or so green clad Americans, several dressed as Leprechauns descending on their beloved stadium.

Dublin and many places further south were a sea of green, blue and gold that weekend and it was a marvelous occasion to witness.

The idea of playing games in Ireland was the brainchild of Boston businessman Jim O'Brien who brought Boston College to Ireland in 1988 when they defeated Army in the old Landsdowne Road stadium -- now the Aviva.

Notre Dame under Lou Holtz won that game easily but times have been much tougher since.

Aviva Stadium, formerly Landsdowne Road, is a $410 million, four-floor facility that opened in Dublin. It was formerly Landsdowne Road, a dilapidated old stadium that hosted soccer and rugby internationals.

It is the heart of Ballsbridge, Dublin's most tony address and about 20 minutes from the city center.

"To see this stadium is to believe it has to be one of the finest venues in the world," Naval Academy director of athletics Chet Gladchuk said in a statement .

"We fully realize just how important this game is in the U.S. sporting calendar,” added Aviva Stadium director Martin Murphy. “It is a terrific boost for Irish tourism, as I have no doubt the teams' fans will travel in great numbers.”

Navy will be considered the home team. But the locals will make their allegiances pretty clear right from kick off

Go Irish!


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