Here come the Irish!
That famous slogan will reverberate around Ireland this weekend as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Navy Midshipmen face off in Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the 2023 Aer Lingus College Football Classic on Saturday.
Tickets have been sold out since May. More than 40,000 international fans are expected to travel to the Emerald Isle, the vast majority of fans coming directly from the US, for the much-hyped opening fixture of the 2023 College Football season, known as "Week Zero."
Organizers have noted that the event "will see the largest movement of Americans into Europe in peacetime."
Ireland will be awash with the blue and gold colors this week but there will be plenty of green too in the coffers of Irish businesses as the event is valued to be in excess of €147 million to the Irish economy.
Some 150 hotels have already been booked out, while pubs and souvenir shops will reap the benefits, as will famous Irish destinations like the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, and the Wild Atlantic Way.
The last time the Notre Dame - Navy game was played in Ireland was in 2012, and it was claimed after the Americans departed that there wasn’t a goblet of Waterford Crystal to be found from Malin Head to Mizen Head, the length of Ireland.
The windfall will be quite welcome after a wet summer spoiled many a vacation.
The Notre Dame - Navy game is being played three years later than originally planned after it was canceled due to the pandemic. The two American rivals have twice met in Dublin - once in 1996 and again in 2012. This will be Notre Dame's first time having the home team designation.
Last year, when Nebraska took on Northwestern in Dublin for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, attendance at the Aviva totaled 42,699, including 15,000 Americans who made the trip to Dublin and another 3,000 travelers from other locales.
This year's game will likely be one-sided (Notre Dame won 50-10 in 2012) but it is a huge occasion for the Irish diaspora to show their heritage and pride to the Irish nation.
The best part of the week is that every location on the island will feel the power and emotional strength of that diaspora to which many Irish-born pay lip service but never fully acknowledge.
The star-spangled banner will stretch from Kerry in the south to Belfast in the north and points east and west. For a country somewhat troubled economically, it will be manna from heaven. But there will also be emotional sustenance too, the sense of a tribe reuniting, if only for a brief time.
The Irish National Anthem contains the words “Buíon dár slua / thar toinn do ráinig chugainn," which, when roughly translated, recognizes those who have "come from a land beyond the wave.”
It is a recognition of the Irish who left and the generations they bred who still cared deeply about the land.
It was a clear reference to the Irish in America, and at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, they will indeed come in their tens of thousands from the land beyond the waves.