2016 Ireland Tour – Day 2

March 25, 2016

Our first full day in Ireland for the 2016 Tour provided some memories of a lifetime and the chance to meet some Irish sporting royalty.

Following a long 35-hour journey to arrive in Dublin on Thursday night, the touring party was fighting off the effect of jet lag on Good Friday morning. As a result the majority were up and about early taking full advantage of an unseasonally warm and sunny Dublin morning to walk the streets and take in the sights.

We are very fortunate to be in Dublin this weekend as our visit coincides with the 100th anniversary of the famous 1916 Easter Rising and the city is full of vibrancy and celebration to mark the event.

After all members of the touring party enjoyed the opportunity to explore the city on foot at their own pace, we then gathered as a group for a driving tour of the key highlights of Dublin. Our bus driver provided expert commentary as he drove around the many famous sights including the home of Guinness and the historic landmarks which dot this thousand-year-old city. At one point on the tour we drove past a forming rally which was preparing to march to commemorate the Easter Rising centenary and the guest speaker at that rally was to be none other than former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

We stopped for lunch at the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park -“ the scene of a visit to Dublin by Pope John Paul II in 1979 -“ before heading back to the hotel to prepare for our first training session of the trip.

We were incredibly fortunate to be invited to participate in a clinic at the famed Clontarf Gaelic Academy where the boys were able to practice their skills with the round ball under the expert eye of some nationally-acclaimed coaches.

The boys were also provided the opportunity to try their hand at hurling -“ another one of Ireland’s unique yet highly-skilled sports.

Towards the end of the session the touring party had the opportunity to meet none other than legendary Gaelic football coach Sean Bowlan. Sean is the Gaelic football equivalent of Kevin Sheedy -“ a master coach with a great passion for growing the game and expanding its boundaries. Sean was the inaugural coach of the Ireland International Rules teams which took on Australia many years ago. We were delighted that he took the time out of his schedule to meet our boys and pass on some words of wisdom.

With our first competitive hit-out scheduled for Easter Saturday, and with many still feeling tired after the long journey across, it was an early finish to the night after all enjoyed dinner at the Historic Parnell Bar and Grill.

* A photo gallery from today’s training session can be found at this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1372919246067166.1073742052.403419073017193&type=3&uploaded=39