Friday was our last night in Dublin. We went to our first ever soccer (football) game (match). Ireland was playing Slovaks in a qualifier for the 2012 Euro Cup, which is like the world cup but without America in it. I was surprised by a number of things at this game. The stadium was a little more than half full (suck it haters, I can be an optimist). the game play was more physical than it seems on TV. These guys were really fast and hitting each other pretty hard. As a fan, what stood out the most was how much I missed even though I understand the game fairly well. There were a handful of instances where the crowd would have a slight surge in volume – probably a player getting open or a play developing away from the ball – and I didn’t know what I missed. Other times, Ireland would have a good goal scoring opportunity that they missed and it would be followed by polite applause for the good try rather than a scathing rebuke on everything about the player.
Some other things about the game were also quite surprising. We bought the tickets from ticket master and they were available at the box office for pick up. In America, the box office is part of the stadium. In Ireland, it’s not part of the stadium and only one police officer (Garda) in the whole land knows where it is. After about 70 minutes of walk-sprinting, we found the ticket booth in some hotel, conveniently located in the general vicinity of Ireland.
The hiccup picking up the tickets meant that we got into the stadium just as the game was about to start. We were the only sober people in the whole country at this moment, and the fans walking through the gates had a rowdiness and excitedness that usually leads to hooliganism. I knew that after one beer, I would be in the same inebriated state. I was looking forward to a nice half pint from the beer stand or vendor in the stadium. And maybe a tasty snack.
The stadium did not serve beer. I repeat. THE STADIUM DID NOT SERVE BEER. Of all the surprising things that happen in the world, this was the most surprising. A soccer stadium hosting a game of the national team in a country with a thriving commemorative key chain bar industry did not serve beer. Also, there wasn’t even a shake shack.
Some not surprising things happened at the game as well:
No one scored
It ended in a tie
My U-S-A chant went over very poorly
Started the day with a three mile run around St. Stephens Green and Merrion Park. Unofficial Guinness tally for the day is now -3. Boom.
Day two was rather uneventful after an epic night one. We walked around the city and took pictures of things that looked like we were supposed to photograph. We visited the Dublin castle, trinity college, the garden of remembrance, the world’s largest flagpole (the millennium needle), a place with 200 varieties of milkshakes, and walked past Mclovin, who is staying in our hotel. That’s how we roll.
So far, the most I have offended anyone was when I used the “notes” app on my iPhone to record the tourist advice our new friends gave us on our first pub adventure. I think she yelled to the whole bar, “get a load of ‘dis guy. He’s using notes!” That wasn’t as good of a punch line as I had hoped. Read it again and use the voice of a leprechaun. Hilarious.
Day 2 amazingly involved no pubs, no keychains, and no Guinness. we will try to remedy that today…if Anne ever wakes up. Just kidding, Anne (it’s only 7:30) (but seriously, wake the eff up).
Today is our last full day in Dublin. Thanks to all who have suggested things for us to do. We have tried to at least take one photo pretending to do each of those things.
Times I said Mac-looooowvvviinnn in a fake Irish brogue – 134
Times Anne laughed when I did it – 7
Guinness pints – 0
Times I used the notes app to try to remember the name of our new Irish best friends – 2
Jokes I made involving the name of the banging scene from the first restaurant we ate at – 22 (it was called Bang Restaurant)
Times Anne laughed at those jokes – 0
it’s noon and a crisp beautiful late summer day in Dublin. Last night, Anne and I had an early dinner that finished at 7:30. We were exhausted. In an attempt to fend off the jet lag that was sure to ruin the rest of our trip, we agreed to have “one more pint” at a pub called O’Donagues. By 8:30 we were practically catatonic from sleep deprivation. My cell phone rang. It was Anne’s oldest friend Rebecca, calling to tell us that she had a new baby daughter. The pub’s walls were lined with dollar bills signed by people from all over the world. We commemorated the new baby with her own dollar bill on the wall in Ireland.
That fucking dollar bill. If not for that dollar bill, I’d probably be sitting outside by the river Liffey enjoying the day. But that stupid dollar prompted a conversation with a group of Irish lasses in the pub. They were instant best friends with Anne and tolerated me. 5 hours later, we are taking photos in a rickshaw outside of a funeral home. The details get hazy because Anne got into a drink buying competition with all of Ireland (everyone lost) and the lasses decided their drink of choice would be apple pucker. Sweet. Get it? Because I was being sarcastic about enjoying their drink choice, but it is also a drink that is literally sweet. Anyway, if you ever get the chance, make sure that you hear an Irish person talk about the movie super bad so that they say “mclovin” a lot. It got me every time.
Unofficial trip tally:
Pints of Guinness – 5-13 (est.)
Apple pucker shots – 3
Commemorative photo key chains purchased, with Pictures of me, anne, and Irish people we’ll never see again – 1
Money spent on keychains, in USD – $17
Ahoy mateys from Ireland. We arrived with only a few small hiccups along the way. And by small, I mean that Anne cause a minor national Security scare at the airport. My in-laws, who still have family in Ireland, kindly packed a gift bag filled with wrapped presents for us to deliver to the homeland. Anne delicately placed the bag through the x-ray machine, which prompted the TSA agent to say, “uh, we need a bag check.”. No big deal, right? Well, here was Anne’s reaction – and this is a verbatim quote – “Oh No! It must be something in the present. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS IN THERE. Somebody gave it to me to bring on the flight.” 20 minutes, an anal probe, and a few armed guards later, we were safely through security. Luckily, the in-laws had only packed an 8 ounce bottle of a mysterious bath-enhancing liquid.
Other than that minor breach of airport security, and a few moments of sheer panic when I temporarily forgot which side of the road I was supposed to drive on, everything has been great. We are checked in to our hotel in downtown Dublin and getting ready to attack the day.
A brief running total of where things stand:
Guiness pints – 1
Right turns – 4 (only one of which caused a panic attack)
Percent of clothing I packed that was appropriate for this weather – 15%
national security scares – 1
Heated towel racks in the hotel room – 1 (baller)