Fighting Irish ‘come home’ to Dublin for Aer Lingus College Football Classic

Author: Sue Ryan

Aer Lingus logo

From the nickname Fighting Irish to the leprechaun mascot to its acclaimed Irish studies institute, the University of Notre Dame has long been synonymous with all things Ireland. This week, tens of thousands of Americans will flock to Dublin to watch Notre Dame take on the Navy Midshipmen and kick off the college football season in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic at Aviva Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 26.

But the trip is more than just a football game for Fighting Irish faithful. In the spirit of Shamrock Series games, Notre Dame will be hosting various events leading up to the game to bring a taste of the South Bend experience on the road in what is being dubbed a sort of homecoming to its Irish roots.

Beginning Thursday, Aug. 24, daily Mass and tours will be offered at Newman University Church, the historic church that opened in 1856 and has since become an iconic landmark in Dublin’s City Centre. Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason staff will highlight St. John Henry Newman and share information about the University’s involvement in the church since 2017.

Some additional events open to the public include (all times listed are local Dublin time, five hours ahead of EDT):

Thursday (Aug. 24)

10-11:30 a.m. — Hesburgh Libraries Walk in Dublin’s City Centre

This event begins in the Maharry Theatre at Trinity Business School and connects Hesburgh Libraries collections with the beauty and history of Dublin. Musicians from Trinity College Dublin’s Traditional Music Society will perform selections from the Francis O’Neill Collection and Hesburgh Libraries staff will share stories of books that connect the Hesburgh Libraries with this historic part of Dublin. The 30-minute presentation will be followed by a walking tour from College Green to Merrion Square.

4-6:30 p.m. — Film screening, “Nets of Memory,” Trinity College

Hosted by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, “Nets of Memory” is a poignant look at the most vital link between Ireland and America — the people who left one land for another. The film, directed by Notre Dame faculty members William Donaruma and Ian Kuijt, explores immigration and memory through the materials created and used by traditional fishermen on the west coast of Ireland. Join Kuijt, a professor of anthropology, for a viewing of this beautifully evocative film that connects the past with the present and America with Ireland. Register here.

Friday (Aug. 25)

10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Notre Dame Alumni Association service project

Fans and guests will serve the greater Dublin community and those in need at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital as well as two nearby agencies that serve unaccompanied minors and the elderly. Projects will vary depending on each location’s needs.

5-7 p.m. — Taizé Prayer and Social

Musicians and staff of the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason invite all to participate in an evening of song and prayer. After the prayer service, there will be time for fellowship.

Saturday (Aug. 26)

11 a.m.-Noon — Mass, Dublin Castle courtyard

Notre Dame will offer a large, open-air Mass at the historically important site of Dublin Castle. Mass will take place in the upper courtyard of the complex and no seating will be provided. Watch a livestream of the Mass here.

Following Mass, the trumpet section of the Notre Dame Marching Band will perform the alma mater and guests can then line the street and follow the band to Dame Street, which will officially be temporarily renamed “Notre Dame Street” in the lead-up to the game. Fans can enjoy a band performance at approximately 12:30 p.m. at Central Plaza. Notre Dame Street will be free and open to all guests. Streets will be closed to vehicular traffic from noon to 5 p.m. Aer Lingus College Football Classic official merchandise will be available for purchase at a pop-up store.

For a complete listing of Dublin events, retail locations and links to game information, visit

Originally published by Sue Ryan at on August 21, 2023.