Read About Our Raffle Winner, Travis Hensley's Trip to Ireland
As a huge Notre Dame Football Fan, I dreamed of making the trip to see them play in Ireland. I always wanted to go to Ireland and thought what better way then to see my Irish play. I started looking into how to make the trip. Then one day I was surfing the net and came across an article talking about the raffle that Brady Quinn and Chinedum Ndukwe were hosting which would send a lucky fan and one guest to see ND play in Ireland. I clicked on the link to www.ndinireland.com to see what the winner would get. It sounded like an awesome opportunity and the money was going to a good cause, so I purchased 4 tickets. I had to get the paperwork to apply for a passport just incase I might win the drawing. So then came the drawing day. I received an email that afternoon stating that I won the raffle. I was totally shocked. Anthony Travel was in charge of setting up the flight, booking the hotel and sending us our package with our credentials. We got some neat gifts along with everything we needed to travel with. The closer the trip got the more nervous I became because I hadn’t flown out of the country before.
We were scheduled to leave Indianapolis on Thursday afternoon and fly to Chicago then to Madrid, Spain before landing on Friday in Dublin, Ireland. When it was time to retrieve our luggage, I found out that it had been lost somewhere so I filled out a form for our missing luggage and found the Anthony Travel people to board our bus to take us to our hotel. We stayed at the Burlington Hotel, which happens to be the largest hotel in Dublin. It was a very nice hotel and had its own large restaurant. We ate supper Friday night and they had a special Notre Dame menu.
Saturday morning came and still no luggage. Luckily we both packed a change of clothes in our carry on backpacks. We got to enjoy a huge Irish breakfast each morning at the hotel. Later we took a cab to the Dublin Castle area, so we could see ND Mass in the courtyard. There were tons of people there. After mass we walked to Temple Bar for the ND tailgate. We got to watch the ND band march through the streets two different times. They had people from Coke there passing out free Coke and Coke Zero. Locals were doing Riverdance under tents and playing music. There were tons of people there as well. It was a very cool place. After leaving Temple Bar we boarded the bus to head to Aviva Stadium. The bus dropped us off a few blocks from the stadium. The stadium is surrounded by a bunch of houses. There are no parking lots, so fans just had to walk down streets to get to it. When going into the stadium we inserted our tickets into a machine that scans them and no one was there to check our backpacks or anything. We found our seats in the upper level by the one endzone. I don’t think there’s a bad seat in Aviva Stadium. We watched both teams go through warm-ups. Navy’s band played both the Ireland National Anthem and the US National Anthem. They brought a good bit of Midshipmen and Navy fans, but were outnumbered by the ND fans. ND led Navy 27-3 at halftime and then the ND band performed. ND continued their domination in the second half and won 50-10. After the game was over we boarded our bus to take us back to the hotel. We checked on our luggage and still no luck, but we had the hotel concierge take our names and keep an eye out. We went to our hotel restaurant to eat some supper. They had recorded the game so we watched it again on their big screen TV and at about 10:30 pm we finally got our luggage.
On Sunday we went to see the Christ Church Cathedral. It’s truly amazing how something that big and extraordinary was built that long ago. Later Sunday night we got to go to the Guinness Storehouse, which was part of what I’d won. It was a very cool place with multiple floors. We were served Guinness and got to eat from a buffet. After we got done eating we did some shopping and then we got to go up in the Gravity Bar that overlooks the whole city. I’m sure it would be an incredible view at night.
On Monday we weren’t flying out until 9 pm, so we went to see St Patrick’s Cathedral. We also walked through the Trinity College campus. After retrieving our luggage at the hotel we then boarded a bus to the Dublin Airport. We then flew to London and spent the night there before flying to Chicago and back to Indianapolis.
It was an amazing trip and I’d like to go back sometime to see the countryside. Thanks to Brady Quinn, Chinedum Ndukwe, Anthony Travel, and everyone else associated with both foundations for making this once in a lifetime trip happen.
- Written by Travis Hensley