Aug. 19, 2008
Editor’s note: During the Notre Dame men’s basketball team’s 12-day, four-city foreign tour of Ireland, senior guard Kyle McAlarney will file a daily diary after talking by phone with the South Bend Tribune’s Tom Noie. Following are McAlarney’s thoughts on day 7 of the trip.
DUBLIN, Ireland – This is an awesome city. We pulled up to the hotel, which is right downtown, and were all very relieved. I’m happy Dublin is our last stop. It’s by far the best place we’ve been. We’re going out tonight to explore the town a little bit.
First of all, it’s the biggest city that we’ve been to, way different than Limerick and Belfast. It reminds me a lot of New York. It’s not like Times Square, but it’s still pretty clustered. There’s people everywhere, different cultures, different foods – Indian, Chinese, all kinds of pubs. A lot of diversity. It’s very Americanized. They have a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Starbucks.
As soon as we arrived, a bunch of guys went right to McDonald’s. Zach (Hillesland), Ryan (Ayers), Tory (Jackson), Jon (Peoples) and Tom (Kopka) all got Big Macs. I didn’t want to eat that stuff. Luke (Harangody) and I went to the weight room to get a lift in. It’s been a couple days since we worked out and I would have felt guilty if we didn’t lift. I try to stay away from McDonald’s. You could gain a lot of weight really quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat. I love food. I try to stay moderately healthy. Every now and then, I’ll splurge on something.
I could eat the biggest bag of M&Ms all day. I grew up on those. My Nana, she used to live in our basement. She kept the biggest bags of M&Ms and Tootsie Rolls downstairs. I used to sneak down there all the time and eat candy. M&Ms, man, those are like my babies. I haven’t found any over here yet.
It was a three-hour bus ride from Belfast. We’re so used to being on a bus that you just pop in a movie or watch a DVD for a couple hours and you’re there.
We were about to leave Belfast after having lunch at this country club when we got a flat tire. It’s just another in a run of bad luck we’ve had with travel since we’ve been here. That delay turned out to be a blessing.
It took 45 minutes to fix the flat, so that left time to soak in the view. The country club sits on this hill overlooking a golf course and the whole city of Belfast. We walked around the grounds and took a ton of pictures.
Before we left, we also toured some of the dangerous parts of Belfast where there was the conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants. The tensions must have been out of this world. There was this one school where the Protestants built this huge fence because the Catholics would throw rocks at the children while they were at recess.
We stopped at this one wall that separated the two groups. It had all these murals and paintings of terrorist groups. It was Protestant loyalists holding guns and ready for war. They were not very pleasant pictures. It was pretty threatening. To see that was really cool, but it also was a little dangerous. It was so scary that Ryan and Tory wouldn’t get off the bus. Even the guys that did go see them, we were like, ‘OK, let’s get back on and get the hell out of here.’ We were taking pictures at the wall and people were looking at us like, ‘What in the world are you doing?’
We feel like we’ve been gone way longer than a week, but I’m in no rush to get back. We get back Monday and have to start classes Tuesday. We kick it right back into gear. We’ll be sitting in class next week wishing we were still in Ireland, so we’re going to enjoy this while we can. I feel that the best part of our trip is still ahead of us.
Love you, mom.