The Notre Dame men's basketball team had the chance to visit Notre Dame's Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies in Dublin and talk with its staff, including the center's director, Dr. Kevin Whalen (front row, far right). <i>(photo by Tish Brey)</i>

Kyle McAlarney Diary Entry From Ireland - Day 8

Aug. 20, 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 8 of the trip.

DUBLIN, Ireland – It’s just after 9 o’clock at night and I’m standing on the steps outside our hotel downtown. There’s just so much to soak in. There are two pubs across the street and there’s hundreds of people just hanging out, having a good time. There’s people all over the place.

I’m a little livelier than the past few days, but that’s just the energy of this city. Walking around and taking it all in is a lot of fun. Like I said (Tuesday), it reminds me a lot of Times Square. If I had a choice between a weekend in Times Square and a weekend in Dublin, I’m taking the weekend in Dublin.

I could go to Times Square any time I want. Being in Dublin means more to me than I can explain in words. To be over here, on a trip that I didn’t have to pay for, is amazing. I hope the rest of the guys appreciate it as much as I do.

This biker gang just came rolling down the street to go a pub. Some of us thought about joining them. Right now, there’s a homeless guy walking past playing the flute. Tory (Jackson) is filming him so the guy is kind of putting on a little show. Some of the other guys on the team, they’re so tall that they stand out in a crowd as basketball players. I haven’t been recognized yet, which is cool. I could blend in very well all by myself.

We just walked around Dublin on our first night here (Monday). We were in bed by midnight. Really, we were. It was midnight. With all the bus rides and sightseeing, we haven’t been able to sleep in too many days. It takes a lot out of you.

Eight of us went to lunch earlier today. We went looking for a good place to eat, but everything was so crowded. We stopped at this Italian cafe. The food was pretty good. I had a salmon salad. I’m a pretty big salmon fan and I’ve been eating a lot of it. It’s so fresh and it’s so good.

We had the whole day to shop and go in all these great stores. I got some gifts for my family. Tory bought a nice pair of shoes. For a lot of the other guys, it’s hard for them to buy clothes in their sizes because they’re too big.

I don’t know if anyone bought anything crazy or not because I decided to go off by myself. When I’m in a big city like this, I like to be alone to explore. I found this church nearby called St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. That’s the same name of the church where my family goes to Mass back home. I stopped in, said a little prayer and lit a candle. I also got some rosary beads that I’m going to give to my mom. There were a lot of people in there praying. I wanted to find the pastor and talk with him, but it was so crowded. I didn’t want to disturb anybody.

We practiced (Wednesday) for the first time in a couple days. It was good to get an hour and 15 minutes of 5-on-5 in and work on some things. We’ve got three games in three days (starting today). That’s something I’ve never had in college. It’s going to take a toll, so you just have to get as much rest as you can.

We stayed around to sign some autographs and took pictures with some of the kids after practice. There was this one guy named Rob. He said that he’s a big fan and has been reading my diary every day on the Internet. I told him I’d give him a shout-out so Rob, here’s your shout-out.

Love you, mom.