Wednesday morning started off with a road trip the country’s capital. The Waterford Vikings head coach, Coach Mick, and his wife Catherine were generous enough to give Michael and I a lift. In the car, Coach Mick gave us a bit of a history lesson. He explained the country’s start of independence and told us all about the executed leaders of the 1916 Rising. Catherine gave us a bunch of traveling tips on how to get around Ireland by bus and train for cheap prices and we discussed which other European countries would be worth a visit. I really enjoyed the trip with these two!
The Basketball Ireland League Launch was a lot of fun. It was nice to see most of the other scholars and hear about how the first few weeks at their new homes are going. I got to meet other players and coaches from around the league too. The first half of the event consisted of a photoshoot. Representatives from every club took turns posing for the camera. After the photoshoot, everyone gathered for the National Cup Draw. They drew match ups for four different leagues – Men’s Super League, Men’s Division I, Women’s Super League, and Women’s Division I (I will be competing in the Women’s Super League this year). The National Cup is sort of similar to a conference or NCAA tournament in the states but at a much smaller scale. All 10 teams in my league were drawn for spots in the bracket and the games are single elimination. Here are the results of the Women’s National Cup Draw for the Super League:
Preliminary Round – Weekend of October 26/27th
Game One: DCU Mercy v Maree
Game Two: Ambassador UCC Glanmire v Liffey Celtics
Quarter Final – Weekend of November 30th/December 1st
Winner of Game 1 vs IT Carlow Basketball
Marble City Hawks vs Singleton SuperValu Brunell
Winner of Game 2 vs Maxol WIT Wildcats (That’s us!)
Pyrobel Killester v Fr Mathews
Our fellow victory scholars, Ashley and Meredith, were great hosts for the weekend! They let Peter, Michael and I spend the night in their Dublin City University apartment. Everything was great, except for the fact that we forgot the pump for our air mattresses. This made for a pretty uncomfortable night on the floor but will serve as a reminder to always bring a pump!
While the DCU girls were at practice, I fourth wheeled with the Hamilton boys (Michael and Peter were college teammates). One of their other former college teammates is also living in Dublin, so the guys were excited to catch up with him. We wandered through the streets of the city and hit some of the most iconic spots. The bus dropped us off by River Liffey, which flows right through the center of the city. Next, we walked through Trinity College’s campus. It is made up of some really beautiful buildings, including the Book of Kells. St. Stephens Green was nearby and provided a calm atmosphere in the middle of the hectic city. It is a cute little park centered around a pond that’s lined with trees and colorful flowerbeds. We made a few more stops before meeting back up with Ashley and Meredith and eventually made our way to the well-known Temple Bar. There is actually a live 24/7 webcam on the street here that gives you a full view of the area. Anyone can watch at any time, which I thought was pretty cool.
In the morning (with a stiff back and all) Ashley, Peter, Michael and I made our way to the Guinness Storehouse – because a trip to Dublin would be incomplete without it! The inside of the building itself is actually shaped as the largest beer glass in the world (which would take 14.3 million pints to fill up!). The tour took us through seven floors of Guinness history and left us on the top floor bar with a panoramic view of the city and a pint of the world’s most iconic stout. We learned about all things Guinness from the four ingredients to 80 years of clever advertising. And of course, we couldn’t end our tour without buying some overpriced merchandise at the gift shop.
We weren’t in Dublin long, but we managed to get a lot done before Michael and I took our first train ride back to Waterford. I had a great time hanging out with some of the scholars and can’t wait to see them again. I love how easy it is to travel to different places here and that nothing is really that far way. I think it actually takes longer to get across Pennsylvania than it does to get across Ireland. That means I will (hopefully) get to see and do more exciting things while I’m here! And Dublin will definitely get another visit(s)!