Tigers travel to Ireland
The anticipation leading up to spring break seemed to slow down time. But fortunately for the men’s and women’s golf teams, the day finally came that we could board the plane to Ireland.
We set off to picturesque Killarney, Ireland, located in the southwest corner of the country. Surrounded by vibrant green rolling hills and cloud-covered skies, we were immediately awestruck at the beauty around us.
We arrived at the first golf course located just outside of Killarney. The weather conditions did not fall short of our expectations. The cold, harsh wind and the icy rain never failed, but neither did our excitement to play golf in Ireland. Nearly every hole was lined with mountaintops and rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds. The scenery was like something we had only seen in movies.
On our second day, St. Patrick’s Day, both teams were asked to walk in the traditional parade in Killarney. We raised both the American and Irish flag as we were the first American group to march in the parade. The streets were lined with people in orange-and-green clothes, waving flags and cheering on the marchers. The feeling of Irish pride was palpable as we made our way through the town. It was an honor to take part in such a longstanding tradition.
We traveled back for dinner at Bricin Irish restaurant, where a young group of musicians played traditional Irish music as we dined on delicious Irish cuisine. One thing that was evident to me during our trip was the Irish hospitality. It’s a culture of family and traditions, and most importantly kindness, a quality they never failed to express to us. Throughout the day, they made us feel welcome and right at home, even though home was a few thousand miles away.
By day three, we were anxious to get back on the links at Waterville Golf Course. The wind blew nearly 40 miles an hour as we teed off on the first hole, though despite the difficult conditions, we knew this would be an experience unlike any other. The course sat just on the outskirts of the Ring of Kerry, a popular place for sightseeing in the southern part of the country.
After exciting rounds of match play, we packed our golf bags and luggage and headed north to Doonbeg, where we played on two of the most treasured courses in Ireland. The first, Doonbeg Golf Club, was set overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, backed by rolling hills of farmland. The second course, Lahinch Golf Club, was located just outside the incredible Cliffs of Moher.
Though our trip seemed to fly by, we could not have been more grateful for the opportunity to travel and play our favorite sport in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Even though the trip was short lived, the experience will last a lifetime.