Only a few days after Notre Dame's extended run in the NCAA tournament had ended, Kirk Howell and the entire Notre Dame team departed on a lacrosse tour of Ireland, Wales and England. Kirk kept a journal for E-Lacrosse complete with photographs. Enjoy!
May 30- Wednesday
We're leaving JFK Airport for Ireland today. All the seniors kicked the trip off by having a beer at the airport bar. I have never been to Europe before, so I'm pretty excited to get to go, especially with all of my teammates. This trip ought to be a great way to end up the year and my career at ND. Today is also my birthday and I couldn't ask for a better present.
May 31- Thursday
The plane rolled into Shannon at 7:30 AM. The flight was pretty entertaining, especially the eight times "One More Time" came on the radio, however, the low-point of the flight was definitely the in-flight movie. An edited version of Chris Rock's Down To Earth is about the most painful movie I've ever sat through.
At the Airport
Jumped on a bus to tour through County Clare. Our bus driver informed us that the Irish call the castles that are still standing ABC's (Another Bloody Castle). Of course, John Souch picked up that saying and yells it out every time he sees any building that remotely resembles a castle.
A real "ABC"
After driving for an hour or so, we stopped at the Beaches of La Hench to look around. From there we headed to the Cliffs of Moher and were "the cliffs of insanity" that Andre the Giant climbed in the movie "The Princess Bride". These cliffs are the coolest things I have ever seen. They're about 750 feet high and you can walk right up to the edge. Of course, being the idiots that we are, we all decided to lie down and put our heads over the edge. Anyone that goes to Ireland has to see these cliffs!
Devin Ryan hangs on
We got back in the bus and headed for Galway going through the Barren National Preserve. Once we got to The Jury Inn in Galway, Coach let us loose on the town. Every one hung out together at The Kings Head. They had a great band that played American music. I'm pretty sure none of us were mistaken for locals, especially not John Flandina or Mike Pfeffer.
Front - Megan O'Gorman, Nick Antol & Travis Wells. Back - Mickey Blum, Kirk Howell & Chris Young.
June 1- Friday
After sitting on the bus for two hours, Coach unexpectedly decided to let us wander around Galway all morning. We then got on the bus and drove to Dublin, took a ferry to Holahen, Wales. Then we drove to Cardiff. What a long day. During this bus ride a few people began to get sick This was the beginnings of what became known as "the plague". We got to Cardiff at about 3 AM. We're staying at the Welsh Institute of Sport. I didn't know there was such a thing… just want to sleep.
June 2- Saturday
Got up at 8 AM. Then we were told we could go back to sleep until 11. Just about the time I got back to sleep, Karen, one of our managers, woke me up saying we had to be out of the room by 9:45. She shut the door before anyone in the room had time to kill her.
We walked around Cardiff for a while and went to the famous Cardiff Castle. Mike Richtsmeier spent most of his time in the castle spreading rumors about a torture room. He decided that he was going to spread rumors the rest of the trip. I think the best one he told me was that Doug Boersma, our trainer, was a great point guard in high school and only missed four free-throws his senior year. I'll do my best to get that one around.
At 12:30, we played the Wales President Select Team. We won 19-2, paced by numerous ground balls from Mike Adams and AJ Wright. I think our offense scored a few too. After Nick Antol had a shut out in the first half, he suited up for Wales in the second. The second half was highlighted by Stewart Crossland's out of the cage antics.
After the game, we got to hang out with the Wales team at Penarth Sports Club. The food wasn't all that great, but the company was. One of the Wales players tried to explain Cricket to me, but I still don't really understand it.
We then drove to London. We took the tubes (subway) down to Piccadilly Circus, but didn't make it to the bars before they closed. Most of us, starving from not eating very much after the game, decided to hit up a fast-food restaurant. Todd Ulrich, Chad DeBolt, Steve Claggett, and Matt Howell tried to go to a club but got denied since they didn't have any girls with them. Then, I think they went to Burger King. I have definitely underestimated how much I love American food.
TOYOTA Video Clip of the Week!
June 3- Sunday
We spent most of today wandering around downtown London seeing the sites: Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, and Parliament. I'm amazed that none of us got hit by a car. I keep looking the wrong way before crossing streets. After seeing where the Griswolds got lost, Mike Adams, Mike Pfeffer, and I spent about an hour looking for a shopping mall Pfeff said he went to the last time he was in London. We ended up sitting down in a bar and having lunch.
After spending the day wandering around London, we played the Southern England Club team. We won 18-5 despite Todd Ulrich falling down in the open field a few times. I think the same sniper that got Stewart must have followed us to London. I couldn't believe it, but Mike Adams had his first take-away check. It was great to see Matt Howell score a few times using Glatzel's stick. With guys like him, Berger, Cappelli, Claggett, Frigon, Rimlawi, and Richtsmeier, Notre Dame lacrosse is going to be in great shape for a long time. After eating dinner (pizza with corn in it) with the other team, we got dropped off at a sports bar in Piccadilly Circus.
Buy your favorite hats on E-Lacrosse!
June 4- Monday
Spent the morning touring the Tower of London. We saw the Crown Jewels and the Palace where kings and queens of England resided. We then took a tour of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, which is about the strangest thing I have ever seen. The wax statues are so lifelike it's scary. I felt awkward being in the same room with them. The basement of the museum is a torture room that depicts famous executions and tortures. The highlight of the tour had to be Owen Asplundh and Steve Claggett sitting in the exhibits acting like statues. A couple of tourists were so convinced that they went up and touched Steve's face. At that point, he jumped up and scared the hell out of those poor women. But they ended up thinking it was pretty funny.
Kirk with Samuel L. Jackson
Hani Rimlawi with Yassar Arafat
After walking around Piccadilly Circus again for an hour or two, we all met at Café Fish for dinner. The food wasn't bad, but the best part was being able to hang out with the whole team and have a couple of beers.
Then we went to the theatre to see Notre Dame de Paris. I was pretty excited because the girl on the poster was really hot; but of course, it being a Monday, she took the night off. It still ended up being pretty good. I think John Flandina really enjoyed it, since he slept through the whole first half, but still woke up clapping.
June 5- Tuesday
We woke up early again today and drove to Stratford upon Avon. We saw where Shakespeare was born and walked around the town for a couple of hours.
The plague following our team has claimed more victims each day. AJ Wright, Mike Pfeffer, and I were walking around town when we saw Chris "BAT" Masterson throwing up in an alley. I tried to run him down to get it on film, but he was too quick.
We then jumped in the bus and drove to Manchester. For unexplained reasons, we went to the game field a good four hours before the game. Of course, our team sitting around on the field turned into an organized wrestling extravaganza. Every match was preceded by a Mike Richtsmeier dance. Matt Howell gave John Souch a thrashing; which was followed by the main event of Kevin Dugan versus Paul Cappelli. Dugan pinned Cappelli about two minutes in. Somehow I failed to get Dugan's triumph on film, so I apologize. Everyone was trying to figure out who would be the next match-up when Nick Antol screamed: "I want Corrigan!" Surprisingly, Coach Corrigan declined the fight.
After eating at Subway in Manchester, we played the English National Team. In front of a good crowd, we played a rough, physical game. Coach Corrigan and Mike Adams were locked in a battle to claim the most penalty minutes. I think Coach pulled it off with his third bench penalty. Actually, it was about the calmest I had ever seen him during a game. Anyway, after going up 12-6, we pulled out a 12-10 win.
We stayed with guys on the English team tonight. It was a good time. After having a few beers with them, we went to bed.
June 6- Wednesday
I think over half our team has fallen to the plague so far. It's gotten so bad that Claggett has organized a pool on who's going to get it next. Dan Berger (a.k.a. "The Kiss of Death") has won both of the last pools. Everyone is threatening to beat him if he picks him in the next pool.
We drove to Chester and walked around all day. Most of us went to see the movie "Pearl Harbor". I had already seen it, but I went again just to be able to sit down for a while. The town of Chester was pretty fun. I finally found something to bring back for my family.
In the evening, we played England again. We won a hard fought game 9-8. As a team we played awfully. Stewart Crossland played awesome in the cage, making some brilliant saves. After the game, we had dinner and a few beers with the other team. Then we all went out together. A good time was had by all, especially Flandina.
June 7- Thursday
We spent most of today traveling to Dublin. During the trip, the myth of the "Yeti" (a.k.a. Todd Ulrich) continued to develop (mostly at the hands of John Souch). So far the Yeti is a hairy animal that snores loudly to scare away predators; has a rare, expensive fur covering his entire body, which he shaves regularly to fund his lifestyle. Oh yea, and the Yeti eats his young. Souch you are a strange kid.
When we got to Dublin, we went to the Guinness Brewery. Tommy Glatzel and I had our complimentary pint together. Maybe it's just a mental thing, but Guinness really does taste better there. The coolest thing in the Brewery, besides the top floor bar that had a view of all of Dublin, was the lease for the property. We learned that the lease for this huge property (it must have been 40 acres at least) was for 45 pounds a year for the next 9000 years.
Tonight was senior night. Coach Corrigan, Kevin Anderson, and Matt Reinzo took all the seniors out to dinner. After eating dinner, we went to a bar with Irish music and dancing. Of course, there was a topless fat man dancing on stage. And (of course) Dugan got up there, took his shirt off, and danced with him.
BUY THE BRINE AXIS NOW!
June 8- Friday
Thank God! We finally got to sleep in this morning. Matt Howell, Owen Mulford, and Brennan Creaney were the latest victims of the plague.
At noon, we played the Irish National Team. All the seniors played for the other team. Seeing Chris Young, Dave Ulrich, Todd Ulrich, and Tommy Glatzel all carrying long sticks was a scary sight; especially when Todd warmed up by taking baseball swings. The best take-away of the day was definitely Chris Young's over the head against Jon Harvey. Equally disturbing was seeing Mike Adams and John Souch with short sticks. The final score was 18-7 in favor of ND. After the game, we were all made honorary members of the Irish National Team. I wonder if that will look good on a resume.
June 9- Saturday
Spent the day traveling back to the U.S. It's been a great trip and a great year. I hated saying goodbye to everyone on the team; but I'm going to make sure that today isn't the last day I see all of them. Anyway, it's been a blast and I'm honored to have been a part of it all.