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Book Review: Notre Dame's Happy Returns: Dublin, The Experience, The Game

Reviewing the new book by University of Notre Dame Press.

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I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Notre Dame's Happy Returns: Dublin, The Experience, The Game published by University of Notre Dame Press.

The book is written by Brian Ó Conchubhair, associate professor of Irish Heritage and Literature at Notre Dame and Susan Mullen Guibert, assistant director in Notre Dame's Office of Public Relations---with photography done by Matt Cashore, senior photographer for the University of Notre Dame. If you don't already know Mr. Cashore many of the pictures you see on this site are taken by him and you can follow him on Twitter @MattCashore.


It begins with a forward by Christopher Fox who is the Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and gives a brief run down of the program's history and importance to Ireland and the University of Notre Dame.

A quick introduction for the book is as follows:

The year 2012 also marks the Notre Dame football team's return to the city of Dublin in Ireland, a country closely associated with the University of Notre Dame and its renowned football team---the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame's Happy Returns: Dublin, the Experience, the Game marks and celebrated the 2012 Notre Dame-Navy game and offers readers a taste of the history and culture of Dublin, Ireland, the links between Notre Dame and Ireland through the Keough-Naughton Dublin Centre and Teach Bhríde (Notre Dame's service program in County Wexford), and the game itself through stunning images and informative text.

The book contains 5 chapters:

1. History: Dublin

Takes you through the history of Dublin from the establishment of the Viking settlement of Dyflin around 841 and the Norman control of the city in the early 12th Century, to the Tudor Monarchy's influence under Queen Elizabeth I and the urbanization of the city in the early 20th Century.

2. Beyond Dublin

A brief look at the countryside, scenery, and mystical land west of Dublin.

3. Faith and Academics

A look and celebration of the University of Notre Dame's role in Ireland led by the Keough-Naughton Institute based at the famous O'Connell House. This chapter also highlights the (approximately) 200 graduating Notre Dame students who volunteer for programs in Ireland, the visits of the Notre Dame Folk Choir to the Emerald Isle, the importance of the world-class IRISH Seminar, the experience the Keough internships give students, and more.

4. City Life

A brief look at the pubs around Dublin including The Church, The Temple Bar, O'Neill's, The Confession Box, Molloy's, and more.

5. The Game

Chronicles the history of American football in the country of Ireland starting with the Potato Bowl featuring a matchup between two teams of U.S. servicemen in Northern Ireland just 6 months before the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, all the way to this year's game between Navy and Notre Dame.

The book was a delight to read.

It's not very text-heavy, although the first chapter on the history of Dublin is the lengthiest and most informative. Most of the book isn't focused around the actual football game this year either, but really centers on the city of Dublin.

I'd recommend the book for the pictures alone. You'll see dozens and dozens of beautiful large photographs of Dublin and once you're finished it actually feels like you finished your own personal trip to Ireland.

You can purchase the book HERE at Barnes & Noble. Even though it's after Christmas this is an excellent gift to buy any Notre Dame fan or someone with an appreciation of Irish culture.