Remarks by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. at the  Notre Dame Pep Rally, O2 Arena, Dublin Friday 31st August, 2012


Good evening Dublin!

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Visitors, and all of you joining us by television or on the web here at home or overseas.

Welcome to what’s going to be a great event a great game a great weekend here in Baile Atha Cliath.

The Legendary Navy and Notre Dame meeting in the Emerald Isle Classic!   

Notre Dame great to see you back so soon!

For the second time in what is the longest uninterrupted series of college football Dublin plays host to the Midshipmen and the Fighting Irish

Both colleges marking 85 years of wonderful college football remarkable sporting rivalry.

A rivalry characterised by a deep respect and warmth between the two institutions.

I hope no-one is looking for a ticket, because tomorrow’s game is a sell-out.

And no wonder.

30,000 supporters have come from the US among them, a big battalion of Notre Dame’s “Fighting Irish” fans.

I’m told that this is the biggest ever overseas mobilisation of US citizens for a single sporting event.

So relax, enjoy, explore

Make the most of your few days with us.... 

Be sure to make and take home great memories.

Tomorrow’s big game is being sponsored by The Gathering Ireland 2013

A year-long home-coming a yearlong celebration for Irish people by birth or by adoption or by desire from all across the globe to come ‘home’ to us.

And those of us at home will be making them feel at home with every community taking the chance to be part of this re-connection.

But nowhere are those ties of family and friendship stronger than with America.

One Notre Dame fan who isn’t with us this evening is Kathleen Fox, the proud mother of the Fighting Irish’s number 48, Daniel Patrick Fox.

Right now she is getting her son prepared for tomorrow’s historic game! 

Daniel’s grandfather, Richard Gregory Mary Power, left Rathkeale in County Limerick in 1932, arriving in Chicago at the height of the depression in search of work. 

He was told "They hire the Irish at Notre Dame".

True to those words, he was hired as a groundskeeper at Notre Dame University and worked and lived on the Notre Dame campus until 1934.  

Kathleen is using tomorrow’s game to have her very own Gathering. More than 20 of Daniel’s aunts, uncles and cousins have travelled to Dublin from the US and from county Limerick to cheer on the Fighting Irish tomorrow. 

They and you are our people our distant cousins you are part of us because you are part of who we were in past times difficult times in rebellion in famine and emigration while our people hoped and dreamed of a new life a better future.

In the name of your forefathers your foremothers we welcome you home.  

This is a great event for Ireland to host.

It’s going to be a mighty few days showcasing all Ireland is and all we have to offer to millions of people at home and away.

 The Irish people love sport. Already this year we have hosted the finale of the Volvo Ocean Race, the visit of the Tall Ships and we have seen an Irish winner of the yet another US Golf major this time the PGA championship.

And of course, our spirits have been lifted by the magnificent performance of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

This great event tomorrow is another chance to see Ireland at its brilliant best, its proudest, it’s brightest.

Let me assure you in the United States that Ireland and its people in true Fighting Irish style are fighting back in the face of economic challenges, challenges which we are determined to overcome.

Have a great weekend!

Have a terrific game!