The first Emerald Isle Classic games were played at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland in 1988 and 1989. The first game in 1988 was played by Boston College and West Point in the hopes of bringing some of 40 million Americans of Irish descent back to the motherland. Boston College came to Ireland as the underdog with a season record of 2-7, while the Army team came to the field with a season record of 8-1. To the surprise and delight of the crowd, Boston took the lead early and held it for a 38-24 victory over West Point. Intended to be an annual event in Dublin, the Emerald Isle Classic was discontinued after the game in 1989 Pittsburgh vs. Rutgers game due to poor attendance of only 45, 525 fans.
Traditionally, the college teams who played the Classic were chosen from those of Irish or Catholic background. True to the tradition, in 1996 Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy gave the international venue another shot and organized the newly named Shamrock Classic to take place in Dublin, but this time at Croke Park. While Notre Dame set a record for the longest winning streak over an annual collegiate opponent during the 1996 Shamrock Classic, the event drew a smaller crowd than the Emerald Isle Classic in 1988 and 1989. With more than 40,000 in attendance, the Shamrock Classic drew over 10,000 Americans to the event. Shops stayed open late, restaurants were packed, and hotels were booked solid weeks in advance of the game. The Fighting Irish took the game at 54-27.
Hoping to break all previous attendance records Notre Dame and Navy will meet again in the same spot the original game took place in 1988. Renamed and remodeled, the Lansdowne Road location is now known as the Aviva Stadium and is proudly hosting the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on August 26, 2023 as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Navy Midshipmen.
Who will return home with a victory?
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Take it from our past travelers – you won’t want to miss this event! All game packages include ticket, transportation, accommodations and optional extensions throughout the island of Ireland.