The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Arizona State Sun Devils will face off in the home of the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday for only the third meeting between these two programs (ND currently holds a 2-0 series advantage). This year’s ASU squad has certainly caught the attention of Fighting Irish fans everywhere after an impressive 62-41 win over Notre Dame’s rival USC, which led to the prompt firing of Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin. This weekend will take on an even higher level of significance off the football field, though, during the fifth annual installation of Notre Dame’s home away from home Shamrock Series.
In years past, Notre Dame has gone above and beyond to showcase every aspect of the university that makes Fighting Irish fans so proud to wear Blue and Gold on their sleeves. This year will be no different, and may even surpass past Shamrock Series weekends in San Antonio, New York City, Washington D.C. and Chicago.
President of the Notre Dame Alumni Association Board of Directors Erin O’Connor French ’81 happens to be a very proud Texan, and he has issued an exciting statement to all Fighting Irish fans who plan on traveling to DFW, letting them know that he can’t wait to share plenty of authentic “North Texas hospitality with y’all.” Along with the Notre Dame Clubs of Dallas and Fort Worth, the Alumni Association has one hell of a weekend planned out, including academic lectures, a community service project, celebration of a traditional game day Mass, an impressive array of speakers at the Friday football luncheon, several social gatherings and, last but not least, every Texan’s favorite pastime: football.
Here are the highlights:
Thursday, October 3:
12:00-6:00 p.m. The ND Bookstore Satellite Store opens at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel (200 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX). The official Shamrock Series Hospitality Desk will also open in the main lobby of the Worthington Renaissance at this time. Fans can stop by to pick up a printed out weekend guide and ask any questions they may have about upcoming events or the area in general.
9:00 p.m.-Closing Time The Notre Dame Young Alumni of Dallas will host their much-anticipated Bar Night at British Beverage Co. in Uptown Dallas (2800 Routh Street, Dallas, TX). Drink specials, delicious Tex-Mex treats and a party all night long under the high and wide Texas sky awaits all local young alums, friends and fellow fans. This is definitely the place to be for all those arriving early enough to kick the weekend off in style. If you’re feeling lucky, you can even plan to gear up in officially licensed Shamrock Series gear and signed copies of the brand new behind-the-scenes book “Life as the Notre Dame Leprechaun” raffled off throughout the night.
Friday, October 4:
8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. The ND Bookstore Satellite Store and Shamrock Series Hospitality Desk will remain open at the Worthington Renaissance.
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. The weekend’s first academic event sponsored by the University of Notre Dame College of Science will take place at the Worthington Renaissance. This lecture is free and open to the public.
11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The Official Notre Dame Football Luncheon at the Worthington Renaissance Ballroom will feature yours truly signing copies of my book “Life as the Notre Dame Leprechaun” at the entrance prior to an impressive program beginning promptly at noon. Notre Dame Club of Dallas president Brian Tierney ’93 will welcome the crowd, followed by an invocation by university president Fr. John Jenkins C.S.C. After lunch is served, Director of Media Productions for Fighting Irish Digital Media Jack Nolan will emcee a series of speeches and interviews. Guests of honor include Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick ’76, Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Brown ’88, recipient of what Fighting Irish fans refer to as “the catch” that won Notre Dame the 1973 national championship over Alabama Robin Weber ’76 and Head Coach of the 2013 Fighting Irish Brian Kelly. To conclude the event, the Fighting Irish Pep Band will perform the Fight Song and Alma Mater. Items raffled off include footballs signed by several former Fighting Irish star players and custom pairs of ND-branded cowboy boots. Yee haw!
2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. All are welcome to join the service project at Catholic Charities of Fort Worth (249 Thornhill Drive, Fort Worth, TX). In 1842, Notre Dame’s founder Fr. Edward Sorin envisioned a university that would become “a powerful force for good” in this world. Students, alumni and fans will do their part to keep that vision alive by volunteering to completely refurbish the 24-hour, 40-bed assessment center at CCFW that provides a safe, nurturing and temporary home for at-risk children ages 17 and under. CCFW also offers medical, dental, psychological, educational, recreational and psychiatric services in a healing environment. For those of you truly dedicated to bringing the impact of this weekend well beyond the football field, here is your chance to lend an hour or two to the cause.
3:00-4:30 p.m. Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters will host a free public academic event at the Worthington Renaissance. The roundtable discussion is titled,“Latinos and the Future of America.”
4:45-5:45 p.m. The Band of the Fighting Irish will perform a full concert at General Worth Square (9th and Main Street, Fort Worth, TX).
6:00 p.m. The Leprechaun and cheerleaders will begin their Step-Off Parade to the Pep-Rally (4th and Main Street, Fort Worth, TX).
6:15-7:00 p.m. The official Notre Dame Football Pep-Rally will take place at the final destination of the Step-Off Parade back at General Worth Square (9th and Main Street, Fort Worth, TX).
8:00-11:00 p.m. The Young Alumni of Fort Worth will host their own bar night, complete with more mouth-watering Tex-Mex appetizers and drink specials, at the Flying Saucer (111 E. 3rd Street, Fort Worth, TX).
Saturday, Oct. 5 (Game Day):
8:00-11:00 a.m. The ND Bookstore Satellite Store and Shamrock Series Hospitality Desk will remain open at the Worthington Renaissance.
10:00 a.m. A public celebration of game day Mass will take place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (1206 Throckmorton Street). University president Fr. Jenkins C.S.C. will be the celebrant.
1:00 p.m. The AT&T Stadium parking lots will open, giving Fighting Irish fans from far and wide the opportunity to show North Texas what a transplanted Midwestern tailgate looks like.
2:30-5:30 p.m. The official Notre Dame Alumni Association tailgate will take place at Fishbone Grill directly across the street from AT&T Stadium (816 N. Collins Street). More information regarding this ticketed event can be found at gameday.nd.edu.
3:45-4:30 p.m. The Band of the Fighting Irish will perform at AT&T West Plaza. This event is open to all game ticket holders.
4:30 p.m. AT&T Stadium will open its gates. Fans will get a chance to enjoy the spectacle that locals refer to as “Jerry World” while wearing green and showing North Texas just how well Notre Dame fans travel for their team.
Enjoy! As always, feel free to tweet at me (@TheNDleprechaun) or leave comments below regarding can't-miss events that I may have missed!