With the start of the fall semester comes the inevitable questions of “How was your summer? What did you do?” Well, members of the Rensselaer field hockey team have a lot to say in response. After all, the Engineers were lucky enough to travel through Belfast in Northern Ireland and into Dublin in the Republic of Ireland for nine days in the middle of August.
The team not only experienced the beauty of the Emerald Isle, it visited sites of historical and political significance and participated in friendly competition against various clubs that offered an early view into how the team was developing. The student-athletes trained with a coach considered to be one of the top five in Ireland and they worked, learned, and played together in a setting that allowed them to grow closer together.
Following a seven-hour flight, the Engineers landed in Ireland and headed to Newcastle for a view of the Irish Sea and Mourne Mountains. They also visited the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity and a nearby graveyard in which St. Patrick is buried, as well as the Irish Parliament called Stormont.
On the second day, the team took part in a competition against the Dromore Ladies at Lisnagarvey, a club team made up of college-aged women. “We ended up losing 2-1, but we played a very good game,” said Sage Foley ’11. “It was an awesome experience to play a team in a different country. Members of the Lisnagarvey Club made a delicious dinner and dessert for us following the game.”
The trip continued along a similar pattern as there was no shortage of sites to be seen, including the Carrick-a-rede, a thin rope bridge; Giant’s Causeway, a collection of rocks that have very peculiar formations because of heating and cooling from volcanoes; and the famous Dunluce Castle, a medieval fortress built on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking the ocean.
Upon arriving in Dublin, they saw Trinity College, various monuments, old churches, the president’s house, and parks. The teammates also learned about the architecture and history behind certain buildings throughout the city.
“We knew training abroad would help to give us an advantage over our competitors by allowing us to train for additional time prior to pre-season, while we grew closer with the experiences we were able to share together,” said ninth-year head coach Bridget LaNoir ’99, who led the trip.
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