The recent Rugby World Cup reminded me how much I love rugby, and used to enjoy attending international matches at the old Lansdowne Road stadium in the pre-Celtic-Tiger days of the mid-1980s.
A bus-load of teenage rugby players would head up to Dublin and be released somewhere in Ballsbridge for a day. We’d sneak off for a pint or two at Crowe’s Pub (removing our school ties and tying our crested uniform jumpers around our waists in order to look a little less underage — or just huddling under a thick jacket if the weather was cold), usually meeting up with older brothers and other past pupils also going to the match. Then we’d stroll towards the stadium along the Dodder, and enter through what now seems like very low-tech turn-stiles. Read the rest of this entry »