A little bit of March Madness

A little bit of March Madness

So here I am trying to figure out American football, college football and their weird terminology for proper football (soccer) and up comes a few weekends of non stop college basketball that I know is called March Madness. Yes it’s all about the National Championship but it also about brackets, the art of predictions.

image
March Madness Basketball

The whole idea of brackets is to predict the whole tournament from the last 64 to the final champion. Teams are seeded and that should help but this is a knockout tournament and favourites get knocked out, just ask Number 2 seed Michigan State who were a lot of peoples choice to win the whole thing. Middle Tennessee had other ideas and the number 15 seed send the highly fancied number 2 seed packing in the first round. (Sorry honey but it had to be mentioned). My wife is a Spartan, and as such they are also my adopted team team, sure it’s even in site address for blog!

image
Spartans bench look on as they crash out of March Madness

A few other highly fancied teams fell early but as the tournament hots up to the Sweet 16 this weekend I expect to see less shocks, Middle Tennessee couldn’t repeat their heroics of their victory over Michigan State and were promptly knocked out in the next round. My bracket started off well, I was even ahead of the wife for a while, but it soon came crashing apart and I only have 9 teams left in the final 16. Hoping against hope the 6 that can make it to the final 8 do their job as it would nice to have some interest going into the final four weekend.

image
My March Madness Bracket

So sport here is a while different ball game, excuse the pun, to at home. College football gets huge crowds and has massive investment, college basketball is no different. Now if only a tiny percentage of Irish businesses or media took the same interest in sport at home maybe Irish sport could expand its fan base. Highly unlikely but one can alwaya dream. March Madness is on TV for the whole weekend, every game is shown live and available for free on live streaming. Walk into nearly any bar and it will be showing all the matches live.

image
TV coverage is widespread of all games

NCAA app allows all games to be streamed live, compare that to at home where only for a few lads doing commentary for St Pats matches I would have to rely on Livescore apps or Twitter for updates. I know I can get some feeds from the Internet but the quality is terrible. As a sport watching hgan, either live or on tv, I will enjoy learning the various sports and competitions here and always keep an eye on sport back home in Ireland.

Advertisements

A few photos from home (Ireland)

A few photos from home (Ireland)

Today’s post is just a few photos from Ireland, in particular Dublin and Inchicore for today, that I have taken over the years. I will do this every couple of weeks to help give a favour of Dublin and Inchicore and eventually Atlanta. I start with some photos that I have posted to Instagram or Twitter over the years.

image
Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge 

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens was just across the road from where I lived in Kilmainham and it was where I spent so many hours walking my dog and relaxing. Whether it rained, snowed or the sun shines, it was always beautiful.

image
Oliver St John Gogartys Pub in Temple Bar 

Gogartys Pub in Temple Bar is one of the most popular tourist pubs in Dublin and one where I have met friends from around the globe and shared a drink or two.

image
Views of the Botanical Gardens in Dublin 

Another little gem for walking around is the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin. Plants and flowers decorate the pathways and it’s beautiful year round.

image
Inchicore Village 

Inchicore Village is where I grew up and spent most of my adult life until my move to the states in November 2015. The pub on the corner was my favourite place to have Sunday roast dinner and a pint or two.

image
GPO, Dublin 

The GPO is one of the most iconic buildings in Dublin and it’s place in Irish history is insured by what happened over Easter 1916. It has been the focal point of commemorations most Easters and will be again this year for the Centenary.

image
Houses in Inchicore 

This is a typical row of houses around Inchicore Railway works and is nearly the same as the road I lived on for 13 years.

image
Entrance to Kilmainham Gaol 

Another very historic landmark in Dublin and I was lucky enough to live beside it, Kilmainham Gaol was where the 1916 leaders were executed by the British and public opinion about the rising started to change because of these executions.

image
St. James’s Gate, Home to Guinness 

Ah the home of the Black Stuff, Guinness. St. James’s Gate has been the home to Guinness since 1759 and as a child I can remember the smell of the hops being used in the brewing process coming across Inchicore.

image
Richmond Park, St. Patrick’s Athletic 

The wall outside Richmond Park, home of St. Patrick’s Athletic, my football team. I have supported them all my life and now instead of attending and photographing matches every Fri from March till November, I will be relying on Twitter updates and hopefully the odd TV coverage.

image
Ha’penny Bridge 

Another icon of Dublin. The Ha’penny Bridge over the River Liffey. The bridge is a pedestrian crossing over the river and is 200 years old.

image
US Ambassadors Residence 

The ambassador to Ireland from the USA has a residence in the a Phoenix Park, again a stones throw from where I lived. The house is the former residence to the Chief Secretary to Ireland from Britain. The embassy itself is in Ballsbridge. The ambassadors residence is only a few hundred yards from the entrance to Áras an Uachtharn in, home to the Irish President.

image
National Convention Center and Samuel Beckett Bridge 

The National Convention Center and the Samuel Beckett Bridge are two recent additions to the Dublin skyline and are great additions. Located down river near where the Liffey leaves Dublin to go into the Irish Sea since it’s erection the Samuel Beckett Bridge is becoming an icon of modern Dublin already.

image
Night Images of Dublin 

A few photos of Inchicore and a restaurant in Temple Bar at night. My local bar where many a goodbye were said before I left Ireland last November start my new life here in Atlanta and pathways I have walked my whole life.

image
GPO and Dublin Spire on O’Connell Street 

Dublin’s main street is O Connell Street and it’s here the GPO is located and just outside it is the Millennium Spire. Opened in 2003 and nearly 400ft tall it is visible from nearly all over the city center and is a handy landmark for tourists to help them find the center of Dublin.

I hope these photos help to give a small flavour of where I lived. I will add more over the coming weeks and months.

Welcome to St Pats to Spartans

Welcome to St Pats to Spartans

This site will become my journal. But before I begin I must fill in some back ground. Why the title?…..well I am 48 and from Inchicore in Dublin, Ireland and St Patrick’s Athletic FC were and still are my team. In November 2015 I moved to Decatur, GA to move in with and marry my sweetheart, Leanne, who hails from Michigan. She attended Michigan State, hence the Spartans are now my team here in the USA. St Pats to Spartans.

This blog will chart our journey from when we met in 2001 to the present day as well as our future together as we enjoy our lives and any challenges it brings from my perspective.

Photo courtesy of http://www.zedzay.com  Gretchen Dzedzej10So who are we? Well I am Billy and I will be your writer and guide throughout this blog. As I have said, I am 48 and born and bred in Dublin, Ireland and have recently moved to the USA to be with Leanne. She is a Michigan born girl who moved to Atlanta a number of years ago. The blog will go through how we met, kept in touch and will bring you on our journey to our wedding and onward as we embark on our life together.

But the blog will also chart my new life in America as I embark on a whole new chapter, from learning to navigate my way through supermarkets, paperwork, re learning to drive, getting set up with a job and learning a whole new culture and way of doing things.

So please join me and us on this, Our Journey Together and America though the eyes of an Irishman

Follow on Twitter @PatstoSpartans