Shane Lowry's Open Championship
Happy Friday! Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe your thing is yoga, meditation, running, paddle boarding, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, paddle boarding, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends, but whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.
If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “dublin to Royal Portrush” - you can click here to read about my 2 AM wake up and journey to Portrush, Northern Ireland from Dublin. Otherwise, as promised, let’s spend the day at Royal Portrush Golf Club for the 148th Open Championship!
When I first arrived at Royal Portrush, courtesy of a nice walk from the train, I was blown away by the massive size of the event. People from all over Ireland (and elsewhere in the world) had journeyed over in order to watch Irishman Shane Lowry potentially win it all in Northern Ireland. I found my way to the gate, stopped to take a photo for an Irish man and his young son, and made my way inside after they kindly returned the favor. My first stop was the gift shop where I purchased myself a pink hat because I wanted it, I had forgotten to bring one with me, and I have beautiful pale skin that does not enjoy too much sunlight. A quick side note I wanted to include is that the Open actually had branded metal water bottles for purchase (for ~$8) and refillable water stations all over the course. I wanted to highlight this fact because it was such a brilliant way for the organization to cut down on plastic waste. I hope it's something that other PGA tournaments all adopt in the future.
I decided to walk my way around the course, starting at Hole #1, stopping wherever I found a golfer I liked (like, c’mon, who doesn’t love Matt Kuchar?!), and taking in the beautiful coastal scenery and greenery of Royal Portrush. I enjoyed a few hours of truly beautiful weather…. and then the rain came. And not just any rain, mind you - torrential downpour. I had come prepared in the material sense with my raincoat but not mentally for what can only be described as the skies opening up. Play kept on, and golfers put on their rain gear, battling the downpour and wind of (Northern) Irish weather.
I, very bravely I might add, tried to watch outside for as long as I could. After I could no longer stand the pain of the raindrops pelting into my face, I found my way and hid inside the tent of the women’s bathrooms. I spent about 20 minutes under cover, warming back up and getting semi-dry, before heading back out towards hole #18. By the time I made it to 18, a crowd had already started to gather to welcome in and cheer on Shane Lowry. I was fortunate in that I found a good spot where I could see everything going on, but it only got more packed as time crawled on.
When Shane Lowry approached the tee and hit his first shot, the crowd went absolutely crazy. And it never died down. Pausing its roar only when shots were taken, it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There was a swelling undercurrent of pride - for Shane Lowry; for a local, well-known Irish guy on the main stage; for an Irishman about to win The Open Championship in Northern Ireland on British land. The emotions were as strong and as volatile as the day’s weather. When Shane sank his putt to seal his win, it was a celebration unlike any other I’ve ever seen. The crowds cheered, they sang “The Fields of Athenry,” people hugged, and there was a strong sense of unity and Irish pride. When the ceremony ended, crowning Shane Lowry the champion, the cheering continued, and people celebrated throughout the country.
I left Royal Portrush feeling that sense of pride, as well, seeing Irishman Shane Lowry win The British Open on land that used to belong to Ireland. It’s a long, complicated history that made his win so powerful and so much larger than himself, but it’s a history that continues on in many ways still. It’s an event - from the 2 AM wakeup to the late night bedtime - that I will never forget. I doubt the pubs ran dry, but if there were ever a night where they could, it was the night Irishman Shane Lowry won the British Open in Northern Ireland.
Have you ever gone to a sporting event that felt like it was so much more than just a sport? Let me know! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres/lookout spots you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.
P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of travel adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):
55. 13.1 in Dublin
70. the Kingsroad
75. Dear Nana
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