Kennedy Carey’s family is of Irish descent, so they’ve always talked about taking a trip to Ireland.
Due to Kennedy’s football career, the Careys had the opportunity to travel to the Emerald Isle.
Kennedy Carey and fellow La Salle-Peru alumnus Max Uranich and their families traveled to Ireland with the Augustana College football team.
“It was awesome,” Carey said. “My parents went with me so I got to experience it with them. “It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The people were awesome. The scenery was awesome. I put a lot of stock into stuff like that. My dad always talks about Ireland because he went when he was 19. It was really cool to see it for the first time.”
The Vikings spent eight days abroad with stops in Dublin and Galway in Ireland and Belfast in Northern Ireland.
“It was the first time I’ve ever been out of the country,” Uranich said. “It was definitely something I’ll never forget. It was different but wasn’t like a different planet. There were some similarities between there and the States.
“It was more of a social culture. It felt a little more welcoming.”
Carey said his favorite part of the trip was the time in Galway, a city of about 80,000 people on the west coast of Ireland.
“Our favorite place as a consensus on the team was Galway,” Carey said. “From there we went to see the Cliffs of Moher. That was really awesome. Galway was a big town but it didn’t feel like you were in a huge town. You’d just walk down cobblestone streets with stores lining each side. I thought it was an awesome place.”
Uranich said he really enjoyed the Cliffs of Moher, which attract more than 1.5 million visitors per year. The cliffs, which are located on the southwestern edge of the country, are as high as 700 feet at their highest point.
“You could get right up to the edge of the cliffs. In America they would definitely have stuff like that closed off,” Uranich said. “Other than having a good time with teammates and my family, as far as Ireland and the sites and views, the cliffs were my favorite part.”
The trip wasn’t all about sightseeing. The Vikings played a game as well.
Augustana shut out the Belfast Trojans in a game May 25.
“The game was awesome,” said Carey, a quarterback who ran for a score in the game. “It wasn’t like any regular game I’ve ever played. It was more like a practice. The guys on the other team were very friendly. After the game we swapped jerseys. We talked to the guys from the opposing team for probably two hours after the game. They were very courteous to us. They don’t really know a ton about American football. One of the guys even asked us if we were sending any guys to the league (NFL). They were curious on how to better themselves and curious about the game. You could tell they had a genuine passion for it.”
Uranich, who caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the game, said both sides took positives away from the game.
“We were both really grateful for the experience,” Uranich said. “We were grateful to see a new country and they were grateful to see football because they told us after the game they learned a lot playing us. It’s not their main sport. Their main sports are soccer and rugby.”
Uranich said the trip was a good bonding experience for the Vikings, who take an international trip every three years.
“I think one of the main reasons the college has us go on the trip is team bonding,” Uranich said. “You’re with each other all day every day for eight days seeing a whole new country together.
“It was great.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.