Notre Dame moves 2023 home football game with Navy to Dublin, Ireland

Eric Hansen
ND Insider
Notre Dame is moving its 2023 home football game with Navy to Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, after the 2020 season opener in Ireland between the two teams was canceled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

SOUTH BEND — Pandemic-permitting, Notre Dame and Navy are moving one of their future football matchups to Ireland.

And this time, it’s an ND home game.

The Fighting Irish will open the 2023 season at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, against the Midshipmen on Aug. 26. The 2023 game was originally penciled in for Nov. 11, 2023.

It will be the first Notre Dame home football game staged outside the United States and the first college football game televised by NBC to originate outside of the U.S.

Making an Ireland game a reality became a priority for the two programs after the scheduled 2020 meeting there for a Navy home game with ND became a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The original 2020 season opener for both teams was first shifted to Annapolis, Md., because of pandemic-related travel restrictions, then scratched all together as Notre Dame pivoted to a mostly ACC schedule with just one non-conference game, an impromptu home matchup with South Florida.

ND vs. Navy:Notebook: Freshman RB Logan Diggs helps keep surging Notre Dame O-line in line

ND Recruiting:Q&A: New Notre Dame LB commitment Drayk Bowen shares why he picked the Irish

The 2023 clash will be the third ND-Navy game staged in Ireland, following a 1996 game at Croke Park in Dublin and a 2012 contest at Aviva Stadium. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide another opportunity for our team and fans to experience the culture and hospitality of Ireland,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement.

“This trip overseas continues to strengthen our academic and athletic presence around the globe. Bringing a Notre Dame football home game atmosphere to Ireland has been a goal of ours, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Naval Academy to make it happen.”

The two schools had played 93 consecutive seasons, which was the longest intersectional rivalry in college football, until the cancelation interrupted the series.

“I did not appreciate when we started down this road how much more challenging it was to relocate a home game than to be the visitor on a trip like this.'' added Swarbrick at a press conference Friday morning.

“I just want to say Ireland is so excited to host the energy and the passion and the sportsmanship of Notre Dame and Navy in Dublin in 2023,'' said Ireland Consul Genral Kevin Byrne at the press conference. "We know that tens of thousands of fans were disappointed they couldn’t travel in 2020 because of the pandemic. We’re so grateful to Jack at Notre Dame and Chet (athletic director Chet Gladchuk) at Navy for working so hard to make this happen.

“This game is the second game in the Ireland College Football Classic series which will see a college football game take place in Dublin every year for the next five years. We want fans to think of Ireland as the home of college football in Europe. As Notre Dame knows from 2012, Dublin just doesn’t host a game; Dublin is going to embrace the game and embrace the fans.''

Notre Dame (7-1), No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the first set of CFP rankings, hosts Navy (2-6) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT at Notre Dame Stadium in meeting No. 94. The Irish then play Navy in the 2022 matchup (Nov. 12) in Baltimore, the city in which the two teams played for the first time, in 1927.

Notre Dame leads the series 79-13-1 and has won three in a row over the Mids.

“The past year and a half have been challenging for us all in Ireland and the United States, said Taoiseach (Ireland Prime Minister) Micheál Martin. "Today’s announcement that Notre Dame will play its first-ever home game in Ireland against Navy is extremely exciting and welcome news.

“The movement of this game to Ireland will provide a significant boost to our tourism and hospitality industries. We will have a very special welcome ready for the teams and supporters of Notre Dame and Navy when they visit us for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in August 2023.”

Follow ND Insider Eric Hansen on Twitter: @EHansenNDI