Penn State Football Fans Book Ireland Tours for Croke Park Classic
Local travel agents have been busy booking Ireland tours for Penn State football fans interested in seeing Penn State play its first international game.
Penn State will be facing the University of Central Florida in August for the Croke Park Classic in Ireland.
Nittany Travel is offering an Ireland tour package that is nearly sold out, mostly through word of mouth, according to agency owner Ray McGill.
"It's all about the game and the touring in Ireland. That's really where it's at. That's the draw," McGill says.
The Nittany Travel package includes a round-trip flight out of Newark, N.J. on Aug. 27 with a hotel stay for six nights, including some meals, before departing Sept. 3. Game tickets are available separately.
The package starts at $2,689 per person. Initially there were 50 seats available, but only a few remain, McGill says.
Centre for Travel in State College offered several Ireland packages to coincide with the Croke Park Classic. All packages – more than 700 seats – sold out roughly two months ago, according to agency owner Kay Rogers.
"It's because first of all people like Ireland, number one, and since there is the game, they thought 'we'll do two things at one time,'" Rogers says. "Rumors were around saying that we may be playing in a different place, to give the football players a nice incentive, and now that we have the new coach people are interested in that as well."
The Aug. 30 will be the first international contest for both schools. The game will kick at 1:30 p.m. in Dublin; 8:30 a.m. local time, and will air on ESPN2, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.
Croke Park is the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The Penn State game will be the eighth American college football game in Ireland and the first at Croke Park since 1996.