As my Aer Lingus flight was queued for take-off, the pilot came on and said, “I just wanted to let you know, Gold for Katie. Gold for Ireland”. And that was it, with that one simple statement, the entire plane erupted into cheer as this was the first gold for Ireland in the games and I immediately knew it was going to be madness when I arrived at the Irish House. As expected, the Irish House had a massive queue and once inside, it felt like an inferno. Luckily, I headed over straight from the airport and was carrying all my worldly possessions so I changed into something a little bit more temperature appropriate right in the middle of the bar (not the first time I’ve done this in public or the last as I’ve had enough practice where I can do this without any of the naughty bits being revealed). My actions were greeted with a stern lecture from an older lady while being applauded by my own generation for taking charge and being comfortable!
Aside from my little exhibitionist display, the entire place was buzzing as there was a rumour floating around like a butterfly that Katie Taylor was going to be headed to the Irish House. The entire room kept chanting, “Katie, Katie, Katie” as we watched her give interviews and people mistakenly thought they had seen her in the building and instigated a mad rush to the door to greet the Irish hero of the hour. The drinks were flowing freely as the excitement and merriment was through the roof. The heat, however, was getting me down but leaving meant there was no getting back into the joint so we did the only sane thing, beelined for the rooftop terrace. I was just looking for a cool breeze but soon discovered that this is where the VIP lived and knew of Katie’s arrival time into the Irish House.
This was Day 1 of my Olympic journey and by all accounts a smashing success. A good time was had by all as I made new Irish friends and reunited with old ones. By the end of the night I was hungry (after all, a burnt cheese toastie was all this young lass consumed all day) and tired but totally ecstatic that I was at the Irish House on such a big night for Ireland. As for Katie Taylor – lady is total class as she did indeed make it out to greet her adoring fans that night.