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Nittany Lions Complete Busy First Day in Ireland

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Photo Gallery - Ireland Day One

DUBLIN, Ireland - It was a whirlwind 24-hour period for the Nittany Lions as they journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for Saturday's season-opener against UCF (8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2) in Ireland.

Penn State's journey to Dublin began on Tuesday night, and the team did not see its hotel until dinnertime on Wednesday. followed the Nittany Lions every step of the way. Take a look at a busy day of travel with the team.

8:13 p.m. ET (Tuesday Night) - Buses Depart State College
The first wave of staff buses pulled out of the Bryce Jordan Center parking lot just before 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening to begin the first leg of the travel to Europe. The players and coaches followed the staff buses with a 9 p.m. departure from the Lasch Football Complex after Tuesday afternoon's practice.

irelandblog_1.jpg10 p.m. ET (Tuesday Night) - Arrival at Harrisburg
The first set of buses arrived at the main terminal of the Harrisburg International Airport at 10 p.m. Each member of the more than 300 in the travel party visited the United desk inside the terminal for passport verification and the reception of a printed boarding pass.

irelandblog_2.jpg 12:01 a.m. ET (Tuesday Night) - Flight Departs the USA
Just after midnight, the United Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet backed away from Gate B6 in Harrisburg. The jet had spent the day traveling from Tokyo to Chicago and then to Harrisburg before transporting the Nittany Lions to Ireland. The jet itself was a tremendous aircraft featuring two levels, 180-degree seats in three of its cabins and a total of 370 passenger seats in 60 rows.

irelandblog_3.jpgirelandblog_4.jpg11:09 a.m. IST (Wednesday) - Touch Down In Dublin
The charter flight touched down at Dublin Airport just after 11:09 a.m. IST. From there, the party deplaned and collected luggage before working through customs and boarding a total of eight tour buses. Head coach James Franklin took a few minutes to meet the media before the squad left the airport to talk about the team's overnight travel.


12:15 p.m. IST - 3 p.m. IST - Travel Party Visits Croke Park
With the eight tour buses and luggage packed, the group traveled to Croke Park Stadium for a welcome reception and buffet lunch. Following lunch, the group dispersed for a tour of the facility. The players had the opportunity to see the Dublin skyline from the roof of Croke Park, walk on the pitch and visit the locker rooms.    

irelandblog_7.jpgirelandblog_8.jpgirelandblog_10.jpgirelandblog_9.jpg4:30 p.m. IST - Practice at University College Dublin
After the visit to Croke Park Stadium, the team travel party drove approximately 30 minutes to the Penn State practice site for the week at University College Dublin. The Lions conducted a normal "Thursday" practice session, according to Coach Franklin.

irelandblog_11.jpgirelandblog_12.jpg6:20 p.m. IST - Media Interviews After Practice
At the conclusion of Wednesday's practice session, Franklin and a host of players visited with 28 members of the media who attended the last portion of practice. More than 20 of the 28 media members in attendance traveled from Pennsylvania to cover the Nittany Lions during their trip to Dublin.

7:15 p.m. IST - Hotel Check In and Dinner
The busy first day across the pond ended at the Powerscourt Hotel when the Nittany Lions held a team meal and checked into their home during the trip.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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