Clarets fans jailed in Ireland

Kilmainham Jail

The news broke via our message board that evening, although at the time there was no confirmation. On the following day our own club were initially suggesting there was nothing in it but further contacts in Ireland were already confirming it for us and the wheels were in motion for what must have eventually been over 300 Burnley fans to get to Dublin for a game against Eircom League team Bohemians.

Trains and boats and planes, along with the hurriedly arranged Supporters' Club coach, were filling up with Clarets and we were satisfied with our own arrangements that would see us fly from Manchester just after 8:00 a.m. on the Friday and arrive back there some 37 hours later.

Everything went to plan, almost, I was collected from home at 4:45 a.m. and with the flight on time we were touching down in Dublin around 9:00 a.m. That's when the problems started. We got into town and got our first view of O'Connell Street and then decided to be tourists and take in some of the attractions.

Príosún Chill Mhaighneann was the destination, or to us Kilmainham Jail. Apparently all we had to do was walk down O'Connell Street, cross the River Liffy and then turn right and walk a short distance. Now some people walk quicker than others and some are able to walk further than others. What was believed to be a 10-15 minute stroll (or so I was told) proved to be way off the scale as we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. Some hour and a half or so later we finally made it.

I won't spoil it for anyone who is planning a trip to Dublin, but if you've seen the original Italian Job or U2's video for 'A Celebration' then you might just have seen the jail. It really is well worth a visit and with a €5.30 entrance it doesn't break the bank. We were trapped in the jail for at least an hour along with an excellent guide, learning the history of Kilmainham and of all those who perished there. It certainly had you leaving determined to be law abiding.

Tired and weary from the walk and the tour for those who struggle with long distance, there's a pub right across the road and they were very welcoming. And refreshed I can assure you the journey back into town was somewhat smoother and quicker, by bus.

Our first view of Dalymount Park

Eventually with the feet unable to take much more a small breakaway group got to the hotel in mid afternoon and after an hour's rest decided to looking for Dalymount Park. Thankfully a six minute walk was enough to get us there.

What a welcome we got. We had a stroll inside the ground speaking to one or two people already there. One Bohs fan asked if I'd ever seen Jimmy McIlroy play, he was overcome when I said I'd seen him a couple of days earlier.

The welcome wasn't quite the same a couple of hours earlier. A visit to a nearby hostelry to meet up with Irish based members of Eli's went well and we all walked back up to Dalymount for the game.

There we were met by an overkill of police, some with dogs, barriers erected to ensure we were channelled through towards the turnstiles and before I reached them I'd been searched twice and had my bag searched twice. It was very much like being back in the 1970s.

Inside I have to commend the fish and chips although I'm not sure I could speak quite so well of the ninety minutes football I saw, a game which has already been reported by Simon Doyle.

The end of the game saw the wonderful welcome return and we were all invited into the bars on the opposite side of the ground. The Bohs fans really were pleased to see us and they made superb hosts and after a few drinks there it was time for the short stroll back to the hotel after a long, long day.

A route march, banged up in a jail, searched twice by the police, feet ready to drop off, a lack of decent football - and this was supposed to be a holiday.