The New York Times

A Cheapskate's Guide to Dublin, Rich in History and Beer

My instructor, a woman named Áine, urged me on: “Do it for your country!” A group of us that had booked a traditional Irish games experience through Experience Gaelic Games (35 euros, about $42) stood out on a green field one hot afternoon in northern Dublin. Áine, having taught us the ways of hurling, a lacrosse-like game possibly as old as Ireland itself, was now instructing us in the ways of Gaelic football, which is played with a soccer ball-like orb. My immediate task: to juggle the ball off my foot while running toward a pair of goal posts, and then punt it through the uprights. My country, I thought, is about to be mighty disappointed.

I dribbled the ball once and continued running. I awkwardly bounced the ball off the top of my foot, somehow managing to catch it, then ran a few more steps and … booted the ball far to the left of the posts and into an adjacent field. Áine was kind about the whole thing. “Well, maybe you’re better off going lefty,” she teased. In the field where my ball landed, Conor McHugh, an amateur player, was calmly kicking goal after

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