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Home of the Fighting Irish

Home of the Fighting Irish

Depart from outside the Eck Visitors Center and use the Notre Dame Avenue sidewalk to proceed towards the Golden Dome. Listen to the narration as you walk. The tour is timed to match with a moderate walking pace.

Narration by Fr. Nate Wills, C.S.C.

This segment features the song “Victory” by the O'Neill Brothers and ends with a clip of The Band of the Fighting Irish performing The Victory March.

Welcome to the University of Notre Dame. This tour will walk you through a campus steeped in legend and tradition.

Begin by walking towards the Golden Dome, which is to your left as you depart the Eck Center. As you walk next to the main drive, you’ll pass a number of buildings. Across the street from the Eck Visitors Center and behind you to the right stands Nanovic Hall, a social sciences building, and Jenkins Hall, which houses Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and was named in honor of Father John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s current president. Under Father Jenkins’ leadership, Notre Dame has significantly increased its international reach and influence while doubling down on its commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and building a reputation as a preeminent research institution -- all in the context of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. Also on that side of the street, you’ll pass Stinson-Remick Hall of Engineering and the McKenna Hall Conference Center (currently under construction). On your side of the road, you’ll see residence halls and the University hotel, the Morris Inn. Just past this hotel, the main drive ends in a circle—this is your destination for the first leg of this tour.

Many people know Notre Dame as the home of the Fighting Irish, where football teams have won national championships under coaching legends from Knute Rockne to Lou Holtz, but our reputation as an international research university shines even brighter than our glories on the gridiron. World-renowned faculty pioneer new breakthroughs here and mentor some of the brightest students on the globe. This is a Catholic university known around the world as a place where people pursue excellence.

Here at Notre Dame, the excellence we strive for reflects a hopefulness and resilience that fights through adversity. As our alma mater proclaims, the spirit of the Fighting Irish is, like Mary our Mother, “tender, strong, and true.”

The nickname “Fighting Irish” was used by opposing fans in the 1920s to insult Knute Rockne’s football players. The student body was largely composed of children of European immigrants from places like Ireland and Poland and Italy, among others. This was also a time when Ireland was struggling for independence from British rule, and the rebellion was in the news. The nickname was far from a compliment, but as the team continued to win, players and students alike embraced this underdog identity and wore the “Fighting Irish” name with pride, both on and off the field.

Like the immigrants it served, the University of Notre Dame began as an outsider—poor, but filled with faith. The founders of the University relied upon God because often they had nothing else to go on. When outbreaks of malaria and cholera killed scores of students and faculty, and a fire nearly destroyed everything, the Notre Dame family relied upon God and found hope—hope that strengthened it not only to stand fast in adversity.

The hope-filled resilience that lies at the core of Notre Dame comes from the Congregation of Holy Cross, a community of priests, brothers, and sisters who founded and built the University. These religious continue to animate campus today, and the mission of their community is to bring hope. Two figures most responsible for making Notre Dame what it is today were both Holy Cross priests—Father Edward Sorin and Father Theodore Hesburgh. You’ll learn more about them as we walk through campus.

This tour will introduce you to the University and to the people who made it what it is today: an institution that fights adversity with hope and pursues excellence in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the world.

Continue walking towards the golden-domed Main Building. When you reach the end of the main drive, you’ll see a large circle where people are being picked up and dropped off. A statue of Mary stands in the middle, welcoming everyone to the heart of campus. Begin the next segment of the tour anywhere along the sidewalk around this circle.