Fighting Irish Overview

Fast facts

League: NCAA Football

Head Coach: Marcus Freeman

Team Mascot: Notre Dame Leprechaun

Year Opened: 1930

Capacity: 77622

City / State: South Bend / Indiana

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

Notre Dame vs USC

Rival Team: USC Trojans

The Notre Dame and USC rivalry feature two of the most decorated college football programs as these two schools have combined for 22 national championships. Traditionally these two meet on the third Saturday of October when the game is played at Notre Dame and have met every year since 1926 when the Irish narrowly defeated the Trojans 13-12. The Jeweled Shillelagh was added to the rivalry in 1952, and Notre Dame leads the all-time series 45-35-5. The Irish will look to extend their lead when these two teams meet this season.

Notre Dame vs Navy

Rival Team: Navy MIdshipmen

Notre Dame and Navy had met every year since 1927 when Notre Dame took down the Midshipmen 19 to 6. Victories have been few and far between for Navy since the 1960s as the Irish won every matchup from 1964 to 2006. The Irish hope to develop a new streak as they’ve won the last four.

Notre Dame vs Michigan

Rival Team: Michigan Wolverines

The Irish and Wolverines are the two winningest programs in college football history and as such their rivalry has been fierce over the years. While the two teams first met in 1887 when the Wolverines beat the Irish 8-0, the two did not begin to play regularly until the 1980s. The Irish trail the all-time series 24-17-1 and will look to close the gap when these two teams meet next.

Notre Dame vs Michigan State

Rival Team: Michigan State Spartans

Notre Dame and Michigan State play for the Megaphone Trophy when they meet. The Irish and Spartans first met in 1897 when Notre Dame cruised to a 34-6 victory. One of the most famous meetings between these two came in 1966 when the two teams came into the game as number 1 and two in the nation respectively and left tied at 10-10. The Irish have gotten the best of the Spartans over the years and held a 48-28-1 all-time lead, which they hope to extend when these two teams meet in the future.

Fighting Irish Tailgate Guide


Notre Dame is home to arguably the best tailgate & atmosphere in the Midwest, if not the world.  South Bend may be a small town, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t put on quite the pregame party. Everyone here sets out early to get the most out of an Irish game day as set up begins as early as 8 am when the lots open. The students tend to arrive closer to kickoff and set up their tailgates alongside those of the alumni. The town lives and breathes Notre Dame football, and you’d struggle to find a more passionate fan base anywhere.

The fans are very hospitable here, and you’ll have no problem fitting in if you show up wearing blue, green, and gold. The tailgate at Notre Dame is rocking as you’ll surely find plenty of food and drinks to fill you up before the game. Fans at Notre Dame tend to provide the traditional tailgate fare as hot dogs, burgers, and brats are among the most popular food items here.  Grab some brews and some sausage before watching the Fighting Irish take down the opposition.


Team Mass and Walk

The Irish used to attend Mass at Sacred Heart Basilica before walking to the stadium. However, the tradition has changed a bit as the team now attends Mass on Friday. If you want to catch the Irish before the game, you still can as they now walk to the stadium from The Gug. Get to the game early if you want a chance to catch a glimpse of the Irish before they take the field.

play Watch video

Band Performances

There is a Bagpipe Concert at 11:30 in front of the Dome & the entire Band performs a concert with the Irish Guard at Bond Hall at 2 p.m. The band also leads the fans into the stadium before kickoff!

Knute Rockne Statue

The statue of this former Notre Dame head coach was unveiled on October 2, 2009, and gives the Notre Dame fans an excellent opportunity to relive their former glory. The Knute Rockne statue is a must-see for any Fighting Irish fan, so make sure to check it out during your visit.

Here Come The Irish

Every Thursday before game day weekend, Zahm House raises the “Here Comes The Irish” banner. You can see this while walking campus!

Golden Dome & Trumpets

The Golden Dome is one of the first things you’ll notice arriving on campus. It’s the tall, Golden Dome on top another Trumpets Under the Dome at 2:30 p.m., if you missed it on Friday.

play Watch video

Friday Tunnel Tour

Each football Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., fans are invited to walk through the very same North Tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium that players have for the past 81 years

Pep Rally

The entire student campus, band, players, and alumni partake in a huge pep rally before every game. It’s super loud, fun, and the perfect way to kick-off your Notre Dame weekend. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the JACC, on the Irish Green, or in the Stepan center, it’s something that HAS to be done!

play Watch video

Lou Holtz Statue

The statue of this former Notre Dame coach gives the fans the chance to relive the 1988 national championship season. Stop by and check it out before entering Notre Dame for the full Irish game day experience.


Notre Dame has a replica of the Grotto that's in Lourdes, France. We suggest to light a candle and make a small donation to wish your team to victory!

Midnight Drum Circle

At Midnight before Gameday, all the drummers from the band form a circle and put on a performance. Take a break from Legends and head on over!

play Watch video


The only on campus bar provides a great place to pregame and is only 100 yards from the stadium. The parking lot behind the bar also is also somewhere you should check out as it provides a good tailgating experience as well.

play Watch video

Where to tailgate

Fighting Irish Stadium Guide

In Game

Notre Dame fans are fervent supporters of their team and have an impressive sellout streak to prove it. Notre Dame Stadium has been at full capacity for every game since 1973. Even more impressively the streak would be just under a decade longer if a game in 1966 had not been rescheduled for Thanksgiving break when the students were gone. The sellout crowds at Notre Dame provide an excellent atmosphere, so make sure to be a part of it yourself.

There isn’t a bad seat in the house at Notre Dame as the single bowl layout provide excellent sight lines. No matter where you
’re sitting not only will you have a fantastic view, but you’ll also be part of the tremendous historical atmosphere of Notre Dame Stadium. The place oozes history and tradition as a trip to South Bend is sure to be an excellent memory for any college football fan.

Things to check out

Touchdown Jesus

One of the most famous features of Notre Dame Stadium is “Touchdown Jesus.” This mural on the Hesburgh Library entitled The World of Life overlooks the stadium from the north. The mural gets its nickname from the fact that it features Jesus with his arms raised in a position similar to the arms of a referee when a touchdown is signaled.

play Watch video

Play Like a Champion Today Sign

Take a tour of the stadium tunnel for a chance to see this famous sign. The famous sign is a huge part of the Notre Dame football and a must-see for anyone making the trip to Notre Dame Stadium.

Gold Helmets

Notre Dame’s helmets contain 23.9 karat gold causing them to shiny and a standout on the field. The helmets used to be painted by the students, however, that tradition has changed recently as now Hydro Graphics, INC provides the painting. The sight of the gold helmets on the field at Notre Dame Stadium is something to behold, so take it in when you get the chance visit Notre Dame Stadium.

play Watch video

The Leprechaun

The Leprechaun leads the Irish onto the field every game and leads the student section cheers. Look to The Leprechaun if you want to know what cheer is about to happen next.

play Watch video

The Jig

Everyone in the crowd joins arms does a jig when the band plays “Rake of Mallow.” Join in and dance along with the rest of the crowd to get into the game day spirit.

The Celtic

The whole student section moves together to the “Celtic Chant.” Sway back and forth with the crowd to join in on the fun.

play Watch video

Notre Dame, Our Mother

After every game, the Notre Dame players gather in the end zone near the student section and salute the crowd as everyone sings the alma mater “Notre Dame, Our Mother.” Make sure to stick around after the game and sing the alma mater to get the full Notre Dame game day experience.

play Watch video

1812 Overture

The Band plays the finale to the 1812 Overture between the third and fourth quarter as the fans wave their arms and make their fingers into the shape of a K for Irish coach Brian Kelly. This tradition is a great way to show off your Irish pride and show appreciation for coach Kelly.

Tunnel Entrance

Nothing gets Notre Dame Fans pumped up like hearing “Here come the Irish!" as the players storm the field from the tunnel!

play Watch video

The Irish Guard

The Irish Guard are 10 tall kilt-clad soldiers that lead the marching band onto the field by high-stepping to "Hike, Notre Dame." The Guard also raises the American flag to the "Star-Spangled Banner" and "America, the Beautiful." The Irish Guard is also known for their "Victory Clog" jig for Irish scores!

play Watch video

Push Ups

After every touchdown, the student section picks up one of their classmates, and does the 'score' in pushups!

play Watch video

Fight Songs

  1. The Notre Dame Victory Song

    Rally sons of Notre Dame:
    Sing her glory and sound her fame, Raise her Gold and Blue,
    And cheer with voices true:
    Rah, rah, for Notre Dame.
    We will fight in ev-ry game,
    Strong of heart and true to her name.
    We will ne’er forget her
    And will cheer her ever,
    Loyal to Notre Dame.
    Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
    Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
    Send a volley cheer on high,
    Shake down the thunder from the sky.
    What though the odds be great or small
    Old Notre Dame will win over all,
    While her loyal sons are marching Onward to victory.

  2. Hike, Notre Dame

    The march is on No brain or brawn, Can stop the charge of fighting men,
    Loud sings the cry, A grim defy,
    Of hard attack let loose again. O it’s hike, hike, hike to victory,
    The call to rise and strike,
    For Notre Dame men are winning, When Notre Dame hears hike, hike, hike.  

    Hark to the cheering
    Songs rising high, Hark, hark to the roar,
    As her ranks go marching by! Shoulder to shoulder, Chanting her glorious name, Burn high your fires,
    And sing along for Notre Dame.

  3. Notre Dame, Our Mother

    Alma Mater

    Notre Dame, our Mother
    Tender, strong and true
    Proudly in the heavens,
    Gleams thy gold and blue.
    Glory’s mantle cloaks thee
    Golden is thy fame,
    And our hearts forever,
    Praise thee, Notre Dame.
    And our hearts forever,
    Love thee, Notre Dame.

  4. When Irish Go Marching By

    Rah! Rah! Rah! Up! Notre Dame men answer the cry
    Gathering foemen fling to the sky Fight! Fight! Fight!
    Brave hosts advancing challenging your name
    March to the battle, Notre Dame!

    And when the Irish backs go marching by
    The cheering thousands shout their battle cry: For Notre Dame men are marching into the game, Fighting the fight for you, Notre Dame
    And when the Irish line goes smashing through They’ll sweep the foemen’s ranks away;
    When Notre Dame men fight for Gold and Blue,
    Then Notre Dame men will win the day.

  5. Down the Line

    On down the line!  Beside the glory of her name.
    On down the line!  Beneath the colors of an ancient fame. On down the line!  Another day for her proclaim.
    Old Gold and Blue; You’re going through-
    Go down the line for Notre Dame.  

  6. 1812 Overture

    Played between third and fourth quarter

  7. Celtic Chant

  8. Damhsa Bua

  9. Rakes of Mallow

Fighting Irish Bars & Restaurants

  1. Brothers Bar & Grill

    Brothers Bar Grill

    Brothers is a modernized throwback to the old Midwestern corner tavern. A clean, relaxed social hangout; our bar stock-full of cold beer and drink with a kitchen in the back serving up comfortable American food fare.

    1234 N Eddy St #125, South Bend, IN 46617, USA

    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  2. Legends of Notre Dame

    Legends of Notre Dame chicken wings

    Michiana's favorite place to relax with family, food, and friends. And it's easy to see why.

    100 Legends, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  3. Joe’s Tavern


    Great people and great food, as well as a friendly neighborhood atmosphere.

    1201 Dunham St, South Bend, IN 46619, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  4. Fiddler’s Hearth

    Fiddlers Hearth

    Their extensive menu reflects the food and culture of the Seven Celtic Nations!

    127 N Main St, South Bend, IN 46601, USA


    Bar website

    european - $$

  5. Blarney Stone Wine & Spirits

    Blarney Stone Wine Spirits

    Large Selection, Best Pricing & Excellent Customer Service!

    1818 S Bend Ave, South Bend, IN 46637, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  6. Mitch’s Corner Sports Bar

    Mitchs Corner Sports Bar

    Mitchs' Corner Sports Bar is a great place to enjoy drinks and food located on Ironwood close to the Notre Dame Campus.

    1516 N Ironwood Dr, South Bend, IN 46635, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $

  7. Corby’s Irish Pub

    Corbys Irish Pub

    Outstadnign Irish bar with different environments to experience.

    441 E Lasalle Ave, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


    Bar website

    european - $

  8. Mulligan’s


    Uptempo tavern serving pub grub, burgers & jumbo brews in festive surrounds with music & dancing.

    1705 S Bend Ave, South Bend, IN 46637, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  9. Cheer’s Pub

    Cheers Pub beer

    Long-running bar & grill with a storied stage for local, national & international rock bands.

    103 S Dixie Way, Roseland, IN 46637, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  10. CJ’s Pub

    CJs Pub beer

    Hangout with beer, jumbo burgers & sandwiches plus sidewalk seating & late-night weekend hours.

    236 S Michigan St, South Bend, IN 46601, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  11. Linebacker Lounge

    Linebacker Lounge beer

    Familiar neighborhood fixture with a collegial atmosphere, plus drink specials & TVs showing sports.

    1631 S Bend Ave, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $

  12. Uptown Kitchen

    Uptown Kitchen

    Stuffed French toast, locally sourced & gluten-free American dishes & more in a contemporary space.

    7225 Heritage Square Dr #208, Granger, IN 46530, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  13. Cambodian Thai

    Cambodian Thai

    Petite, family-run eatery offering dishes in varying levels of spiciness along with Thai iced tea.

    235 S Michigan St, South Bend, IN 46601, USA


    Bar website

    asian - $

  14. Rocco’s Restaurant

    Rocco’s Restaurant

    Homey, memorabilia-filled fixture since 1951 serves pizza, Italian dishes & subs, plus beer & wine.

    537 N St Louis Blvd, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


    Bar website

    italian - pizza - $

  15. Nick’s Patio

    Nicks Patio eggs

    Nick's Patio's chefs prepare every dish with care to ensure customers enjoy the best dining experience possible.

    1710 N Ironwood Dr, South Bend, IN 46635, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  16. Lasalle Grill

    Lasalle Grill

    LaSalle Grill features a blend of chef-inspired original dishes and ethnic foods that represent the spirit and people of America.

    115 W Colfax Ave, South Bend, IN 46601, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$$

  17. Barnaby’s


    American eatery serving pizza, subs & beer in a rustic, yet warm setting since 1969.

    713 E Jefferson Blvd, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


    Bar website

    pizza - $$