Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my plans change?

Irish Express is happy to provide a full refund up to 14 days before the event. If you cancel between 14 and 2 days before the event, we will refund you 50%. We can no longer offer refunds after Thursday before a game week.

However, your bus and tailgate ticket is transferable if you’d like to sell it yourself. Just let us know the name of the new ticketholder, and we’ll take care of it.

Is a game ticket included in the price?

No. We do not provide tickets to the football game. You do not need a ticket to the game to come on the bus, but our tailgate will not be serving food or beverages during the game.

Can kids come?

Yes. Notre Dame Football should be fun for the whole family! For those wishing to consume any alcohol, a formal ID will be required proving that you are 21 years of age.

Can a “name” can be assigned to a group party so that friends can join and be on the same bus on game day?

Yes, individual purchasers part of a larger group can be on the same bus to ride together. But each individual purchaser must provide us with the same group name for us to be able to assign all group members to the same bus.  We recommend choosing a group name and sharing it with your group members so that individual purchasers can put it on the purchase form. This is the best way to ensure all group members ride together.

Since I’m riding the same bus, can I leave my personal belongings on the bus during the tailgate and the game?

Bags or coats can be left on the bus HOWEVER bus drivers are off duty during the tailgate and the game, and they may lock the buses. So we strongly recommend that you:

  •  Do not leave valuables on the bus (wallets and tech); and
  •  Take what you need for the game (tickets, layers, ponchos)

What time does the buses leave Punch Bowl Social (Chicago)?

We don’t state exact departure times for the buses because they do not always leave simultaneously. For a 3:00 p.m. (Eastern) kick-off time, doors at Punch Bowl Social open at 7:00 a.m. (Central) for breakfast for day games with boarding between 7:45 and 8:00 am. (Central).

For night games (e.g. 7:00 p.m. (Eastern) kick-off time), we typically have two departure options: The Early Wave or The Noon Wave. Punch Bowl Social opens at 9:30 a.m. (Central) for those on the Early bus and will depart at 10:30 a.m. (Central). For those on the Noon bus, doors open at 11:30 a.m. (Central) and departure is at 12:30 p.m.

Exact departure times are subject to change depending on individual game kick-off times. Please show up at the time specified on your ticket. We cannot guarantee seating or food if you show up early. And if you show up at a later departure time than your ticket states, we will not have a seat for you on the bus as we sell out almost every game.

Do you offer tours of the campus?

Yes, for most games tours are available. However, if there is not one scheduled for the game you’re attending, we always provide you with a campus map with areas of interest and directions to get around.

Which location in Chicago does the bus leave from?

Punch Bowl Social – 310 N. Green St., Chicago (Just north of Fulton Market Ave.)

Which location does the bus depart from to go back to Chicago?

The bus will leave from the tailgate lot, 1340 South Bend Ave, just across the street from the southeast corner of campus.

Do I need to provide gratuities to the bartenders?

Yes, please! We request that all riders provide gratuities to bartenders

Do you have special group booking packages?

If you are part of a larger group with multiple people purchasing tickets, you can add your group name during the checkout process. We will do our best to seat the entire group on the same bus.

Special pricing begins at groups larger than 20. All tickets must be purchased altogether in a single transaction.

If you would like to reserve your own bus at a discounted rate, we need to hear from you by July 31st.

Is there a bathroom on the bus?

Yes – All our buses come with restrooms.

Exception: If you request a smaller private bus, it may not have a restroom. However, being a private bus, you can pull over for a rest stop whenever you like. And there are two very convenient travel plazas right off the tollway between South Bend and Chicago.

How do I know which bus I am assigned to?

You will receive your bus assignment when you check-in at Punch Bowl Social. Bring a copy of your ticket (printed or electronic), and after you check-in, we will give you a wristband for you to wear the entire day. Your wristband is your ticket for our breakfast, bus ride, and for the tailgate; it also has your bus assignment printed on the wristband. You will not be able to ride on the bus or gain entry to the tailgate without the wristband, so everyone must check in prior to entry at Punch Bowl Social or boarding.

Do I need to bring my ticket with me?

Every rider must bring a ticket when they arrive for check-in. We will accept either a printed ticket or a digital copy on the phone. If the party arrives all together, the ticket purchaser can provide ticket copies for the entire party for us to scan all at once (rather than individually).

Do I ride on the same bus on both journeys?

Everyone rides the same bus to South Bend and back.

Do I get a schedule for the day?

Yes! We will provide you with a schedule via email prior the day of the event, and after check-in, we also provide printed programs with an itinerary for the day, as well as a map of campus and where the tailgate is in relation to the stadium. We do not provide game programs; those are available for purchase at the stadium.

What’s included in the price of a seat?

When you ride with Irish Express, we provide all of this:

  • Breakfast at Punch Bowl Social, including bloody marys and mimosas
  • Ride to South Bend with fully stocked bar and bartender (bar opens in Indiana – 20 minutes after departure)
  • Beverages all day: IPA, Miller Lite, Jim Beam Bourbon, Tanqueray Gin, Tito’s Vodka, Captain Morgans Rum + mixers and bloody marys
  • A top-notch tailgate that includes all the drinks options above plus wine (red or white depending on temp), White Claw, and hard cider
  • Tasty fare for lunch at the tailgate: burgers, brats, potato salad, beans, chicken sandwiches, impossible (veggie) burgers, fixings, cole slaw.
  • Tailgate games: Corn hole, a.k.a. “bags”, tailgate toss, a.k.a. Ladder Golf, music, and TVs
  • Post-game meal: Sandwiches or chili (depending on weather)
  • Return ride to Chicago with fully stocked bar and bartender

What time does the bus leave to go back to Chicago?

We leave exactly one hour after the game – consider it a train! We will leave people behind if they are not on time.

Beverages Are Included in the Price of a Seat At Breakfast, on the Bus and at the Tailgate

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