Croke Park, Dublin
Croke Park, named after ArchBishop Croke the first patron of the Gaelic Athletic Association, is the finest stadium in Ireland and a place of pilgrimage for followers of gaelic games, by far the most popular sports in Ireland. The GAA is the largest sports organisation in Ireland and if you really want to get a sense of the heart of Ireland get yourself a ticket to a semi-final or final of the hurling or football competition. A wall of sound and naked tribal emotions (though in a completely safe environment) will be your award. 80,000 people can make a lot of noise (in the old days it was 120,000 but modern safety requirements have reduced the capacity and made finals tickets prized possessions!)
There is also a fine museum of the game which in a way illuminates the history of independent Ireland, as the GAA in former days was a major recruiting ground for those working for irish independence. In a famous incident during the war of independence, a match was interrupted in Croke Park when British forces surrounded the ground and opened fire on spectators and fans in reprisal for Irish attacks on crown forces (Bloody Sunday)
On the 15th of August, 2004 I went to the All-Ireland Semi-Final hurling match between Wexford and Cork. It was mad! I had watched a match on TV the week before, but it doesn't compare to being at a match! This game was held at Croke Park, Dublin and there was just over 62,000 people there. It was amazing, the game was great (although Wexford got crushed) and the atmosphere was fantastic - I loved it!!
I think for any sports fan, a trip to Croke Park whilst in Dublin is a must! Whether it is for a Hurling match or Gaelic football.
Or even when every second year there is International Rules, which is Ireland versus Australia in a hybrid game of Gaelic football and Aussie rules. It is taken in turns of being played in each country, there are two matches a week apart, points are on aggregate. Australia won the last test in Australia, 2005.
The semi finals and finals of the GAA sports of hurling and gaelic football are all played at croke park.
my parents got tickets for the all-ireland hurling semil final in august 2005 for the clash of the ash between galway and kilkenny. it turned out to be one of the matches of the decade, with the underdogs galway taking the honours
in about sixteen years time, i plan to be other side of the fence playing for a championship winning galway side.
The GAA Museum was established to commemorate, recognise and celebrate the GAA's enormous contribution to Irish sporting, cultural and social life since its foundation in 1884. It was officially opened on 1st September 1998.
Croke Park is the home of Ireland's unique national games of hurling and football.
Here, you will see and learn not only the history of GAA sports, but also the history of Ireland through exhibits. There are many interactive games, and you can even try out hurling and Gaelic football. It's a great place to visit for adults and kids.
I would like to watch the hurling game at the Croke Park someday!
Opening hours (Open all year round)
Monday - Saturday: 09.30 - 17.00 / Sunday:* 12.00 - 17.00
Hurling is the fastest field sport in the world, an Irish invention to it’s core and guaranteed to stir the blood in certain counties as the last stages of the championship are reached. I was lucky enough to be a spectator in Croke park when Galway beat Kilkenny in what has been widely tipped to be remembered as one of the games of the decade.
The atmosphere is very much a family one, with both team’s supporters mixed together in this vast stadium. You should easily be able to get tickets for most matches (except the all-Ireland final) via Ticketmaster outlets (including online) for just over 40 euro each. You can also get tickets from the GAA ticket box at Croke park itself, where you should also be able to get tickets for the terraces of Hill 16. Hill 16 (which sounds like a battleground in Vietnam to me) is the only section left undeveloped around this magnificent stadium.