Croke Park

Gaelic Athletic Association

Croke Park ( Irish: Páirc to Chrócaigh ) in the Irish capital Dublin is the main stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA ), the largest Irish sports organization. It is currently the largest stadium in Ireland ( and the fifth largest in Europe) with a capacity of 82,300 spectators. The stadium is used for Gaelic football, hurling and Camogie. 2007-2009 it was temporarily opened for rugby and soccer. In addition, concerts are held.


On the site of today's Croke Park itself was originally a sports field since 1870, as the Jones 's Road Sports Ground was generally known and Maurice Butterly belonged. Since the founding of the GAA in 1884 the place was regularly used by the organization. As of 1896, the most finals of Gaelic Football and Hurling Championships were held there. Thus, the importance of the site for the rapidly growing organization was expressed. The opportunities offered by the Jones 's Road Sports Ground, were recognized by Frank Dineen, a journalist and member of the GAA. For 3,250 pounds in 1908, he acquired the sports field. In 1913, the GAA decided to buy the place himself, and bought him for 3,500 pounds of Dineen. In honor of the late Archbishop Thomas Croke 1902, an early patron of the GAA, the place in Croke Park was renamed. Since 1914, are held every important games of the GAA in Croke Park. At the time of purchase was the place of a grandstand and grassy earth walls around the game field. In 1917, the wreckage of the Easter Rising of 1916 were heaped on a hill at the Railway End. He quickly became known as Hill 16 and today is probably one of the most famous grandstands of the world. On 21 November 1920, came during a Gaelic football match between Dublin and Tipperary into a bloody massacre, received the first Bloody Sunday in history. In retaliation for the murder of a British agent British troops fired into the crowd and the players. Among the 14 dead, there was also Michael Hogan, the team captain of Tipperary. According to him, the newly built Hogan Stand was named in 1924. In the following decades, the stadium was gradually expanded. In 1927, the Cusack Stand, named after Michael Cusack, founding member and first secretary of the GAA, was inaugurated. In 1937 the Cusack Stand Upper Tier for 5,000, and Hill 16 was converted to a stand made ​​of concrete. In 1952 the Nally Stand was, in memory of Paddy Nally, a founding member of the GAA, established. Seven years later, the GAA - Foundation of New Hogan was opened prior to the 75th anniversary.

Stadium expansion

In the 1980s, the GAA looked at various ways to increase the capacity of the stadium. In 1991, the plan to expand to a capacity of 80,000 spectators was ready. Irish sports have specific requirements on the stadium, since the dimensions of the playing field are larger than for example in football. In addition, the audience should not be too far removed from the field. All bleachers should have an upper or lower rank. In addition, a so-called hospitality area with bars, restaurants and conference rooms was planned. The entire development is divided into 4 phases and should extend over 14 years.

Phase 1

In the first phase of the supernatant was replaced old Cusack. The conversion cost £ 35 million and was completed in 1997. It is 180 meters long, 35 meters high and has a capacity of 25,000 spectators. In addition, there are 46 hospitality suites.

Phase 2

The second phase of expansion began in 1998 and replaced the existing Canal End stands.

Phase 3

In the third phase of the Hogan Stand was rebuilt and extended. Here, different viewing areas have been redesigned. In addition to the normal spectators areas of hosting business friends and VIPs, as well as space for media representatives and operational staff of the stadium were created. In addition, a VIP stand was set up. At the end of the expansion phase, the seating capacity was 79,500.

Phase 4

In September 2003, the fourth and final stage began. It consisted of the conversion of Nally Stand and Hill 16 It was officially opened by GAA President Seán Kelly on March 14, 2005. Here are the last remaining standing room at Croke Park. Unlike the old Hill 16, the new stand was divided into three sections: A Hill (on the side of the Cusack Stand ), Hill B ( behind the goal) and the Nally Tribune (on the site of the old Nally Stand ). The completely redesigned Hill 16 can accommodate 13,000 spectators and brings the total capacity of the stadium to 82,500 spectators.

Phase 5

After the building permit in 2006, the GAA has announced the construction of a floodlight system in order. The construction work lasted to January-February 2007. Installed for 4 million euro investment is a very special model which is not based on 4 floodlight towers, but was placed below the stadium roof so as not to annoy the adjoining residents. In addition, ( Hill16, the only ones without spectators ) in 8 meters high is located on the west side, a light block to guarantee all-round illumination.

Further expansion plans

After the end of the fourth stage there is speculation about further improvements to the stadium. Above all, a complete roofing is under discussion. That Hill 16, as the other three sides of Croke Park, gets a top rank is rather unlikely, as the railway line is too close to the stadium and neighboring land is not part of the GAA.

Opening of the stadium for other sports

In the years 2004 and 2005, Ireland had a heated debate on the use of Croke Park. The GAA knew each other since their inception as an organization whose mission is to promote original Irish sports to foreign. Until the early 1970s GAA members were excluded if they incidentally still playing football, rugby or cricket. In contrast, the rule was further point 42 of the GAA Statutes. It prohibits the use of a GAA sports fields for foreign sports. This was mainly meant the three mentioned above, because in the 1990s took place in Croke Park already American football games instead. Since the Lansdowne Road stadium was completely rebuilt by 2009 and remained closed due to this reason, significant public pressure was exerted on the GAA to open up Croke Park to allow there games the Irish national football team and the Rugby Association.

On April 16, 2005 it was decided at the Annual Congress of the GAA, the rule temporarily suspend 42 and make Croke Park to other organizations available, if so desired by them. The vote was 227 against 97 votes over the required two -thirds majority. In January 2006 it was announced that the GAA has reached an agreement with the Irish football or rugby dressing over sweeps of their games in Croke Park. Therefore, in 2007, several international soccer and rugby matches were played, including the European Championship qualifier the German national team against Ireland on 13 October 2007.