Croke Park (Brianna Sedor)

3 Nov

Before I delve into my experience at Croke Park, or in Irish, Páirc an Chrócaigh, I’d like to give some history behind the stadium. I really admire that like Ireland, Croke Park Stadium has such a rich history. Croke Park has been used mainly for Gaelic football and hurling since it opened in 1913. However, the stadium is not only used for Gaelic games. With its capacity of 82,300, Croke Park has held many concerts, the opening and closing of the Special Olympics, and an address made by Pope Benedict XVI. Unfortunately there was a very tragic event that also took place in Croke Park. On November 21st, 1920 the RIC entered the stadium during a Dublin versus Tipperary Gaelic football match, and began firing into the crowd. The only player that was killed was Tipperary’s captain Michael Hogan. A stand was built in his honor in 1924. This event became known as Bloody Sunday.

When we first entered Croke Park we were shown a movie about the inner workings and the matches held at Croke Park. Gaelic games are a very important part of Irish culture and I could feel the emotions from the movie. We then were taken on a tour of the stadium. The facilities were so beautiful and all seemed very new. Something I found very interesting about the tour was that after the matches both teams were given food and drinks in a beautiful lounge area. There were not separate areas for each team, meaning that two teams that had just put their heart and soul into defeating the other would be eating, drinking, and enjoying the night together. Another remarkable fact that I learned was that all of the players were amateurs. Even though many of them were famous throughout Ireland, none of them were paid for playing their sport, they all had normal jobs, like bankers or teachers.  Even though the stadium itself is outstanding and beautiful, the history and random facts behind every aspect of Croke Park is unbelievable. I now cannot wait to attend a game there. 

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