Croke Park Visit

3 Nov

               Before arriving at Croke Park, I had previous knowledge to how much nationalism the Park held. In this one place, there had been amazing moments of triumph, defeat, and even massacres. Regardless of the positive and negative things that had happened in the park, there was this amazing sense of pride and honor just walking through the doors.

               Croke Park is home to the GAA of sports in Ireland. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) uses the Croke Park Stadium to host all of the all Ireland championships in both hurling and football. They also hosted games for the national rugby union team. The stadium has an overall capacity of 82,300 people making it the fourth largest stadium in all of Europe. 

               Not only is this stadium fraught with passion and pride, but it also holds a lot of history. During the Easter Rising in 1916, people took the rubble from the ground and made a grassy hill for them to sit on and watch the game. Over time, with the decomposition of the material, the area formed into a permanent hill. This may seem like an insignificant detail in a much larger scheme, but this just shows that no matter what, people are going to show their pride for there county.  

               One of the most deeply saddening days was during the Irish War of Independence. It was on November 21, 1920 and is known as Bloody Sunday. During a match, a team of Royal British Intelligence officers went into the park and opened fire on the crowd in the stands. 14 people died, including one of the players called Michael Hogan. Because of this, a stand in the stadium was built in his honor. Although there is a lot of sadness within the stadium, I can imagine the great amount of honor the people of Ireland must feel when they go and sit in the same area that so much success had taken place, and so much downfall. 

              One of the most interesting things that I found on the tour was when we were being showed the different types of sports that are played within Croke Park. I noticed that as our guide talked about the sports, he always mentioned woman’s sports right along side mens. He even mentioned one of the most famous and successful female athletes to ever come to Ireland. This is something that is very different from my own home. Being a female athlete, I constantly felt like our sports were put down and less of an importance to mens. It was so great to see how much people valued both sports. Also, I appreciated the fact that they showed the evolution of women’s sports by putting in what women used to wear, how there rules were and other attributes. This was a great way to show the positive differences of my own home, and it really reassured me to know that people do care and watch women’s sports as much as they do mens. Overall, my experience at Croke Park was a complete success. I really enjoyed getting to know more about the sporting aspects of Ireland. 

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