Croke Park

6 Nov

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCYSflQwc7o&feature=player_embedded

This past Friday, I visited Croke Park in Dublin. Croke Park is both the home and headquarters of the GAA, the Gaelic Athletic Association. It is also the largest sporting arena in all of Ireland. The Park hosts many games throughout the season but the most significant are the Men and Women’s all Ireland finals in hurling and football. The park has been renovated and expanded over years to the point where it is today, seating over 82,000 spectators. The facility has been used sine 1884 for games. In addition, it has been the sight of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2003 Olympics and various concerts. While the facility is generally a place for entertainment, it is also a place of historical Irish significance. On November 21, 1920, during a Gaelic football match, the Royal Irish Constabulary, supported by the British, entered the park killing fourteen, including the captain of the Tipperary team. There is controversy over whether or not non-Irish games should be played in Croke Park. Initially, the GAA was established by nationalists as a way to promote and support Irish culture and heritage. This is still seen in Croke Park today. For example, in the players’ lounge, there are chandeliers from Waterford, Ireland that represent all of the Irish major teams and minor teams. In addition, Croke Park is known as a “neutral territory” for the Irish teams. This means that no team has home advantage and that it belongs equally to all of the teams. While many aspects of the original Croke Park and GAA has remained the same over the years, there have been some changes. The stadium under went a four part renovation and expansion plan. In addition, certain rules of GAA games have been altered, including the length of the game and how many players are on a team. It is evident by the vast size and importance of Croke Park that it still, to this day, plays a significant role in Irish culture.

“Croke Park.” www.wikipedia.com. N.p., 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.

“Feel the Buzz of Croke Park.” YouTube. YouTube, 30 June 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2013

“Our Location.” Croke Park Stadium. Home of Gaelic Games. N.p., 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.

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