Croke Park

4 Dec

The fourth largest stadium in Europe is located in Dublin Ireland, and it is known as Croke Park. It is the home to the GAA and houses its museum. When I first arrived, I was able to take a tour of the museum and learn about the history of the GAA and the games. The GAA was founded in 1884 and placed an emphasis on native Irish games such as hurling and gaelic football. To do this, the founders placed restrictions on playing other sports such as football (soccer) or rugby. They accomplished it quite well as the gaelic sports are now a very important part in Irish culture. Also, I learned that the person who won the most all Ireland finals was actually a female, not a male. Then I got to go to sport courts to practice my skills in the games like hitting the sliotar with a hurley and kicking balls through holes.

The next part of the tour included a walk around the stadium. We got to visit many places that are exclusives to the players such as their locker room and lounge. The locker room had 32 jerseys up, representing each county in the GAA. In the lounge, we got to see their Waterford Crystal chandelier, which can change colors according to what team won that day. It includes 32 gaelic football pieces that also represent each county. Then we got to walk out onto the field and witness the massive size of the field which measures 145 meters long by 90 meters wide. We walked up to the upper stands to see the private boxes and the press box. They offered some of the best views of the stadium as they were up high and right in the middle. Last, we got to see Hill 16. This used to be a hill of debris that the locals would bring in from the city during the uprising against Great Britain. However, the most interesting thing about Croke Park are that the only athletes that play in it are amateurs, meaning they do not get paid.  Croke Park was one of the most interesting trips I took during my time in Dublin and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in sports.

-Greg Shozda

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