I had the opportunity to visit Croke Park. As a super fan of Manchester United and the sport of football, I have been to my fair share of sport stadiums. With that, I didn’t expect to see/feel anything different compared to what I have seen in the past. I knew nothing about the sport of hurling, so going in, I was excited to learn about the sport that everyone in Ireland can’t stop loving.
As soon as you walk through the gates to the stadium, you can already see a sense of pride. Outside the door to the reception hall, they have plaques of all the teams/clubs in the hurling league. Croke Park is the “main” park for all of the hurling teams. They don’t cater to one specific team. You feel a sense of pride for all of the teams by looking at the wall outside, as well as the locker room holding all of the hurling jerseys. Croke Park may not be the nicest looking stadium on the inside, but they like to use the money they earn to focus more on the experience of the game for the players and fans than on appearance.
Walking out onto the field, with the recording of the screaming fans, made me feel like an actual player. We were told that the hurling players do not get paid to play in the league. They generally play for the love of the sport. Now of days, most people do not peruse what they love in life if there is no money involved. The players work other jobs in order to support their family, but have the opportunity to continue a hobby they love.
Croke Park felt different than any other stadium I have visited in the past. I felt a sense of pride and spirit through out the entire tour. Whether it was seeing different team pictures, or hearing of the history of the sport and park, the stadium is so popular due to the fact that it is loved by all of Ireland. Ireland’s love and support of the sport of hurling and the GAA is what makes this park so special, unique, and fun!
–Grace Mellor (Blog post #1)