Last month, DBS took our class on a tour of Croke Park. Croke Park is the home stadium for the Gaelic Athletic Association or GAA. It has a capacity of over 82,000 and hosts monthly Hurling and Gaelic Football games for Dublin and is the location for the annual All Ireland Championship for men’s and women’s games. The GAA and the Gaelic games are a very important part of Irish identity. These games are unique to Ireland and a source of pride for the country. Our tour guide told us that people take pride in their teams because each town and county have teams.
The tour gave us a quick introduction to the stadium and the GAA. We walked around the lower level of the stadium and saw the behind the scenes aspects including the player’s lounge as well as one of the locker rooms. After this, the group was brought out to the field. This was my favorite part of the tour. The guide told us about the historical significance of the stands at Croke Park. Each part of the stadium is named after a significant figure in GAA history. The Hogan stand is named after Michael Hogan, the captain of the Tipperary Gaelic football team who was killed on Bloody Sunday. The Cusack stand is named after Michael Cusack who founded the GAA.
The tour concluded with a visit to the GAA Museum in Croke Park. The tour itself was very well done and an essential part of a trip to Dublin. Because of the historical significance of the GAA and Croke Park, there is something for everyone on the tour.
Shortly after, I went to a Gaelic football game between Dublin and Donegal. Seeing the game in action gave me a great appreciation for the game and the amateur athletes that play it at such a high level. It’s no wonder that Ireland treasures their games as they do and why they’re the most popular sports in Ireland.