Croke Park is a historical, enormous stadium venue that offers guests of all ages the opportunity to go behind the scenes and explore. See a show, brave the skyline, or just browse the museum… it is easy to spend all day at the stadium and still feel like there is more to see.

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History

Croke Park is part of the Gaelic Athletic Association (also known as GAA), which is the largest sporting organization in the country of Ireland. The park was designed specifically to help represent the more unique of Ireland’s national games, namely Gaelic football and hurling, and has been in use since 1884. In November of 1920, the park was the site of Bloody Sunday (commemorated in a U2 song), when 15 people were killed by the Royal Irish Police during the Irish War of Independence.

After being redesigned in the 1990s, the stadium can now hold up to 82,000 people at a time (the third largest European stadium) and regularly hits capacity during tournaments. At one point, the park held the world record for most people in attendance (although this record was broken in 2012 and again in 2016). The park has also seen the flames from the Olympic torch as it passed through the stadium in 2012.

Permanent Attractions

While Croke Park encompasses a huge and diverse range of attractions, it is recommended that guests to the park start out by touring the museum and/or taking the Croke Park tour.

The GAA museum is often considered the true “heart” of Croke Park. The museum was designed to immerse guests in the fascinating history of the park and the Gaelic games, taking them from the ancient Irish times through modern day Irish sports. Not only does the GAA museum seek to teach guests about the history of those uniquely Irish sports, but it also showcases the myriad of ways in which the Gaelic Athletic Association has contributed to the sporting, cultural, and social heritage of Ireland.

Guests should make sure to see the original Liam MacCarthy (for hurling) and Sam Maguire (for Gaelic football) Cups, the Hall of Fame (with photos of Irish greats like Noel Skehen and Mick O’Dwyer), and the floor that is entirely dedicated to the games in current times. There is also an Interactive Game Zone, where guests can try Gaelic football and hurling for themselves.

The museum is two stories and will often feature temporary and traveling exhibitions in addition to the permanent ones. Additional information about all of the exhibitions is located on the museum website.

The GAA museum is often closed on match days, so it is strongly recommended that all guests contact the museum before a planned visit to verify that they will be open. Admission is required at a standard fee for adults, a reduced fee for students and seniors, a further reduced fee for children, and a family discount for two adults and either two or three children.

After visiting the museum, guests can take one of the frequently offered stadium tours. These tours include admission to the museum as well as an all-access pass through the stadium while learning about its history. The tour takes approximately an hour and a half, with one hour of that being the actual tour and the additional time being spent with the introductory film shown prior to the tour (called A Sunday in September).

It is strongly urged that guests wear comfortable shoes and dress seasonally appropriate. There is plenty of walking required with this tour, including ramps and steps. Escalators are available; however, elevators are not. The tour is considered completely wheelchair accessible. All tours are subject to change on match days, and entry onto the pitching mound is strictly off limits. Additional ticketing is required, which can be purchased either at the park or through the website.

One final area to visit during a stop at Croke Park is the exciting and beautiful skyline tour. Not for the faint of heart, as the skyline at Croke Park stands 17 stories tall, guests are welcome to brave the suspended walkway which comes out directly over the pitching mound. Skyline tours last about two hours, which includes a mandatory health and safety briefing.

Guests are strongly urged to dress appropriately (which includes no skirts, dresses, or high heels). Cameras are always welcome, but guests should be advised to always keep a tight hold on them. Additional ticketing is required, and children must be at least 1.2 meters (just under 4 feet) tall. Student and family discounts are also available.

Educational Opportunities

The staff at Croke Park strives to make every field trip to the stadium the most exciting experience for students.

? Primary Schools - For primary school students, the staff at the park offers both interactive experiences and guided tours to both engage and educate. They offer a student’s version of the tours that are offered on a regular basis - the museum tour, the stadium tour, and the skyline tour. The majority of these tours last about two hours and admission are offered at a significant group discount. One teacher is permitted free for every ten students on the field trip. Bus parking is allowed onsite, and students can have a picnic either inside or outside in one of the designated areas (which includes complimentary coffee and tea for all teachers). Pre-visit resources will be provided to teachers ahead of time and all visits will include a trip to the gift shop as well as the Interactive Games Zone.

? Secondary Schools - Slightly older students can also benefit from a trip to the stadium, which offers all of the above-mentioned benefits with slightly more educational background. There is also an additional tour, which combines highlights of all the tours, and focuses on the events of November 21st, 1920. Students are also welcome to visit the archives at the stadium. Lunch can be purchased at the on-site cafe, and bus parking is available. Teachers would benefit from looking over the pre-visit resources as well and can contact the staff at the stadium if they are interested in specifying any tour to the specific educational needs of their class.

Special Events

Due to the massive size of the stadium, special events are frequently held on site. From famous touring acts like the Rolling Stones to hosting the Special Olympics, guests should check the website prior to a visit. Tickets are often not available at the doors and parking is significantly impacted during these events.

Many famous people also visit the stadium. In the past, the stadium has welcomed Queen Elizabeth the Second as well as a former vice president of China. Although this does not happen frequently, tickets sell quickly.

The stadium also focuses very heavily on bringing cultural events in. Recently, the GAA celebrated 125 years in explosive fashion, complete with fireworks, light shows and live music. The interactive calendar on the website maintains an up to day list of all of these events.

In addition to the many special events, Croke Park is a popular destination for a variety of meetings and events. The staff seeks to be one of the premier meeting places, and they focus on providing excellent service in their over 5,000 square feet of space (which has one awards for being some of the best built events spaces). The stadium has hosted a huge variety of events in the past - including the All Ireland Business Summit, and the Irish Youth Music Awards/National Day. Catering is provided on site, which makes the stadium a one stop shop for any event (no matter how big or small). Weddings of all sizes are also welcome. Contact the staff at the stadium to submit an inquiry for booking.

Dining and Shopping

The dining and shopping options are almost endless at Croke Park. Stop by one of the many different restaurants and sports bars - like Eighteen84 or Leather and Ash - for a sit-down bite to eat or have a more open terrace experience at Dineen Hill 16. There are multiple shops as well, providing a wide range of gift options like apparel, posters, or sports memorabilia. Guests can also visit the museum gift shop, which has a large range of more historical souvenirs as well.

Croke Park, Jones’ Rd, Drumconda, Dublin 3, Ireland, Phone: +353-18-19-23-00

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