Páirc at Chrócaigh
|Croke Park in 2005|
|place||Jones' Road Drumcondra , Dublin , Ireland
|owner||Gaelic Athletic Association|
|costs||260 million euros (2004)|
|playing area||144.5 × 88 m|
The Croke Park ( Irish Páirc at Chrócaigh ) in the district of Drumcondra of the Irish capital Dublin is the main stadium and the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the biggest Irish sports organization. It is currently the largest stadium in Ireland , and the fifth largest in Europe, with a capacity of 82,300. The venue is used for Gaelic Football , Hurling and Camogie . From 2007 to 2009 it was also temporarily open for rugby and football . Concerts are also held here.
The site of what is now Croke Park originally housed a sports field commonly known as Jones's Road Sportsground and owned by Maurice Butterly since 1870 . Since the GAA was founded in 1884, the area has been used regularly by the organization. From 1896, most of the final games of the Gaelic Football and Hurling championships were held there. This expressed the importance of the site for the rapidly growing organization. The opportunities offered by Jones's Road Sportsground were recognized by Frank Dineen, a journalist and member of the GAA. In 1908 he bought the sports field for £ 3,250. In 1913, the GAA decided to purchase the place themselves and bought it from Dineen for £ 3,500. The square was renamed Croke Park in honor of Archbishop Thomas Croke , who died in 1902 and an early supporter of the GAA. All major GAA games have been held at Croke Park since 1914. At the time of purchase, the court consisted of a grandstand and grassy earth walls around the pitch. In 1917, the rubble of the 1916 Easter Rising was piled into a hill at Railway End . It quickly became known as Hill 16 and is now probably one of the most famous grandstands in the world. On November 21, 1920, a bloody massacre occurred during a Gaelic football game between Dublin and Tipperary , which went down as the first Bloody Sunday in history. In retaliation for the murder of British agents, British troops fired into the crowd and at the players. Michael Hogan , the team captain of Tipperary, was among the 14 dead . The newly built Hogan stand was named after him in 1924. In the following decades, the stadium was gradually expanded. In 1927 the Cusack stand, named after Michael Cusack , founding member and first secretary of the GAA, was inaugurated. In 1937 the Cusack stand was given an upper tier with 5,000 seats and Hill 16 was converted into a concrete stand. In 1952, the Nally Stand was built in memory of Paddy Nally, a founding member of the GAA. Seven years later, on the 75th anniversary of GAA's founding, the New Hogan booth opened.
Expansion of Croke Park
In the 1980s, the GAA investigated various ways to increase the stadium's capacity. In 1991 the plan to expand to a capacity of 80,000 spectators was ready. Irish sports have certain requirements on the stadium, as the dimensions of the field are larger than, for example, football. In addition, the spectators should not be too far away from the field of play. All grandstands should have an upper or lower tier. In addition, a so-called hospitality area with bars, restaurants and conference rooms was planned. The entire expansion was divided into 4 phases and should extend over 14 years.
In the first phase, the old Cusack stand was replaced. The remodeling cost £ 35 million and was completed in 1997. It is 180 meters long, 35 meters high and has a capacity of 25,000 spectators. There are also 46 hospitality suites there.
The second expansion phase began in 1998 and replaced the existing Canal End grandstand.
In the third phase, the Hogan stand was rebuilt and expanded. Various spectator areas were redesigned. In addition to the normal spectator seats, areas for entertaining business friends and VIPs, as well as rooms for media representatives and the stadium's operating staff, were created. A tribune of honor was also set up. At the end of this expansion phase, the audience capacity was 79,500.
The fourth and final stage of expansion began in September 2003. It consisted of the remodeling of Nally Stand and Hill 16. It was officially opened on March 14, 2005 by GAA President Seán Kelly. This is the last remaining standing room in Croke Park. In contrast to the old Hill 16, the new grandstand has been divided into three sections: Hill A (on the side of the Cusack stand), Hill B (behind the gate) and the Nally grandstand (on the site of the old Nally stand). The completely redesigned Hill 16 offers space for 13,000 spectators and brings the total capacity of the stadium to 82,500 spectators.
After obtaining the building permit in 2006, the GAA commissioned the construction of a floodlight system. The construction work for this lasted from January to February 2007. The system, which was installed for 4 million euros, is a very special model that is not based on 4 floodlight masts, but was attached below the stadium roof so as not to bother the neighboring residents. There is also a light block at a height of 8 meters on the west side (Hill16, the only one without spectator seats) to guarantee all-round lighting.
Further expansion plans
After the end of the fourth expansion stage, there is speculation about further improvements to the stadium. Above all, a complete roof is under discussion. Hill 16, like the other three sides of Croke Park, is unlikely to get an upper tier, as the railway line is too close to the stadium and the adjacent area does not belong to the GAA.
Opening of the facility for other sports
In 2004 and 2005 there was a heated debate in Ireland about the use of Croke Park. Since its foundation, the GAA has seen itself as an organization whose task it is to promote original Irish sports to foreigners. Until the early 1970s, GAA members could be excluded if they were also playing football, rugby or cricket . In contrast, rule number 42 of the GAA statutes continued to exist. It prohibits the use of GAA sports fields for foreign sports. Above all, this meant the three above-mentioned, because in the 1990s, American football games were already taking place in Croke Park . Since Lansdowne Road Stadium was completely rebuilt by 2009 and was temporarily closed for this reason, considerable public pressure was exerted on the GAA to open Croke Park to allow the Irish national football team and the rugby association to play there .
On April 16, 2005, it was decided at the GAA's annual congress to temporarily suspend rule 42 and to make Croke Park available to other associations if they so wish. With 227 against 97 votes, the result of the vote was above the required two-thirds majority. In January 2006 it was announced that the GAA had reached an agreement with the Irish Football and Rugby Federation to host their games in Croke Park. Therefore, several international football and rugby games were played in 2007, including the European Championship qualifier of the German national team against Ireland on October 13, 2007.
- Official website of the Croke Park (English)
- History of Croke Park on the GAA website ( June 9, 2008 memento on the Internet Archive )
- Extensive picture gallery
- The Irish Times : Ceremony to mark Hogan death , May 16, 2009 (English)
- archives.tcm.ie: Football: STADIUM OF LIGHT; EVENING MATCHES TO BE HELD AT HEADQUARTERS GAA to invest pounds 4m in new floodlights. , January 19, 2006 (English)
- youtube.com : 'Lights, Action' Croke Park, (Dublin v Tyrone) , February 4, 2007 (English)
- Pope Francis at the family festival - "Hope of the Church and the World". In: domradio.de . Catholic News Agency , August 26, 2018, accessed August 29, 2018 .