The Hidden Jewel In Ireland’s Crown

Have a look at this amazing two minute insight  into the rich history of the hidden jewel in the crown that the world never knew about – Croke Park, Stadium Ireland.

It is the Gaelic Athletic Association’s (GAA) stadium where bigger crowds than any English premiere league football match attend during the summer months. They come to watch the two Irish sports, Gaelic Football and Hurling (the fastest field game in the world), as the counties of Ireland battle to make history.

The GAA was a banned organisation during the British occupation of Ireland. Subsequently foreign games like rugby and soccer were banned from Croke Park for over 100 years by the GAA. Ironically, when the ban was finally lifted,  it was in Croke Park where Ireland inflicted its biggest ever rugby win over England (43-13) in 2007 and it is where Ireland played both 2009 home matches that formed part of the history making Grand Slam, 6 Nations Champions and Triple Crown winners.

For 125 years Croke Park has promoted Irish culture, heritage and sport. Interestingly the 2 minute slide show makes no reference (correct me if I’m wrong) to the 14 civilians shot dead in the crowd by British Troops in Croke Park in 1920. We have moved on. See page 169 of my sportsmanship book for more on this and how we’ve moved on because of rugby.  The GAA gesture to open Croke Park to rugby and ‘soccer’ embraced a new view, a new feeling, almost a new Ireland.  It was a difficult decision for many, however, it shows the world that sport can prevail and it has done so in Croke Park – Ireland’s previously hidden jewel in its own crown.  Now, let’s make a bid for a World Cup Rugby and World Cup Finals (football) competition in Ireland (and  Britain) with Croke Park hosting the final.

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