Stadiums & Sports Venues in Dublin
Croke Park - Hurling and Gaelic Football
Ireland's premier sporting ground is Croke Park. Home of the GAA, the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Croker is Ireland's biggest, and many would unequivocally add, best sports stadium. In Ireland, in western Europe, in this sector of the galaxy.
But, then, Gaelic sports are THE national pasttime. The GAA - colloquially 'gah' - is Ireland's nationwide, voluntary sports organisation. There's not a parish in the Emerald Isle without it's own GAA field, its roster of local coaches, its training programmes reaching into every elementary and secondary school in the land.
The two Gaelic games are Hurling and Gaelic Football. In both, the object is to get the ball through the opponent's goal for 3 points or over the goalposts for 1 point. Hurlers use a specially shaped stick of Ash wood to accomplish the task, Footballer's use their feet and hands.
We're talking ancient! Cúchulainn, iron age warrior and hero of the pre-Christian saga Táin Bó Cúailnge - The Cattle Raid of Cooley - was a fierce hurler. It was on the playing fields of ancient Ulster that he first made his name. Back then, those Ash sticks were used for more than pucking the sliotar downfield.
Throughout Ireland teams compete to win their local leagues, then their county finals. The best players in each county are selected for the honour of serving on the county team. And when the counties compete against their worst enemies - each other - Croke Park fills with tens of thousands of chanting parochial supporters. These crowds are family oriented with women and kids along with the lads to root for the home team.
A visit to Croke Park is a must for any sports enthusiast or anyone wanting to know what drives an Irishman's soul. Glory and the GAA!
Croke Park is roughly a 40 minute walk from Number 31. Plenty of buses head there from the busy commercial heart of the city or we'll book a taxi for you.
Aviva Stadium - Rugby and Soccer
The recently refurbished Aviva Stadium is the home of Ireland's international Rugby and Football/Soccer teams. This stadium is more akin to a roller coaster, all swoops and curves. It's gorgeous! And only about a 15 minute walk from Number 31.
Rugby is a relatively recent British import. Enthusiasts trace Rugby to the medieval fields of England where mobs of men from one village merrily bashed their way down field through the cracked heads of neighbouring villagers carrying an inflated pig's bladder. There's still nothing dainty about this game, but modern rules keep the bloodletting to a minimum.
Ireland has a world class International Rugby squad and in 2009 the team won the coveted Six Nations Championship. Rugby has some of the most vociferous and loyal fans of any game on the planet and vacancies at Number 31 tend to disappear weeks and even months before the more hotly contested international games. Book early is our advice.
You can keep abreast of upcoming events at Aviva Stadium here.
Soccer: Football is now the Irish nation's favourite TV sport. Fans mostly follow Premier League British teams such as Manchester United or Celtic Football Club. There is a widespread network of soccer clubs training up the next generation and this bears fruit every four years when the best players of Irish ancestry wage war on the rest of the planet during the World Cup. Ireland has twice made it to the quarter-finals and beyond during the last 20 or so years and the whole island shuts down for such dramatic finishes.
In between, there's the European Cup and in between both there are friendly matches and competition matches that don't even involve the Irish team. For instance, Ireland has hosted matches between two rival Portugese teams.
Because it's an easy walk of 15 minutes to the Aviva Stadium, Number 31 fills up early during big International matches. Book now!
RDS - Dublin Horse Show
The Irish love horses. Until quite recently horses provided transport and pulled ploughs. Walking amongst us still are tens of thousands of aging farm boys whose morning tasks once included curryng and feeding the plough horse or hitching a pony to the trap for a ride to town.
Nowhere is this love affair more openly displayed than at the Dublin Horse Show in early August. This takes place at the Royal Dublin Showgrounds, a 20 minute walk from Number 31. There's jumping, dressage, a hunt chase, equestrian entertainment, showings for every breed of equine known to the Irish and lashings of food and drink.
As an added bonus, there's the Blossom Hill Ladies Day when the women put their best fashion foot forward. There's a prize for Best Dressed and it's all but guaranteed that the winner will adorn the front cover of most every newspaper in Ireland.
The RDS is a 20 minute walk from Number 31. As always, we'll book a taxi for you or we'll direct you the three blocks to a bus which stops at the RDS. Once again, demand is high for rooms. Book early remains our advice.