Whether you pass a colorful array of jerseys hanging through the window of a store, or hear a rowdy group of friends drooling over the television in a pub, you’re bound to encounter a piece of the Gaelic Athletic Association when wandering through the streets of Dublin, Ireland. An essential part of the Irish culture, the GAA was established in 1884 following Michael Cusack’s desire to revive the presence of indigenous Irish sports in the country. Since then, the GAA has dominated throughout Ireland and has even extended to several other countries around the world. While the Gaelic games feature a multitude of sports, Gaelic football and hurling are undoubtedly the most popular among the Irish people. So, if you’re in Ireland and game day approaches, there are a few things you need to know.
All of the games are held at the beautiful Croke Park Stadium in Dublin. On the roof of the stadium lies the Ethiad Skyline, which is 44 meters above the ground. From the skyline, there is a beautiful view of all of Dublin. The stadium seats over 82,000 passionate Irish fans, and while tickets can be affordable, they can go fast; a variety of packages for season tickets are available for the most loyal fans.
Let’s say you score some last-minute tickets and you’re heading to Croke Park for the upcoming Gaelic football match. In the eyes of the Irish, it is essential that you wear the jersey for whichever team you choose to support. In fact, the more publicly you display your pride and support for your team, the better. Break out the flags, the face paint, the signs, anything you can find! You’ll fit right in. And, of course, don’t forget to buy a Guinness before you get to your seat.
If you don’t manage to get tickets to the match, don’t worry! The ambiance is crazy and the people are fired up during game day in Dublin. Many pubs throughout Dublin keep the game on TV and groups of fans gather at their favorite pubs to watch together. It’s important that you secure a table in the pub early because pubs can be absolutely packed by the time the game starts. If you head over an hour before the game, just relax, order a couple beers, or munch on some snacks. By the end of the meal, you’ll be screaming at the television alongside dozens of other Irish fans.
The Gaelic Athletic Association truly has transformed into a popular, unique movement. These sports are a part of the spiritual core of Ireland and are a special expression of the Irish culture.
Still have some questions or want to know more? Be sure to schedule a tour through the GAA museum located within Croke Park!