Celebrating the history of Ireland’s national games, the GAA Museum in Croke Park also brings to life how the GAA has contributed to our cultural, social and sporting heritage, writes Seán Creedon.
Most of us who were born outside the Pale have memories of that big school tour to Dublin when the highlight was probably a trip to the Zoo. I think our tour bus also took us close to Croke Park, but back in the sixties there were no proper organised tours at the Jones Road venue.
There have been big changes at GAA headquarters this year with Carlow-born Tom Ryan replacing Páraic Duffy as Director General. Meanwhile Cavan-born Aogán Ó Fearghail completed his three-year term as GAA President and was replaced by John Horan, the first native Dubliner to assume the post of president of the GAA since Daniel McCarthy in 1921.
With new formats being introduced in hurling and football this year, it promises to be a hectic summer and we can look forward to some exciting Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Croke Park and other GAA grounds around the country. But underneath the Cusack Stand at Croke Park you can go some way towards recreating that magic atmosphere any day of the week by visiting the GAA Museum which is also the starting point for the Croke Park Stadium Tour and the Ericsson Skyline Tour.
The definition of a museum is ‘a building where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept.’ And of course the GAA Museum is all about the history of the GAA – all one hundred and thirty-four years of it. The museum celebrates the history of Ireland’s national games and it also brings to life how the GAA has contributed to our cultural, social and sporting heritage.
On Monday September 20, 1993, the day after the All-Ireland football final between Derry and Cork, heavy machinery started to demolish the old Cusack Stand at Croke Park. The new Cusack Stand cost €44.3 million, which included the purchase of lands from Belvedere College at the back of the old stand.
Phase two of the construction of the new-look Croke Park began after the 1997 All-Ireland finals when the old Canal End was demolished. Included among the plans for the Cusack side of the stadium was a Museum, which was officially opened by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in September 1998.