Acknowledging the capacity of the Jones’ Road sports ground a reporter and GAA member, Frank Dineen, borrowed much of the ₤ 3,250 asking rate and purchased the ground in 1908. In 1913 the GAA entered special ownership of the plot when they purchased it from Dineen for ₤ 3,500. The ground was then renamed Croke Park in honour of Archbishop Thomas Croke, among the GAA’s first patrons.
In 1913, Croke Park had just 2 stands on what is now called the Hogan stand side and grassy banks all round. In 1917, a grassy hill was constructed on the railway end of Croke Park to afford patrons a much better view of the pitch. This terrace was known originally as Hill 60, later renamed Hill 16 in memory of the 1916 Easter Increasing. It is erroneously believed to have actually been constructed from the ruins of the GPO, when it was built the previous year in 1915.
Croke Park is a Gaelic games stadium located in Dublin, Ireland. Called after Archbishop Thomas Croke, it is in some cases called Croker by GAA fans and locals. It serves as both the principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Since 1891 the website has been used by the GAA to host Gaelic sports, consisting of the annual All-Ireland in Gaelic football and hurling.
A significant expansion and redevelopment of the stadium ran from 1991 – 2005, raising capability to its present 82,300 spectators. This makes Croke Park the third-largest stadium in Europe, and the largest not usually used for association football.
Other events held at the stadium consist of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2003 Unique Olympics, and numerous musical performances. In 2012, Irish pop group Westlife sold out the stadium in record-breaking time: less than 5 minutes. From 2007– 10, Croke Park hosted house matches of the Ireland nationwide rugby union group and the Republic of Ireland nationwide football team, while their new Aviva Stadium was built.
This use of Croke Park for non-Gaelic sports was controversial and required momentary changes to GAA rules. In June 2012, the stadium hosted the closing event of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress during which Pope Benedict XVI provided an address over video link.
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