Croke Park is a multi purpose stadium, located in Dublin (Ireland) and also the headquarters of an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation called the Gaelic Athletic Association.
Built back in 1913, the arena was designed by architect Gilroy McMahon and at present has a current capacity of 82,300 seats. Its has a major role in hosting the important Gaelic games, especially the annual finals of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and Senior Hurling Championship which have a meaningful tradition for the locals. Croke Park managed to achieve a new world record of attendance for a club/provincial rugby union game when at the beginning of May 2, 2009, more then 82,000 fans showed up on Croke Park to view the game between Leinster and Munster, as Leinster won 25–6 a match that was played during the rugby Heineken Cup semi-finals. In March 2007 the first football match was played on Croke Park: the Republic of Ireland national football team met the Wales national in an international game during the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship qualifiers. 72,500 people came, as the hosts won 1-0, midfielder Stephen Ireland being the only goal scorer of the day.
The stadium was highly renovated in 2004, the reconstruction costs adding up to a total of 260 million euro. It was then that the overall capacity of the stadium increased to 82,300 seats, which made the arena the third-largest in the European Union, surpassed only by Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Arsenal’s Wembley Stadium. However, because of FIFA strict reglemantations regarding the security and for logistical reasons, only 73,500 people are allowed in the stadium when a football match is played.
The Gaelic Athletic Association, which is the sole owner of the sports structure, plans to further develop Croke Park and as a result by the end of 2014 the developments will include a modern roof for the stadium and a new floodlighting system.