The GAA Museum - 15 Years on

16th December 2013

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As 2013 draws to a close, the GAA Museum at Croke Park can celebrate its busiest year ever. In May the museum unveiled its €2million facelift and in December welcomed its 100,000th visitor this year.

With the completion of the final phase of its refurbishment programme, the GAA Museum now offers an unrivalled state-of-the-art interactive visitor experience like never before!  

Since it first opened under Croke Park’s Cusack Stand in the summer of 1998, the GAA Museum has developed into one of Dublin’s top attractions and is consistently ranked as one of the Top 5 Visitor Attractions on TripAdvisor, making it a must-do for visitors to the capital.

The GAA Museum celebrates our national games of Hurling and Gaelic football with new exhibition galleries that vividly illustrate the history and development of Gaelic games from ancient times to the present day.  Refurbished galleries focus on modern heroes of the games and feature Four-in-a-Row Teams, replays and rivalries, Camogie, Ladies Football, Handball and International Rules, as well as dedicated displays on the current Hurler and Footballer of the Year and All-Ireland Club Championship winners. Other new developments include a touch screen poster exhibit of the hurling and football All-Stars,  oral history sound booths showcasing clips from the Association’s oral history archive and a bigger and better interactive games zone where visitors get a chance to test out their own hurling and football skills – a must for museum visitors of all ages!  Visitors can see how fast they can react, test their passing skills and practice fingertips save or the art of the high catch…

The museum is home to the original Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy Cups – without doubt, the most iconic trophies in Irish sport and affectionately known as “Sam” and “Liam”.  The original Sam Maguire Cup was first presented in 1928 to Kildare, as winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.  It was last presented in 1987 to Meath captain Mick Lyons after his county’s victory over Cork in that year’s championship decider.  The cup was retired and replaced with a replica – and Meath were the first team to be presented with the new Sam as the county retained its All-Ireland title in 1988.

The original Liam MacCarthy Cup was first presented to the Limerick hurlers in 1923 – it was presented to the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Champions until 1991 when Tipperary captain Declan Carr was the last captain to be presented with the cup before it was retired and replaced with a replica in 1992.

Some of the museum’s most popular and exhibits include the medal and trophy collections of such hurling luminaries as Christy Ring, Jack Lynch, Mick Mackey and Jimmy Doyle.  The unique feat achieved by only five teams that have won four consecutive All-Ireland Senior Championship titles – Wexford (1915-18), Kerry (1929-32), Cork (1941-44), Kerry (1978-81) and Kilkenny (2006-09) is celebrated in the Four-in-a-Row display which also features Ogie Moran’s impressive haul of eight All-Ireland senior football medals.  Ogie is one of only five players to have this distinguished record – the other four being his Kerry team mates from that era (Pat Spillane, Mikey Sheehy, Ger Power and the late Páidí Ó Sé). 

Memorabilia from current stars features in the “Hurling Greats” and Football Greats” display and includes the impressive medal collection of Armagh and Crossmaglen Rangers star Oisín McConville – the winner of 32 senior championship medals at club level – 6 All-Irelands club championships, 10 Ulster club championships and 16 Armagh county championships. 

The museum is also now home to the official GAA Hall of Fame, which celebrates former players who have made a unique and exceptional contribution to hurling and football. In 2013, Offaly’s Tony McTague and Limerick’s Eamonn Cregan became the first players inducted into the GAA Hall of Fame, along with the hurling and football Teams of the Millennium.   The GAA Hall of Fame Award recognises in particular the outstanding achievement of the greatest inter-county hurlers and footballers - players whose individual and team skills have had a special and enduring impact on our national games, and whose legacy has endured to inspire future generations. The GAA Hall of Fame serves as a permanent tribute to these players - their outstanding achievements and lasting legacies.  It displays collections and personal items from these players in one impressive exhibit and has already become a highlight for many museum visitors. 

If you haven’t visited the museum, there is plenty of opportunity to do so over the festive period.

The museum will be open until December 23rd and then will re-open from December 28th – 31st with guided tours of Croke Park Stadium taking place daily. 

For more information on museum opening hours and tour times, visit www.crokepark.ie/gaa-museum