Stadium History & Development

Today Croke Park is home to, and headquarters of, the GAA.  Prior to the Association's purchase of the stadium in 1913, the grounds were in private ownership.

By a deed dated 10th December 1829 ‘an orchard, dwelling-house, yard and garden together with the fields adjoining’, amounting to a little over 12 acres was leased to a Mr. John Bradley. By another deed dated 16th April 1864 another plot of land containing over 21 acres was leased to Mr. Maurice Butterley.


The two plots of ground in these two leases were adjoining and over time came into the ownership of the GAA. In 1894, a newly formed company, the City and Suburban Racecourse and Amusements Grounds Ltd, purchased over 14 acres from Butterley. The new owners leased the grounds for a variety of sports meetings and whippet racing as well as for Gaelic games.

Croke Park Timeline

For a complete view of the timeline detailing the history of Croke Park from 1864 to the present day just click on the date ranges below.

The First Finals

In the early years of the GAA, All-Ireland Finals were played at a variety of venues around the country. The first finals played at what is now Croke Park took place in March 1896 with Tipperary successful in both codes, beating Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Hurling Final and Meath in the All-Ireland Football Final.

The GAA's First Final's

Croke Memorial Tournament

In 1913 Central Council decided to initiate the Croke Memorial Tournament to raise funds for a suitable monument to the GAA’s first patron, Archbishop Thomas Croke. The final of this tournament was played on 4th March 1913 with Kerry facing Louth.

Croke Memorial Tournament

Stadium Development

Accommodation for spectators in 1913 was primitive. Two stands existed along the Jones Road side of the grounds – one known as the Long Stand and the other simply called The Stand. The latter was a fragile timber construction which had an office underneath.

Stadium Development