- Stadium History & 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.
The GAA’s first effort at modernisation was the construction of a terrace area at the northern end of the ground, in what is now Dineen-Hill 16. Its name was originally called Hill 60 which came from a hill in Gallipoli (Turkey) on which members of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers suffered heavy casualties in 1915 during World War 1. That original name stuck throughout the 1920s and 1930s until senior figures in the GAA decided that it was inappropriate to have a section of Croke Park named after a battle involving the British Army. So Hill 60 became Hill 16, a name that would link it to Easter 1916- a seminal event in the history of 20th-Century Ireland and a major step on the road to Ireland’s independence. It was only in 1936, when the Cusack Stand was redeveloped, that the turf and mud of Hill 16 was replaced with concrete terracing.
In 1924 the GAA built a new stand along the Jones Road side of the stadium and took the historic decision to name it the Hogan Stand, in honour of Michael Hogan of Tipperary who had been shot during Bloody Sunday. The Cusack Stand was finally completed in 1938 and cost £50,000 and was regarded as one of the finest in Europe at the time. It had two tiers – 5,000 seats on the upper deck and terracing underneath. In 1966 this terracing was replaced with seating for 9,000 spectators. At the Canal End new terracing was provided in 1949 and the Nally Stand was built in 1952.
The ‘old’ Hogan Stand was replaced in 1959 when it became a two-tier structure standing 500 feet high and with seating for 16,000. By this time, Croke Park could house 23,000 seated spectators and 62,000 standing. However, 87,768 spectators watched Down beat Kerry in the 1960 All-Ireland Football Final. The following year an all-time record was reached when Down beat Offaly in the All-Ireland Football Final before 90,556 fans. After 1961 development of the grounds slowed.
In the 1980’s a grand plan for the entire redevelopment of Croke Park was set in train. This redevelopment was staged in four phases starting in 1993 with a new Cusack Stand and culminating in 2005 with a new Hill 16. The redevelopment was completed in just over 12 years with no disruptions to any All-Ireland Finals. Today Croke Park is one of the largest stadiums in Europe and is the crowning glory of the Association.
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