Ireland’s first game in the Six Nations Rugby 2008 will be against a resurgent Italy who had a cracking game against the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup. If you’re planning to travel to Dublin for Ireland’s opening game, which is being held in Croke Park, then you really should check out our guide to the big match and the venue itself. And if you’re visiting Dublin for the weekend, we’ve got a list of Dublin hotels that are close to the action!
Croke Park has been the home of the GAA since way back in 1884. It’s the largest sports stadium in Ireland and, until recently, only played host to Gaelic games, though there have been times in the past when “Croker” has been used for concerts, visiting American Football games and in 2003 the Special Olympics. However, since Lansdowne Road is currently under renovation, and will be until at least 2009, the Irish home rugby matches will be played in Croke Park. Croke Park is the 4th largest sports stadium in the EU and is also the biggest stadium of the 6 Nations.
Croke Park is located in the northside of Dublin between Drumcondra and Ballybough. If you’re travelling from the city centre you’ll be able to find the stadium easily enough. On big game days you can simply follow the rest of the sports fans who are making the journey on foot. Simply head north from the top of O’Connell Street and along Parnell Square East. Turn right along Great Denmark Street, and keep going straight, as the road becomes Gardiner Place, Fitzgibbon Street, Russell Street and finally Jones Road where you can find the GAA Stadium. From O’Connell Street it’s no more than a 25 minute walk, which is not too bad.
Croke Park is well serviced by public transport links as well. Both the DART and the Red Line Luas stop at Connelly Station, which is just a few kilometres from the GAA Grounds. After leaving Connelly Station you can simply head north along Amiens Street and turn left onto Portland Row. This road becomes the North Circular Road but you can turn right on Russell Street, which becomes Jones Road where you’ll find Croke Park.
If you’re planning on driving to Croke Park, then it should be noted that there are no parking facilities at or near the stadium, so you’ll have to find parking elsewhere (possibly leave the car at your hotel) and then take one of the public transport options to the stadium or if you have chosen one of our hotels below, you will be within walking distance.
Ireland Vs Italy will be the first game of the 2008 championship, in what will be the 9th edition of the Rugby Six Nations (it has been 9 years since Italy joined what was called the 5 Nations). Italy has been getting better and better over the years, achieving their first away win (against Scotland) in 2007. In their following match, where they beat Wales in Rome, it was their first time winning two games back to back.
This should be a great tournament as half the teams qualified for the second rounds of the recent World Cup. Scotland went out to Argentina in the quarterfinals. France, beat the All Blacks but lost out to England in the semi. England then went to the finals but was beaten by an unstoppable South Africa. Both Ireland and Wales crashed out in spectacular fashion, with Ireland losing to France and Argentina and Wales losing to Fiji. Italy barely missed out on the quarterfinals when they lost by only 2 points to Scotland!
This game will be held on the 2nd of February at 2pm. Other fixtures on the same weekend include England Vs Wales and on the Sunday, Scotland Vs France. As this is the first game for both teams, they’ll both be looking to hit the ground running for the 2008 campaign as they each have big games in the second week of the championships, France Vs Ireland and Italy Vs England.
No doubt you’ll want to stay around for the night after the match and take in the vibrant city centre atmosphere. And we hope the following list of Dublin hotels will help.
Located in Drumcondra there’s the 4-Star Jurys Croke Park Hotel. Well you won’t get closer than this, it’s on Jones Road, right across from Croke Park. Also located nearby there’s the 3-Star Dublin Skylon Hotel on Upper Drumcondra Road and the 3-Star Regency Hotel & Leisure Centre on the Swords Road in Whitehall.
Situated between Croke Park and the City Centre, you’ll find the 3-Star Comfort Inn Dublin Parnell Square and the 3-Star Castle Hotel on Great Denmark Street. The Dergvale Hotel is a 2-Star Dublin hotel in Gardiner Place. And located on Amiens Street, close to Connelly Station, you’ll find the 3-Star North Star Hotel.
Parnell Square is situated at the top of O’Connell Street. The Hotel Saint George is located here also. Another excellent choice on O’Connell Street is, of course, the well known 4-Star Gresham Hotel.
If you need assistance or have any queries about accommodation in Dublin just give us a shout.