On Saturday 23rd February, the fun-loving Scottish rugby fans are due to invade Dublin for the Ireland vs Scotland, Six Nations Rugby 2008 game in Croke Park. Prepare for a weekend of bagpipes, kilts and a truly magical atmosphere as rugby followers take to the streets for a few days of partying. Check out our guide to the big game itself along with details on the stadium, how to get there, etc. And we’ve also sussed out Dublin hotels that are close to Croke Park.
Croke Park is the largest sports stadium in Ireland and has been the home of the GAA since 1884. It only recently opened its gates to soccer and rugby, however in the past it did host a number of concerts, visiting American Football games and in 2003 the Special Olympics. ‘Croker’ as it’s often referred to is quite an impressive stadium, being the 4th largest in Europe and the biggest venue of the Six Nations. At the moment Lansdowne Road, the home of Irish soccer and ruby, is closed due to renovations. This makeover isn’t due for completion until at least 2009, so until then Ireland’s home games will be played at Croke Park.
Croke Park is located to the north of the city centre between Drumcondra and Ballybough. If you’re staying in one of the Dublin hotels in the city centre it’s easy enough to get to ‘Croker’. On big game days the easiest thing to do is follow the crowd – it’s only about a 25 minute walk. From the top of O’Connell Street head north along Parnell Square East. Take a right onto Great Denmark Street, and continue along as the road becomes Gardiner Place, Fitzgibbon Street, Russell Street and eventually Jones Road where the stadium is located.
If you’re depending on public transport a number of bus routes, the DART and the Red Luas Line will take you to within walking distance of Croke Park. Firstly bus numbers 11, 11A, 16, 16A and 41 all go from O’Connell Street (near the GPO) to Drumcondra. Both the DART and the Red Line Luas stop at Connelly Station. From here head north along Amiens Street and take a left onto Portland Row. This road becomes the North Circular Road but you can turn right onto Russell Street, which becomes Jones Road.
If you’re driving to Dublin for the match just be aware that there isn’t any parking in and around Croke Park. Bearing this in mind you might like to choose a Dublin hotel with parking facilities.
Ireland Vs Scotland is the middle game of the championship for both of these Celtic Nations. Both teams will have faced France in the previous two games so they should both know at this stage whether or not they will be competing for the championship or even the Grand Slam. Neither country has won either in the Six Nations, though Scotland did deny Ireland a Grand Slam in 2001. Scotland at least won the final Five Nations competition in 1999 before the introduction of Italy.
In the recent World Cup, Scotland went into the second round having competed in a very tough group with both New Zealand and Italy. They qualified at the expense of Italy, getting vengeance for having lost to Italy in the 2007 Six Nations. But in the quarterfinal they were beaten by Argentina after a very brave performance, which let Argentina enter their first ever Rugby World Cup Semi-Final.
The game will be taking place on Saturday the 23rd of February. Kick-off will be at 5pm, so be sure to head for the game early. The other game on that Saturday is the Wales Vs Italy game in Cardiff with a kick-off at 3pm. On Sunday the game will be between France and England, which will also be of interest to Scotland and Ireland as both will have to play against England in the last two weeks of the contest.
There are several Dublin hotels located near Croke Park and in the city centre if you fancy staying around for the night.
The closest hotel to Croke Park is the 4-Star Jurys Croke Park Hotel on Jones Road – it’s actually right across the road. Other hotels in Drumcondra include the 3-Star Dublin Skylon Hotel on Upper Drumcondra Road and the 3-Star Regency Hotel & Leisure Centre on the Swords Road in Whitehall.
The Dergvale Hotel is a 2-Star hotel in Gardiner Place and is ideal if you’re on a budget while the 3-Star North Star Hotel is situated on Amiens Street. This hotel is convenient to Connelly Station and is ideal if you’re train is arriving here.
Wherever you stay we hope you enjoy the match and if you need any help booking one of our Dublin hotels just let us know.