The Croke Park Etihad Skyline Tour is Dublin's newest attraction! We spoke to Mark Dorman, the GAA Museum Director at Croke Park, to find out about the new exciting addition to Croke Park!
First of all Mark, tell us a little bit about your role at the GAA museum here in the historic Croke Park?
I’m the Museum Director so I look after museum and stadium tours. We recently did a complete refurbishment of the museum so it brought our offering right up to date! The GAA Museum was established to commemorate, recognise and celebrate the GAA's enormous contribution to Irish sporting, cultural and social life since its foundation in 1884. The Etihad Skyline Tour has just opened to public and is a fantastic new addition to Croke Park Stadium. During the Etihad Skyline Tour, visitors are accompanied by an experienced tour guide, visitors will ascent to a walkway 44 metres above the ground to take in panoramic views of the Irish capital and find out more about Dublin’s key landmarks. The Etihad Skyline includes stops at five viewing platforms along Croke Park’s 0.6km rooftop walkway. Each stop gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the highlighted buildings and sites in their line of vision through multi-lingual audio guides.
The audio guides will add significantly to the visitor experience, and they have some really excellent content, including contribution from a numbers of the visitor sites themselves.
The Etihad Skyline Tour is certainly a wonderful addition to Dublin! Tell us about this exciting new tour?
As you can see we’re 43 metres high so we are at one of the highest points in Dublin. I suppose one of the great things about Dublin is that it is a really low lying city; you can’t see any hills. So when you’re up here you get a full 360 degree view of Dublin! It’s really incredible and I think one of the difficulties we had, was trying to decide what to actually leave out of the tour because there is just so much to see. You can literally see all of Dublin from the Skyline Tour.
The Etihad Skyline tour launched In June. Are you expecting high demand over the summer months?
Certainly our weekends are selling out. So we are recommending people go on to our website to book in advance.
The Skyline Tour offers incredible views across the whole of Dublin! Which part of the tour offers your favourite view?
We’re here on platform 4 so you’ve got the unique walk out over the pitch which is not for the faint hearted! That extends 6 metres over the pitch, so in terms of views over the stadium, it’s incredible. In terms of viewing the city, platform 3 is definitely my favourite. That view has all of old Dublin. On this platform, you’re looking at a much more industrial landscape and into the Docklands, which is a really interesting view as well. But in terms of the real Dublin, platform 3 has it all from Trinity College, to Dublin Castle, to The Four Courts, Christchurch Cathedral, the Spire, Guinness Brewery, and the Phoenix Park to name only a view. The difficulty is that there is so much to see!
The Tour is almost like Dublin’s equivalent of the views from Paris’s Eiffel Tower or New York’s Empire State! Do you think the Croke Park Skyline Tour offers the best views of Dublin City?
Yeah I think the great thing about Croke Park is that it’s so close to the city. We’re 3km from the city centre and you can see as you walk around you can see all of the sights. When people come up here they see the whole of Dublin and decide ‘where I’d really like to go now in Dublin is…’. So that’s what we are hoping that the Etihad Skyline Tour has packaged all of Dublin so people can come up here and pick their favourite site.
Do you think those who are scared of heights would be able to handle the tour?
Absolutely! As you can see it’s a really safe structure. It’s all built around safety as you’re harnessed on. There is a little bit of a thrill when you go out on the pitch walk but it’s all about safety. I think it’s actually a good thing to deal with your fear of heights.
So I take it you’re not scared of heights?!
No no! As part of staff training, staff had to abseil from the Skyline tour platform down to the pitch! So if you had any fear of heights that was taken care of.
Will the tour be open to the public during matches and concerts?
Certainly not for concerts because they’re in the evening and our last tour has to be off the roof at 6.
We will be looking at having the Skyline Tour on offer during the morning of matches. In the afternoon though as we are a stadium, we’re all about the matches and the tour is a secondary activity. Croke Park is all about the games.
Lastly, Other than visiting the GAA Museum and doing the Etihad Skyline Tour, what would you recommend any visitor to Dublin do?!
That’s a hard one. I suppose I’ve spent so much time in the last few months in terms of reading up for the Skyline Tour audio and souvenir booklet on all the sights seen from the Skyline Tour. A standout sight for me would be Kilmainham Gaol.
Visit the Etihad Skyline Tour at Croke Park www.skylinecrokepark.ie
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