‘When sky blue gets dark enough,
To see the colours of the city lights.
A trail of ruby red and diamond white
Hits her like a sunrise.’
Views are goals. If, like me, you love rooftop locations and gazing across the city from atop your ivory coloured bar stool (beside the fake plastic shrubbery) then do check out the Etihad Skyline Tour in Croke Park. At DUSK!! Ok, so it’s not a bar. And they certainly do NOT serve any sort of alcoholic beverage, whatsoever, on the roof. So if nothing else, go for the views, AND the chance to freeze your bits off on a January evening. Have I sold it to you yet? Maybe the cheap as chips €15 price tag will help? And you can pop into a bar afterward!
The Etihad sponsored rooftop walk takes about 1.5 hours and is a fun way to spend a cold, clear Sunday evening. Plus, you can get your Fitbit steps in by walking from the DART or bus stop and up the 100 steps to the roof! Win! I got the 16 bus which runs from George’s St, up O’Connell St and up to Dorset St which I jumped off at the stop opposite the Big Tree pub. We ended up doing a bit of a loop around to the Cusack Stand entrance so I am sure once you get to Clonliffe Road you can take a right down to the signposted museum entrance. Our loop was rewarded by the sight of some of the cutest, brightly coloured front doors and terraced houses. My friend remarked how eerie it was walking along these now empty streets which she usually associates with loud, excited throngs of hurling and football fans on GAA game day.
The roof walk starts 17 storeys up, that’s 44m high at Europe’s third largest sporting arena. That fun fact surprised me, to be honest. I had no clue.
Tours during the week run at 11:30am and 2:30pm and cost €20 per adult and €12 per child with a 1.2m height restriction.
The best tour was the dusk option, which begins at 4pm at the weekends and tickets cost a mere €15 for adults and €10 for children.
You enter at the GAA museum entrance and your ticket includes a complimentary hot chocolate/tea or coffee. Needed since the weather up there is fr-eeeeee-zing.
Our tour guide, Magda, was cheery and full of fun facts about the stadium and historical sights from the roof.
We were brought into a changing room for our safety briefing and everyone harnessed up. You enter the tunnel and walk to the lift that brings you up 7 floors to the Cusack stand where we sat in the bleachers for a quick info session about Croke Park itself. Did I mention that as well as a skyline view of the city you are also going on a short history tour of Dublin? Well, there you go now. The guides use the landmarks visible from the rooftop to give you some historical tidbits and lessons about our nation’s capital.
There is no question of feeling unsafe at all up there as there are metal barriers on either side, plenty of walking space and the retractable roof is right below you so you have no sheer drop to stare down at. We were on the roof by 4:45/5:00 and just in time to see a wintery sun set (behind some construction cranes) below Dublin mountains.
The tour continues around the top of the stadium spying the Daniel O Connell monument in Glasnevin Cemetery, the Botanical Gardens, Liberty Hall, Guinness Storehouse, Convention Centre and Grand Canal Dock and Howth. As the city lights rise and the temperatures fall you can’t help but feel love for the city far below.
Plenty of Instagramable moments up there, for sure. I will say, on the way down there was no light on in the stadium, making the almost vertical steps down somewhat perilous and the fear of being left behind in a darkened stadium a tad unnerving. Maybe that was just me.
Our tour guide told us we could go into the museum when we reached the end of the tour. Alas, that was not true. It may be worth your while to get there early if you want to pop into the museum before the Skyline Tour begins.
All in all, hot cup of tea in hand, I would recommend the dusk tour for a fun way to spend an afternoon. If you fancy a mini history lesson and a panoramic view of the city, get your hiney to the GAA headquarters.
Tickets can be bought online so check out the website for more details.