Croke Park to get zippy with it
Aiming high: Croke Park director Peter McKenna says plans are proceeding to have a zipwire installed from the roof of the Canal End down to the pitch in front of Hill 16 and this will be “operational for 2014”. photograph: alan betson
Either Dublin or Kerry will fall from a height at Croke Park this Sunday when the old enemies clash in the All-Ireland football semi final.
From next year, however, falling from a height will be a daily occurrence at the stadium.
Croke Park director Peter McKenna says it plans to install a zipwire from the roof down to pitch level, to attract thrill seeking tourists.
Punters bullish enough to have a go will be hooked up to a harness on the roof of the Canal End, a mere 17 storeys high.
Presumably after a quick prayer, the lunatics will take off at high speed on the wire, coming to a rest on the grass in front of Hill 16. No tricks; no instructor to cling on to; no way I’m trying it.
McKenna, however, believes the new attraction will help boost non-matchday visitor numbers.
Wembley stadium in London has a similar ride.
“We are looking for support from Fáilte Ireland, and that process is ongoing. We hope to start work on it this year, and to have it operational for 2014,” said McKenna.
He says the whole thing could be installed for just €100,000. Croke Park already has planning permission, and needs only an engineer’s report and safety certificates before work can begin.
Last summer, Croke Park launched its rooftop Skyline tour, sponsored by Etihad. McKenna says it helped boost tourist numbers to 100,000 annually. He has been unable, however, to convince Dublin Bus to send its city tour buses up to the stadium.
Croke Park clubbed together with the Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery, two other local tourist attractions, to commission PricewaterhouseCoopers to compile a report on its bus proposal. It was sent last December to Dublin Bus and Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Transport. So far, no dice.
They should threaten to catapult the Minister off the roof on the zipwire if he can’t convince Dublin Bus to play ball.