Aviva Stadium is one of many stadiums around the world which had received criticism before it was even built. However, this criticism was an unusual one. Many people thought the stadium was just too small, with a current capacity of 51,700 people. Supporters felt with the large international audience and games it should have been built to a comparable size of Dublin’s Croke Park, which has a capacity of 73,500 spectators.
Aviva Stadium History – Lansdowne Road
Aviva Stadium was initially known as Lansdowne Road Stadium. It was a concept brought to life by Henry William Dunlop. Henry was an exceptional athlete and student at Trinity College in Dublin. When he finished his studies, the college informed him that he could no longer use the grounds there. Therefore, he founded and developed the multi-sports facility known as Lansdowne Road Stadium in 1872.
The original Lansdowne Road Stadium included a cricket pitch, a croquet green, a track for athletics, facilities for archery and lawn tennis, and three football pitches. The first rugby match played here was in December 1876. It was an interprovincial game between Leinster and Ulster. The first international rugby game was held in 1878, and the facility soon became correlated with ruby. In 1981 Ireland played France with the largest crowd in stadium history with 53,000 spectators. This record will not be beaten due to the current capacity of 51,700. In its old life as the Lansdowne Road Stadium, it was the oldest sports stadium in Europe.
The New Aviva Stadium
In 2007 the old Lansdowne Road Stadium was demolished. It took three years to build the new stadium at the cost of 410 million euros; 190 million euros was given by the government. During this time games and events were held at Croke Park. Before the new stadium was built, it was already receiving criticism from its supporters for being too small. Its capacity is 51,700 people compared to Croke Park’s 73,500.
The bowl shape stadium has four levels on three sides. The fourth side – The North Stand – contains only one level of seating and it is surrounded with glass to connect to the fourth level of its counterparts. The wave-like design of the building was created to allow the surrounding homes to receive sunlight.
The first and fourth levels are for general access. The second level is for season ticket holders and is considered premium tickets. The third level contains 36 corporate boxes and the television studio boxes. The North Stand is for the away team during international games.
The two dressing rooms in the building are the same with two exceptions. One, the home dressing room contains a large screen used for tactics and analysis. Each player wears a GPS tracker to see the distance they have gone and how many hits they have taken. Secondly, the home dressing room contains a more extensive shower area and two large pools – the away team has porcelain baths. One of these pools is a cold 5°C, and the other is heated to 36°C. Players go into the cool one first for five minutes, then into the warm one for five minutes, then return to the cool one for an additional five minutes. They say this method takes approximately three days off recovery time.
The stadium contains a 190-seat publicity area with the second-fastest Wi-Fi in Ireland. Within this space is a 160-seat conference room for journalists plus a soundproof room for production and two additional rooms for language translation.
Famous Entertainers At Aviva Stadium
Aviva Stadium has also hosted some of the world’s best-known artists including Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Celine Dion, Rihanna, Bon Jovi, U2, and many others. Michael Bublé holds the largest attendance record for his two-day Crazy Love Tour in 2010 with 95,895 people in attendance.
Some Interesting Facts about Aviva Stadium
- The pitch is 3% artificial and 97% real grass. Therefore, there are no more than two concerts a year here. Unlike Croke Park that uses roll-out turf, Aviva Stadium cannot do so because with rugby the turf would get pulled up and destroyed.
- They use specialized lawnmowers to cut the grass. It takes six people, 4 – hours to cut the grass every two days in the summer and every four days in the winter.
- A company from The Netherlands comes over once a year to clean all the glass – it takes two weeks.
- Aviva Stadium contains the highest seat in Ireland, two meters higher than Croke Park.
Other Activities in Dublin
There are many things to do in and around Dublin. Some of my favorite places I visited in Dublin are listed below.
Shelborne Spa Brookwood Restaurant Hugo's Restaurant Cliffs of Moher - Get your Cliffs of Moher Tour Tickets here. Guinness Store Tour – Get your skip the line ticket with a FREE Pint here. Teeling Distillery – Get your Whisky distillery Tour and Tasting Ticket here.