- Walk out of the tunnel and onto the sidelines of a major sports facility. Look up at the 50,000 seats and imagine a roaring crowd
- Peak behind the scenes of a modern stadium and see the facilities that elite athletes use to get game-ready and the media room where the press ask the tough questions
- Learn about the sporting history of Ireland’s national rugby and soccer teams
Though a small nation, and often wearing the mantle of underdog, the Irish are sports mad. They come to the Aviva to pay homage to their rugby and soccer teams. This may be a gleaming new stadium, but it has a sporting heritage dating all the way back to the 1800s. This tour will open the door to the Irish sporting landscape.
The stadium opened in 2010 and is considered one of Europe’s finest. It has a distinctively odd elliptical shape – it’s located in one of Dublin’s most affluent areas and they had to accommodate the neighbors by keeping one of the sides incredibly low.
The tour will allow you to emulate Brian O’Driscoll – Irish rugby’s all-time great – by strolling through the tunnel and entering onto the field itself. Gaze up at 50,000 seats and then stroll along the touchline like a sporting general. Go ahead and shout some instructions - everybody wants to.
You’ll get to see the behind-the-scenes machinery of a world-class facility. You’ll visit the impressive media center, and the home dressing room. Sir Alex Ferguson described the medical center here as the finest he had ever seen, and you’ll also get to view the innovative indoor practice area where footballers can practice taking penalties.
If all this sounds very modern, the site also boasts a proud history. Before the Aviva there was the beloved, but very rickety, Lansdowne Road stadium. It was built here by Victorian gentlemen in 1872.
There’s plenty of memorabilia to bring the old times to mind. You’ll see one of the oldest rugby jerseys in the world, an Irish national one dating from 1899. The round ball is represented here too – you’ll see articles from the likes of Lionel Messi and Pele, two South American maestros of the beautiful game.
NOT LOST IN TRANSLATION: Though Americans refer to “soccer” and the British to “football”, the Irish use both terms. They have a native sport called Gaelic Football, and will sometimes refer to “soccer” to help distinguish the two.
65-79 Lansdowne Rd, Dublin, Ireland
- English guided tour around the stadium
- Show your mobile ticket at the entrance
- Train: From Dublin city center, visitors to Aviva Stadium can take the DART southbound from Pearse Station on Westland Row, Tara St Station or Connolly Station
- Bus: From the city center take the 4, 7 and 8 from O'Connell Street and O'Connell Bridge to Ballsbridge