For generations of Dubliners, Hill 16 is the only place to be in Croke Park to support the Dublin GAA teams but now the famous terrace is to be pulled down.
Officially called Dineen/Hill 16, the Hill is a terrace on the railway end of Croke Park where Dublin GAA supporters gathered to cheer on their teams. It is part named for Frank Dineen, from Ballylanders, County Limerick, a GAA member who purchased the grounds for the Gaelic Athletic Association from his own personal funds in 1908.
The Hill 16 part of the name is not quite so straightforward. For many years it was assumed that Hill 16 was built on the rubble of Sackville (now O’Connell) Street, following its destruction in the 1916 Rising.
However, the terrace that is now the Hill was in fact completed in 1915, in time for that year’s All-Ireland finals, and originally called Hill 60, from a hill in Gallipoli where the Irish regiments in the British army fought in 1915.
It was not until the 1930s that this name, associated with Ireland’s time as part of the British Empire, was deemed unsuitable. The story of the Hill being built from the ruins of Sackville Street began to circulate, and Hill 16 entered the consciousness of the nation. It became as integral to Dubliners as the song ‘Molly Malone’, and for many, it was the only place to be in Croke Park when the Dubs were playing,
Never been anywhere else in Croke Park in my life, only in Hill 16. Since 1939.
Regardless of which side of the story you take, the last Dublin match viewed from the Hill is an emotional day for Dublin supporters. Former Dublin manager Kevin Heffernan described the day to Charlie Bird as,
Tinged with sadness, for the big changes that are going to come. I think for many, many years, this has been the home of Dublin supporters, and it’s like the loss of a friend.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 January 1988. The reporter is Charlie Bird.