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Rip-off hotels: GAA fans paying €324 for a one-night stay in Dublin for All Ireland quarter final weekend

GAA fans have expressed disbelief and disappointment over the cost of accommodation in Dublin ahead of this weekend’s four All-Ireland quarter finals to be played at Croke Park.

An online search by Gript found that the cheapest three-star hotel room less than 1km from the stadium for a one-night stay this weekend comes in at €324, while staying at the Croke Park Hotel on Saturday will cost you an exorbitant €409. Meanwhile, the cheapest three-star hotel just over 1km (a 10-12 minute walk) from Croke Park comes in just under €300, at €298.

Clare v Derry, Dublin v Cork, Galway v Armagh and Kerry v Mayo are the four matches set to take place this weekend – with over 100,000 people set to attend, and the GAA expected to generate €4 million from the fixtures.

The biggest crowds since pre-Covid levels are set to descend on Croke Park, a prospect which has been warmly welcomed – after last year’s All Ireland finals were limited to 50% crowd capacity, and the 2020 finals were played behind closed doors. 

Excitement, however, appears to have been somewhat dampened, as fans have expressed dismay about the cost of booking a hotel room to stay in Dublin.

Many Cork fans, put out by the ‘extortionate’ cost of staying in Dublin, pushed for Sunday’s game with Dublin to be played out of Croke Park, and it’s understood that Cork requested to have the game played at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, but Dublin refused. 

Some Cork fans, angered by the cost of accommodation, have taken to Twitter to lament the fact they won’t get home until all-hours because of the game’s 6pm throw-in time. 

One social media user said: “Cork at 6pm on a Saturday in Croke Park… either pay CRAZY overnight prices for hotels or make a 7/8 hour round trip and get home about midnight.”

Other GAA fans have blasted the prices as ‘extortionate’ and have described Croke Park’s decision to hold all the games as ‘ridiculous’ – as they criticised a lack of awareness around the cost of hotels and availability of reasonable accommodation. 

This weekend’s finals kick off with Saturday’s first game between Clare and Derry at 3.45pm, followed by the clash between Dublin and Cork at 6pm.

Sunday’s action begins with Galway v Armagh at 1.45pm, before the much-anticipated meeting between Kerry and Mayo at 4pm. 120,000 supporters are expected to attend the matches over the two days.

We did a quick online search for accommodation for Saturday night within walking distance of the stadium, and the cheapest available three-star hotel room less than 1km from Croke Park comes in at a big-budget €324 for a small double bed.

A stay at the four-star Croke Park Hotel will cost you an eye-watering €409.

Other three-star offerings on Booking.com will leave you anywhere from €346 to €389 out of pocket for a one-night stay on All Ireland quarter final weekend.

Disenchantment over the affordability of Dublin hotels comes after Tourism Minister Catherine Martin warned that the sky-high price tag for hotels and car rental in Ireland could run the risk of damaging Ireland’s reputation among international tourists.

Her comments on Wednesday coincided with a warning from travel bible Lonely Planet, which cautioned that the cost of hotels in Ireland was “wreaking havoc with holidaymaker’s budgets”. The renowned tourist guide site described the capital as being “notoriously expensive” as it noted the prices have shot up recently.

“There is a risk of damage to Ireland’s tourism offering and the promotion of Ireland as a good value destination through negative customer experience arising from the issues and challenges within the sector post-COVID,” Minister Martin said this week.

She added that it was “important that Ireland maintains its reputation as a value for money destination”.

EXTENDED STAY IN BARCELONA — OR PRICEY ICELAND — CHEAPER

To put the price of Dublin accommodation into context, a three-night stay at a three-star hotel in Barcelona costs less in the relatively expensive Spanish city. 

Barcelona, a city which is not considered costly in comparison to places like Paris or Rome – but is still regarded as relatively expensive compared to other European countries like Poland or Bulgaria – will get you much more for your money than a night in Dublin on All Ireland quarter final weekend. A search on Booking.com shows you can book a double room in a popular three-star hotel in Barcelona city centre for €340 for three nights from this Saturday.

Another hotel located in the heart of the city costs €288 euro for three nights – the hotel, rated as good on booking.com, costs €372 for a four-night stay beginning this Saturday – which is cheaper than staying in some of the three-star hotels a stone’s throw from Croke Park after one of Saturday’s fixtures.

And if you’re a soccer fan, you might fare better than a GAA supporter. With the Premier League having wrapped up last month, no direct price comparison can be done in the context of seeing a football match in the UK this weekend.

However, if you were to travel to Iceland to watch a UEFA Champions League qualifying match at Vikingur Reykjavik stadium on Friday, accommodation also comes in much cheaper than Dublin – with a four star hotel 2 miles from the stadium costing €193, and the cheapest three star options near the stadium billing in at €137, less than half the price of Dublin offerings.

It is worth noting that high-priced Iceland currently ranks as the third most expensive country in the world – and yet it’s still significantly more affordable than staying over on All Ireland quarter final weekend in Croke Park.

Combined with the rocketing cost of fuel – with diesel now over €2.10 a litre in some places – the ever-growing cost on GAA supporters is easy to see, and Dublin, rather than Croker, appears to be the problem.

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