The highly respected “Inside the Games” website says that the Olympic Torch is set to be abseiled off the roof of Croke Park in Dublin next year as part of its historic visit to Ireland.
It will be the most dramatic event of the Torch’s 24-hour detour into Ireland on June 6, when it will be carried in a relay format from Newry to Dublin and back by a selection of sports stars and celebrities. The Croke Park event is timed for 10 a.m according to “Inside The Games” sources.
As SportsNewsIreland has reported over the past year, the plan for the Torch to visit Ireland awaits formal ratification from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but that is expected shortly.
It is understood that Patrick Hickey, the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), met recently in Dublin with the Assistant Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, the Assistant Commissioner of the PSNI and the Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, which has responsibility for
overall security for the Torch relay.
“When the London 2012 organisers came here to discuss a route they were looking for something spectacular,” Hickey is reported as saying.
“I had read that Croke Park were starting roof-top tours next year and suggested it as a possibility and they were particularly taken with the idea, especially because of the Queen’s visit.”
For some time now, Croke Park has been planning on introducing commercial ‘roof-top tours’ – and the first of these is due to take place, on St Patrick’s Day 2012, with several adventure-style options.
These will include abseiling off the roof and zip-lining from it on to Hill 16, an experience that should appeal to thrill-seeking supporters.
Other plans already discussed, for the Torch Relay , as we informed readers earlier this year, would include boxer Wayne McCullough handing over the Torch as it leaves Northern Ireland to enter the Republic.
McCullough, who carried the Irish flag during the Opening Ceremony at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and won a silver medal in the bantamweight division at Barcelona in 1992, will hand the Torch to Barcelona welterweight Gold medal winner, Michael Carruth during a special ceremony outside Newry.
The Torch is then likely to move on to OCI’s headquarters.
“It will then fast-forward down to Dublin where it will kick off at our headquarters in Howth and then it will start really at the Garden of Remembrance,” Hickey said.
‘The torch will move down O’Connell Street and into the financial services district and from there into the Sheriff Street area.
It will then cross to the south side of the city via the Samuel Beckett Bridge and up towards the Dáil on the Merrion Square side’.
“Inside the Games” goes on to say that ‘from there it will angle over towards the Grand Canal via Baggott Street and travel up the canal towards Harold’s Cross.
The nominated carriers will then turn back towards the city taking a route by Christ Church Cathedral and Dame Street, travelling towards the front gates of Trinity College Dublin, from where it will move up Grafton Street and on to St Stephen’s Green.
Moving across Stephen’s Green to the Shelbourne Hotel, it will turn back towards Merrion Square again’.
‘The visit of the Torch to Croke Park will be particularly symbolic because in November 1920 it was the scene of a massacre by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), who, supported by the British Auxiliary Division entered the ground during a Dublin-Tipperary Gaelic football match, shooting indiscriminately and killing 14 people, including Tipperary’s captain, Michael Hogan’.