Every city has a temple – to most people it is known as the stadium, where the major sports events are held. Where people gather to share the same passion. In Ireland, it is not only an iconic landmark but also the third largest stadium in Europe. Croke Park is a major Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) sports venue located in Dublin that hosts events for a number of sports. Croke Park has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over a hundred years. The entire population of Ireland, whether sports enthusiast or not, know of “Páirc an Chrócaigh” as their national stadium. To ensure reliable and efficient water services as well as a perfectly green pitch they rely on the expertise of the leading pump and pumping system manufacturer Wilo.
Since 1884 the site has been used primarily by the GAA to host Gaelic games, most notably the annual All-Ireland finals in Gaelic Football and Hurling. In 1913, the GAA purchased grounds, formerly known as “Jones’ Road Sportsground”. Before that, the two plots of ground – 12 acres and 21 acres - were adjoining in private ownership. In honour of Archbishop Thomas Croke, one of the first GAA’s first patrons, the stadium was renamed to Croke Park. At this point, it only consisted out of a tribune and some grassy hills around the pitch. Due to the Easter Rising in 1916 the stadium got its internationally famous tribune, when rubble from the bombed out buildings was brought to Croke Park to construct a viewing mound for spectators at the north end. Today known as Hill 16.
Following a redevelopment programme started in the 1990s, Croke Park currently has a capacity of 82,300, making it the third largest stadium in Europe, and the largest stadium excluding those used for association football. Croke Park has also taken the approach to work towards becoming a “Greener Stadium”: “A part of our mission is working towards a greener stadium on and off the Pitch”, states Tony McGuinness, Events and Safety Manager at Croke Park Management. “Croke Park’s commitment to sustainability is brought to every level within the organisation with all staff playing their part to ensure our goals. Efficient pump operation helps us to reduce our impact on the environment. This is why we rely on Wilo Ireland.” Wilo Ireland Service Department carries out the maintenance to the various booster sets, pressurisation units and circulating pumps on site. They are the preferred pump supplier and pump maintenance provider with Croke Park Management and with Haughton and Young Limited who maintain the water services due to the high quality, high efficiency, green product focus and the high level of service back up provided by Wilo Ireland as required by the client.
Ongoing service for high-efficiency
“We’ve now upgraded almost 20 booster systems to high efficiency models, based on energy calculations we’ve done for the customer in advance. This is a part of an overall investment in energy solutions in recent years”, explains Derek Elton, Managing Director Wilo Ireland. “Our Service department has been extensively involved with the replacement, commissioning and maintenance of all high efficiency booster sets in the stadium with some requiring complete disassembly and reassembly in position due to access restrictions.” The maintenance contract is with Haughton and Young (H&Y) who are a large Dublin based mechanical contractor, who have also undertaken a complete water management conservation programme for the stadium. H&Y hold the maintenance contract with Croke Park for all building services facilities and engage Wilo Ireland on maintenance of the pumping equipment on an annual basis. “Caring about our customer is an ongoing process. So every year, we provide service on all products in the six plant rooms for an ongoing maintenance and for the ideal energy saving capabilities”, says Paul Young Director H&Y.
The high efficieny variable speed booster set type range Wilo COR-HELIXVE-VR takes care of all water services requirements, hot and cold as well as the pitch irrigation system. Major sporting stadia around the world that rely on real grass as opposed to reliance on ‘plastic’ pitches, depend on excellent watering and drainage to maintain the rich green carpet like grass surface that is so important to the major games played and they depend on high quality pumps to ensure that the water they need is provided at an even pressure to ensure that the whole pitch can benefit from the water provided with equal coverage.
Pitch Irrigation booster
“The pitch irrigation system is clearly of utmost importance. It is essential that the irrigation sprinklers receive the correct water volume at constant pressure to ensure even water distribution on watering the pitch to avoid shading of the pitch surface, which was the criteria for the upgrade”, says Derek Elton. “It was also essential that the booster unit responded automatically to the number of sprinklers in operation at any one time, with maximum efficiency both electrically and hydraulically.” Wilo continues to be a vital cog in the maintenance machine that ensures Croke Park stays at its best for the events held there during the year. It’s a role it plays at a number of important sports grounds and is key in ensuring the quality of the green sward that greets spectators arriving at the ground and TV viewers switching on to watch the games. For more information on the Wilo equipment that plays a small major part in so many sporting events, visit www.wilo.co.uk.
Product types in various locations and Plant Rooms in Croke Park:
Wilo- COR-3MVIE1605-6/VR-EB-RI DM
System Pressurisation Equipment
Wilo-COMFORT P225 series
Wilo-COMFORT 225 DIGITAL series
High Efficiency Pump Types
Wilo-CronoLine-IL and DL Series
Hot Water Secondary Circulation
Wilo Stratos Z Range