THE GAA museum at Croke Park re-opens from Monday (June 29) after the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown but with capacity reduced by 75pc. All three of the main Croke Park attractions - the stadium tour, skyline tour and museum - will open with special social distancing and hygiene measures in place.
GAA museum director Niamh McCoy said it was a relief to finally get one of Ireland's top tourist attractions back opem.
"We have been really busy over the past few weeks getting ready to re-open our doors to ensure a safe and enjoyable day out for visitors.
"In line with the Government’s guidelines for Covid-19, we have implemented a range of new safety and hygiene practices, including hand sanitising stations, queuing systems and contactless payment."
Under the re-opening plan, tours in June and July will run at 25pc normal capacity - and all bookings must be made online in advance.
"Unfortunately, we can no longer accommodate walk-up ticket sales. We are also welcoming people to wear face masks if they are comfortable doing so," she said.
GAA officials also warned that, due to health control regulations, late arrivals cannot be accommodated. While the cafe and the gift shop will operate, the interactive games zone, children’s den and their multi-media devices will remain closed.
"We’re asking visitors to play by the rules and stay safe, but we want to reassure everyone that the tours will be as wonderful as ever,” she said.
Croke Park operated as a test centre during the Covid-19 crisis with 200 people a day tested at the height of the pandemic in May. The GAA Museum employs 20 and last year boasted 162,000 visitors - with one-in-three being overseas tourists.
"In addition to reducing our capacity to 25pc on tours in July, our numbers will also be heavily impacted by the drop off in international tourism," she added.
"However, we are expecting to see an increase in domestic visitors, especially GAA fans, who still want to come on their summer pilgrimage to Croke Park."
With no major GAA matches or concerts at Croke Park this year, tour operations will be able to be more fluid. As a special measure, stadium tours will be offered at a 30pc discount in July.