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Shelbourne
Tolka Park

Capacity: 6.000 (All Seated)
Address:
Richmond Road, Dublin 3
Main Telephone No: (+353) 1 837 5536
Team Nickname: Shels
Year Ground Opened: 1953
Pitch Size: 110 x 75 yards
Home Kit Colours: Red and White
Official Web Site:
www.shelbournefc.ie





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Contents
What's Tolka Park Like?
External View
(photo)
Future Developments
Visiting Supporters
Main Stand
(photo)
Where To Drink?
Riverside Stand (photo)
How To Get There And Where To Park
West Stand
(photo)
By Train Or Bus
Admission Prices
Scoreboard End
(photo)
Programme Price
Local Rivals
Ground Layout
Fixtures 2013
Record & Average Attendance
Hotel Accommodation
Tolka Park Location Map


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What's Tolka Park Like?

Without wishing to sound too cliché a visit to Tolka Park is a unique experience but the ground itself faces an uncertain future. Located in the Drumcondra District in the North suburbs of Dublin, not far from Croke Park GAA Stadium the ground finds itself hemmed in by the River Tolka and the residential streets of Richmond Road and Grace Park Road. Approaching the ground from the bustling shopping street of Drumcondra Road Lower the stadium emerges from behind a row of Victorian terrace houses  and low level flats to the right side of Richmond Road. Here, opposite the playing field and Drumcondra FC changing room hut we find the Main Stand, with its whitewashed stone walls and red barrel roof boldly displaying Shelbourne's club colours.

Tolka Park itself is owned by Dublin City Council  and Shelbourne are just one of seven football clubs to use the ground since its opening in 1953. Shelbourne moved to the ground in 1989 to take up a long term lease previously held by Home Farm FC. Stepping through the turnstiles to the right of the stand we emerge on the West side, known as the Drumcondra End. This end of the ground has always been a narrow wedge of land shaped by both the post-war housing on Richmond Road and a bend in the River Tolka. To the credit of Shelbourne FC a new stand was constructed soon after the club became tenants, and this box shaped cantilever roofed stand makes the most of the land available, with a single deck of red seats elevated above the ground floor players dressing rooms. Every seat offers an unobstructed view of the pitch, and despite being only half the width of the pitch it is a cauldron of noise on matchdays as it houses Shelbourne's most vocal supporters. The stand also has executive boxes and a stadium control room at the top of the seating deck.

Looking to the left from the Drumcondra End the Main Stand runs almost the full length of the pitch and has a deck of modern red plastic seats raised above a narrow paddock, with a pair of perspex dug outs on the pitch centre line somehow squeezed in along the touchline. There are a number of columns along the front of the stand which may impede your view of the pitch however with the low roof you will always stay dry in the rain and the slightly claustrophobic nature of this side of the ground means you always feel like you could reach out and touch the players from the bottom row of seats. Looking to the right from the Drumcondra End the Riverside Stand is also shaped by the curving path of the River Tolka, as can be seen from the tapering open ends of blue and yellow plastic seats. The stand, formerly a steep pitch length terrace is built on a concrete base raised above the river bank, with the whitewashed rear boundary wall being a good few metres above the river level. Despite this the pitch suffered extensive damage due to flooding in 2000, which has burdened the club with increased insurance costs. The stand as it looks today still has a central covered section though this has been altered since Shelbourne's tenancy with the installation of a new television gantry. The roof also has five supporting columns which, along with the pitch side floodlight pylons, may impede your view of the game. The colourful seats on this side are bolted to the concrete steps with around 21 rows beneath the roof, extending to 24 rows on the flanking open blocks before tapering down to both corners. The current stadium capacity is stated as 9,680 all seated however this has been restricted to 6,000 for modern Health and Safety requirements.

Looking across the pitch to the far side the Ballybough End has an unusual modern electronic scoreboard in front of the toilet block and old clubhouse building, with a large shallow open seating deck leading up to the corner of the Riverside Stand. The seating on this side has suffered more than most in recent years so it’s no surprise this side of the ground has now been closed, drastically reducing the seating capacity. Looking at the ground as a whole, Tolka Park is one of the mostly colourful and charismatic stadiums in the Irish Republic, with its stands so close to the pitch it ranks amongst the best places to watch football in the country. However nothing lasts forever, and with the club in serious financial trouble in 2006 it had no choice but to sell Tolka Park to a local businessman in order to stay afloat. With the club still keeping its head above the water through gate receipts, shirt sponsorship and merchandise sales, Shelbourne are assisted by a dedicated team of volunteers who are keeping the club going, nevertheless the future of Tolka Park is out of their hands.

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External View

Tolka Park Dublin External
                    View

Future Developments
Tolka Park is unlikely to see any changes in the future. As with Bohemian's Dalymount Park the continued existence of the stadium is partly due to the worldwide recession making building new houses or retail parks on the stadium site financially unviable at the moment.Re-locating to a new stadium in either Swords (a town to the North of Dublin Airport) or Finglas (north of Tolka Valley Park) has been discussed since 2006 as has ground-sharing at Dalymount Park.

Visiting Supporters
As far as we are aware for local derbies with Shamrock Rovers, Bohemian and St Patricks Athletic away fans are allocated the Riverside Stand which is accessed from the Richmond Road turnstiles to the right of the Main Stand. Most fans congregate under the covered central section of the stand,and though there are a couple of columns and the pitch side floodlight pylons which may impede the view of the pitch the stand roof is low enough to keep you dry on a rainy day as well as allowing fans to get a good atmosphere going. For all other league fixtures there is no segregation so away fans can mix in with home fans for a bit of light hearted banter.

Main Stand


  Main Stand Tolka Park

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Where To Drink?
As Tolka Park sits between the River Tolka and Residential Housing there is nothing in the immediate surroundings, however walk 5 minutes to the West along Richmond Road and you will find a good selection of pubs, eating places and convenience stores around Drumcondra Railway Station.

Riverside Stand


  Riverside Stand Tolka Park

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How To Get There And Where To Park
From the North:
Follow the M1 Southbound past Dublin Airport,the road then becomes the N1at Santry.Keep following the N1 towards Dublin City Centre. You will see the entrance gates to Home Farm fc on the right hand side. Shelbourne fc advise that there are free car parks in operation on matchdays but to get to them you need to turn left at the next crossroads into Griffith Avenue, then right into Grace Park Road. This will lead you into the Ballybough End of Tolka Park,with turnstiles for all parts of the ground at the rear of the barrel roofed old Main Stand.

From the West:
Follow the N4 from Lucan towards the West suburbs of Dublin. At the M50 Junction 7 join the motorway and head north, exiting at Junction 6.Turn right and head towards Dublin on the N3 Navan Road. You will see Phoenix Park on the right hand side then as the road kinks round to the left you will then see the spire of St Peters Church on the right hand side with the floodlights of Bohemian's Dalymount Park
on the left. Continue over the next crossroads then at the following crossroads turn left onto the N1 Drumcondra Road Lower, passing beneath the railway bridge of Drumcondra Station. Turn right into Richmond Road.Tolka Park is on the right hand side with turnstiles for all parts of the ground at the rear of the barrel roofed old Main Stand. 

From the South:
Follow the N11 from Bray into the South suburbs of Dublin. Once past Donnybrook Rugby Ground you may find it quickest to use Dublin's Outer Orbital Route rather than continue towards the busy Saint Stephens Green,Dublin Castle,River Liffey and City Centre Shopping area route. To do this turn left at Junction 54 onto Grand Parade which runs alongside the canal. Continue on the road to Junction 64 at Phoenix Park then turn left at Junction 65 into Infirmary Road. Follow the North Circular Road to the right and head away from Pheonix Park. Once you have reached Junction 67 turn left into Old Cabra Road, then at the crossroads turn right into the N3 Cabra Road. You will then see the floodlights of Bohemian's Dalymount Park on the left. Continue over the next crossroads then at the following crossroads turn left onto the N1 Drumcondra Road Lower, passing beneath the railway bridge of Drumcondra Station.Turn right into Richmond Road. Tolka Park is on the right hand side with turnstiles for all parts of the ground at the rear of the barrel roofed old Main Stand.

Car Parking
Shelbourne FC advise there is a free car park in Leydens Cash & Carry on Richmond Road but have also advised against fans parking in the nearby cul-de-sac residential roads of Grace Park Gardens or Grace Park Avenue. 

Map showing the location of the Tolka Park Stadium
(at the bottom of this page).

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West Stand

New Stand
                    Tolka Park

By Train Or Bus
The nearest station is Drumcondra which is situated just under a mile from the ground. It is served by trains from Dublin Connolly which a three minute train ride away. Dublin Connolly can be reached by tram via the red line.

As you come out of Drumcondra station turn left and walk along this road for around half a mile. Cross over to the other side of the road. After crossing the Tolka River turn right into Richmond Road and the ground is down on the right.

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Admission Prices

To be advised.

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Scoreboard End

Scoreboard End Tolka Park
Programme Price
Official Programme €3

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Local Rivals
Although Dublin and Tallaght are 6 miles apart Shelbourne's historical rivalry is with Shamrock Rovers, since both clubs were originally formed in the neighbouring IrishTown and Ringend area's close to Dublin Harbour. Bohemian and St Patrick's Athletic are also seen as rivals as they are established Premier Division Clubs. University College Dublin are not seen as rivals as they are yet to really established themselves as a Premier Division outfit.Geographically speaking Drumcondra and Home Farm are the nearest football clubs but as they are lower down the league structure they have more of a friendly rivalry with Shelbourne.

Ground Layout

Tolka Park Ground Layout

Fixtures 2013
League Of Ireland Premier League Fixtures (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

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Record And Average Attendance

Record Attendance:
To be advised.

Average Attendance:
2012-2013:
To be advised.

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Hotel Accommodation
If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They have a huge choice of places to stay and their booking facility is straightforward to use.  Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going.

Visit their Dublin Hotels and Guest Houses page.


Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in the UK or abroad.


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Map Showing The Location Of Tolka Park In Dublin

Instructions for using the map:
- Use the bar on the left of the map to zoom in / out using the + / - keys.
- Click and drag an area of the map to move around or use the up/down, left/right arrows 
- Click the Satellite button to see aerial view photograph.




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Feedback
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me duncan@footballgroundguide.com and I'll update the guide



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Copyright Owen Pavey 2013
All rights reserved
Last Updated :
12 July 2013