Carrick Rangers

Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena

Capacity: 5,000
Address: Carrickfergus, County Antrim, BT38 7HL
Telephone: 0771 3103746
Pitch Size: 105 x 68 yards
Pitch Type: Artificial 3G
Club Nickname: The Gers
Year Ground Opened: To be advised
Home Kit: Amber and Black

Main Stand
Main Stand
Main Stand and Carrickfergus End
Main Stand and Carrickfergus End
Carrickfergus End
Carrickfergus End
Taylors Avenue End
Taylors Avenue End
External View
External View

The town of Carrickfergus is a well-known tourist destination, largely thanks to its Norman Castle and modern harbour. The football stadium lies one mile to the east of the town centre, and sits uncomfortably between the Belfast to Larne railway line, a number of training pitches and a hospital complex. Because of its surroundings, access to the ground is limited to one side,the Taylors Avenue End where a tall breezeblock wall is punctuated by colourful artistic silhouettes on a painted background, alongside a bold modern text rendition “share a passion, share a dream, share a community, share a future” flanking the club crest in the colours of amber and black. The main entrance /exit gates and turnstiles can also be found on this side. Entering through the turnstiles spectators arrive behind the goal on a flat expanse of concrete. Looking to the left a flat expanse of concrete leads to a fenced off area-this is the site of the former Social Club, which was destroyed in a fire at the end of 2010. 

Looking to the far end of the ground, with the tall spire of Carrickfergus church in the background is a low covered terrace which is given to away fans. Looking to the right the tall and narrow Main Stand sits on the pitch centre line, with two sets of concrete steps leading up to a raised tier of 750 blue and grey seats. The low roof is supported by a number of columns, but with glazed screen ends the stand does nevertheless keep the wind and rain out on most occasions, however, the roof line does not extend to cover the flat standing paddock in front of the stand. A cosmetic change was made at the ground a couple of years ago, resulting in the external walls of both the Main Stand and indeed the rear wall of the Taylors Avenue terrace being painted black to compliment the club’s Amber and black home colours. To the far right of the main stand, leading back to the Taylors Avenue end are two low buildings, the tea hut and toilet block. The ground is noticeable for retaining its concrete pitch perimeter wall-now painted black of course, thankfully this no longer supports intrusive fencing. However, the fences have been kept in a position immediately to the rear of the dug outs in front of the Main Stand, as well as behind the goal at the away end. The ground at present is complimented by four floodlight poles on the Main Stand and former social club sides. The stadium also has an artificial 3G playing surface.

In 2015 the Taylors Avenue ground was renamed the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, in a corporate sponsorship deal.

Away fans are allocated the Carrickfergus End, which is a low covered terrace running from corner post to corner post. There is currently no crush barriers on the steps, however the view from the top of the steps at the rear of the stand is sufficient to see over the tops of the fencing behind the goal and fans huddled at the rear of the stand should be able to take shelter from wind and rain and get a good atmosphere going.

There is a Social Club at the ground itself, which is a good thing as there are no pubs or bars in the immediate vicinity of the stadium. Otherwise it is probably best to stick to Carrickfergus town centre before arriving at the Taylors Avenue ground.

From the East
Follow the A2 from Larne and Whitehead towards Carrickfergus. Go through the centre of Carrickfergus and about half a mile before the castle in the distance on your left, turn right into Taylors Avenue. Follow the road bridge over the railway line and the ground is directly in front of you. 

From the West
Follow the A2 from Newtownabbey and Greenisland. Once in Carrickfergus continue past the castle and town centre than after half a mile take a left turn into Taylors Avenue, follow the road bridge over the railway line and the ground is directly in front of you.

Car Parking
There is a small car park inside the ground between the social club and the away covered terrace, but parking is limited to Taylors Avenue and outside the grounds of Barn United FC.

The closest railway station is Downshire which is located just over half a mile away from the Taylors Avenue football ground. It is served by trains from Belfast Central and Larne Harbour. Services are every half hour on a Saturday afternoon, and every hour on a weekday evening.

Carrickfergus Joymount Bus stop is just off the High Street and can be reached by Ulsterbus 563 from Belfast Bridge Street. There is no direct link to Carrickfergus from Antrim or Ballymena-all services run into Belfast Europa Bus Station.  

Directions from Downshire Railway Station to the ground
Around a ten minute walk. As you exit the station entrance turn left along the coast road. Take the second right (where Hazel's Newsagents is on one corner) into Taylors Avenue. Follow the road up and over the railway bridge and you will see the ground immediately over on your left.

Directions from the Joymount bus stop to the ground
Around a 15 minute walk. Walk away from the town centre and castle along the A2 Marine Highway waterside footpath. After 10 minutes walk take a left turn into Taylors Avenue. After five more minutes the road leads over the railway line, take the footbridge over the railway and the ground is directly ahead of you.

Adults £10
Concessions £7

Official Matchday Programme £2.

Larne and Ballyclare Comrades are the nearest local rivals, with North Belfast clubs Crusaders and Cliftonville being the nearest Premier League rivals.

2017-2018: 412 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2016-2017: 490 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2015-2016: 514 (Northern Ireland Premiership)

If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy 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.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, then please e-mail me at: [email protected] and I'll update the guide.

Special thanks to Owen Pavey for providing the photos and stadium layout plan of Taylors Avenue Carrick Rangers.

Carrick Rangers v Crusaders
NIFL Premiership
Tuesday 6th February 2018, 7.45
DMac (Crusaders fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Taylors Avenue Ground?
On the back of two exits from both cup competitions, it was important to get back to winning ways in the league! It had been snowing heavily, so the pitch was a sheet of white. Ground staff had been out prior to kick off trying to clear the snow off the lines etc. Definitely one of the coldest games I’ve been too!
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
I travelled via the supporters bus as normal, however the journey is fairly straightforward. About a 15/20 minute drive from Seaview so it is definitely one of the handier away days as it’s close to home. If travelling from Belfast City Centre, there are buses that go via this route around twice per hour.
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
I didn’t get any food, however, there was a burger van available. From what I saw, the food looked quite nice! Carrick Rangers don’t have a massive following, but fans mingle in together and there are no issues.
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Taylors Avenue Stadium?
I’ve been to this ground before. I do have to admit though, and I think others would agree, Carrick’s ground is by far the poorest in the league. The pitch isn’t great and is on a hill, which is clearly visible. There is one Main Stand at the far end of the pitch, and behind one end there is a sheltered standing area for fans. Around the pitch is just a wall for supporters to stand. The stadium could defiantly do with a repair job, it would be good to see!
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
Great win for Crusaders, 3-0, in very cold conditions. Which kept the supporters quiet enough, trying to keep warm!
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Getting away from the ground was quick.
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Coming away with three points is always a good day out!

Why not write your own review of Taylors Avenue Carrick Rangers and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 29th January 2019


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