Capacity: 10,000 (Seats 5,000)
Address: Mersey Street, Belfast, BT4 1FG
Telephone: 028 9045 6137
Fax: 028 9073 2956
Pitch Size: 112 x 72 yards
Club Nickname: The Glens
Home Kit: Red, Black and Green
The Oval is located in a residential area of east Belfast, close to Belfast City Airport and the City Centre. Home fans enter the ground through a gateway at the end of Parkside Drive. The car park leads onto the rear of the Main Stand with its club shop, club offices and players dressing rooms on the ground floor. Looking at the main stand from pitch side, this tall but narrow stand dominates the ground. Sitting to the left of the pitch towards the curved (West) end the stand originally had a small paddock area which has now been converted to seats to form a family area, with a low lightweight roof. Above it, raised a couple of metres above pitch level is the steep upper tier seating deck, complete with 2,720 red and green plastic seats. The view from these seats is spectacular, not just of the pitch but the dockyards and Harland and Wolfe shipyard cranes in the foreground and Cave Hill in the far distance.
Looking to the right from these seats the home terrace behind the (East) end offers an unrestricted, if a little bit exposed view of the whole ground. Although The Oval is regarded as oval in shape the curve behind the goals is more elliptical rather than a true half circle, and there is no athletics track as the name may suggest so the terracing is not far removed from the action. There is however a tall pitch side fence around three sides of the ground. On the opposite side of the pitch from the Main Stand there is a covered terrace which backs onto the Belfast to Bangor railway line. This stand, which sits on the pitch centre line, has been converted to seating for 2,000 spectators. There are a number of columns at the front of the stand which may impede your view however the low roof keeps the rain out and ensures a good atmosphere. The side wings to the left and right of the stand remain exposed terracing. Looking to the left of the Main Stand, the open terracing behind the West End of the ground mirrors the dimensions and shape of the East End. Because of its location, history and layout The Oval is regarded as something of a classic ground by ground hoppers from outside Northern Ireland.
The Club have announced that they are to go ahead with the building of a new stadium on the present site of the Oval ground. At a cost of £9.2m a new 8,000 capacity stadium is to be built, which will include 6,000 seats. With funding for the development secured, then it is now only a matter of time before the bulldozers move into to demolish this classic old ground.
Visitors are allocated an enclosed section of the curved West End Terrace behind the goal. Please note that the away section of the terrace is accessed by a separate covered walkway (See ground layout map). The terrace is open to the elements and although there is a tall pitch side fence around this side of the ground the terrace is tall enough to allow spectators to see over the fence and view the whole ground.
The nearest pubs and shops are in Belmont Road, in the Strandtown area of the city, 5-10 minutes walk from the Parkgate Drive main entrance. Follow Mersey Street away from the ground, over the river. At the end of the road turn left, cross the road and take the next right turn into Pims Avenue. This will lead onto the busy Hollywood Road Continue over the cross road into Belmont Road.
From Antrim, Ballymena and the North
Follow the M2 to South of Junction 1, pass over the River Lagan onto the M3 and turn off at the Odyssey Arena junction. Continue along the exit road, take a right turn into Sydenham Road, towards the Harland Technology Park. At the roundabout take the third exit which takes you back over the A2 Sydenham Bypass. Take a left turn into Mersey Street. The main entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the left hand side.
From Lisburn, Portadown and the South
Follow the M1 to Junction 1,continue along the A12 Westlink and join the M3 on the approach to Odyssey Arena. Pass over the River Lagan, and turn off at the Odyssey Arena junction.Continue along the exit road, take a right turn into Sydenham Road, towards the Harland Technology Park. At the roundabout take the third exit which takes you back over the A2 Sydenham Bypass. Take a left turn into Mersey Street. The main entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the left hand side.
There is a car park at the ground, at the rear of the Main Stand though as there is only one entrance and exit gate getting away after a game is time consuming.
There are two railway stations on the Belfast Central to Bangor railway line that are within walking distance from the ground. Titanic Quarter is the best option, a three minute journey from Belfast Central Station will bring you to this stop, and a safe 10 minute walk will bring you to the ground. Sydenham Railway Station is the next stop down the line, and takes 20 minutes to walk from the station to the ground. Directions from Sydenham Railway station are also shown below since it is the nearest stop for fans arriving at Belfast City Airport.
Directions from Titanic Quarter Railway Station
Go over the footbridge, walk through the subway and turn left. This will lead you into a housing estate in Ballymacarett Road (featuring a mural to author C.S Lewis) .After a 5 minute walk you will see crossroads, take a left turn into Dee Street and you should catch a glimpse of the floodlights. Follow Dee Street as it turns to the right and just as you see the road go up hill towards the railway bridge, take a turn to the right into Mersey Street. The ground main entrance is a further 5 minute walk at the end of Parkgate Drive.
Directions from Sydenham Railway Station
From the housing estate side, follow Station Road to its end, turn right into Holywood Road, follow the road downhill and take a right turn into Park Avenue, then left into Connisbrook Avenue, and right into Mersey Street. The ground entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the right hand side of the road.
Arriving in Belfast at Great Victoria Street Railway Station or Europa Bus Centre
There is a taxi rank directly outside the bus/train station however as this will take you slowly through the busy city centre to The Oval on the east side of Belfast this will prove an expensive option. Alternatively, when you come out of the station entrance turn left, pass the opera house, and take a right turn into Howard Street. This will lead you towards City Hall. From here you have the option of walking to the ground, grabbing a taxi or picking up Metro Bus 3 (Holywood Road) from Donegal Square West bus stop. Since this bus does not go direct to the ground you will need to get off as it travels along Newtownards Road, then walk up Dee Street and take a right turn into Mersey Street. The entrance to The Oval is on the left hand side at the end of Parkside Drive.
There is a taxi rank directly outside the terminal building, and Airport Express Service 600 runs direct to Belfast City centre at regular intervals, however there is no direct bus link to The Oval from either the Airport or the City Centre.
For those with time on their hands, the ground can be reached on foot in around 30 minutes. Turn right when you come out of the main terminal building, walk through the car park and alongside the A2 Sydenham Bypass,walk over the footbridge to Sydenham Railway Station. From here Metro Bus 3 can get you closer to the ground as it passes along Connsbrook Avenue or Newtownards Road, however if you prefer to keep walking,follow Station Road to its end,turn right into Holywood Road, follow the road downhill and take a right turn into Park Avenue,then left into Connisbrook Avenue, and right into Mersey Street. The ground entrance is at the end of Parkside Drive, on the right hand side of the road.
Under 11's £1 (when accompanied by a paying adult)
Official Matchday Programme £3.
The main Premier League rivalry is with Linfield from South Belfast, but also Crusaders and Cliftonville from North Belfast League club Dundela are near neighbours.
2017-2018: 1,615 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2016-2017: 1,576 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2015-2016: 1,448 (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.
Access their Belfast Hotels pages.
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 Northern Ireland or elsewhere.
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 the Oval Glentoran.
Glentoran v Ards
Danske Bank Premier League
Saturday 26th November 2016, 3pm
Ian Howitt (Neutral fan)
Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Oval?
I had always wanted to visit Belfast and that has to include taking in a game. The Oval looked a proper old football ground so it got the vote.
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
The Oval ground was easy to find, mainly due to the directions on this site and good old on line google maps. Was on foot so cannot comment on parking.
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
It was a day trip, with an early flight out from Stansted and an evening flight home. Having landed at Belfast International we got the bus into the City Centre, which is a 40 minute journey. We then went to the Titanic Museum on the Titanic Quarter and spent two hours there which was very interesting. It was then a 20 minute stroll to the ground past the massive Harland & Wolff cranes that continue to dominate the Belfast skyline.
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Oval?
The Oval is a real delight for those who, like me enjoy an old school ground. The Main Stand rises high above the rest of the ground and surrounding houses and provides a great view of the action. The remainder consists of elliptical ends with uncovered terracing and what was a vast covered terrace on the far side which now has seating bolted to it. We watched the first half from the Main Stand and moved to the opposite side for the second half. One of the ends has remaining at its top, an old pill box from one of the wars.
Comment on the gam e itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
The game was not brilliant, but I have seen much worse. Glentoran won by the only goal, scored about five minutes before the break. Prior to that the Ards keeper made two excellent saves although to be fair Ards had plenty of possession but seldom troubled the home keeper. The atmosphere was fairly subdued but I have to say everyone we met in the ground, officials, supporters , stewards were all really friendly. Prior to the match we visited the club shop and supporters bar, and were treated really well. In addition, on the day Glentoran launched a book on the history of The Oval and we were guided into the lounge where the launch was taking place and encouraged to mingle with the Glentoran legends who were present and to help ourselves to the sandwiches that were laid on. Needless to say my mate and I both made a purchase a which looks very good value for the ten quid investment. In addition to the bar there is also a refreshment counter selling hot and cold drinks, sweets and crisps etc, and a portable catering wagon alongside the Main Stand. We sampled the wares of both and were suitably impressed.
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Really easy; a ten minute walk from the ground to Titanic Quarter rail station and a fifteen minute ride to Great Victoria Street Station, then the bus back to the airport and I was touching down at Stansted just before 9pm.
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
It was a really good day out, and my only regret is I did not spend longer in the City, which appears to be a fascinating place. The Oval is a great ground, with houses all around it really is a throw back to days gone past. I was expecting to see peanut sellers outside or an old man selling the evening paper as I came out the ground, but not to be. Really cannot recommend a visit highly enough and have now got the bug for some more visits to Northern Ireland and some more grounds.
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