Tolka Park

Tolka Park ( Irish: Páirc Tolca) is an Irish football ground located in the north Dublin suburb of Drumcondra, on the northern banks of the River Tolka. It is currently the home ground of League of Ireland club Shelbourne. It holds a capacity crowd of around 9,680 and has hosted national cup finals along with international matches, Champions League qualifiers, UEFA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and was a venue for the 2000 Rugby League World Cup

Over the years, seven different League of Ireland clubs have used Tolka Park for home league matches on a regular basis. They are Drumcondra, Shelbourne, Dolphin, Home Farm, Dublin City, Shamrock Rovers and St James Gate F.C..

Drumcondra F.C.
Tolka Park was originally home to Drumcondra, who in the 1950s and 1960s were one of the most popular teams in Dublin. The ground hosted its first floodlit game on the 30th of March 1953. However "Drums" unexpectedly went out of business in 1972, vacating the ground.

Home Farm F.C.
After the demise of Drumcondra, Home Farm moved into the ground. However, Home Farm never drew large crowds and Tolka fell into disrepair (though it did host the replay of the 1984 FAI Cup final).

Shelbourne F.C.
In 1989, Shelbourne, who had played home games regularly in Tolka during the fifties, sixties, seventies, and early eighties, acquired Home Farm's long term lease from Dublin Corporation on the ground. Home Farm moved to their own ground in nearby Whitehall. Shelbourne invested heavily in the stadium, converting it into Ireland's first all-seater stadium and building a new stand behind the Drumcondra end goal in 1999. The first ever League of Ireland match to be broadcast live on TV was a fixture between Shelbourne and Derry City, staged at Tolka Park during the 1996/97 season.

Shamrock Rovers F.C.
In 1987, the then owners of Shamrock Rovers, the Kilcoyne family, attempted to move the club to Tolka Park. Rovers played there for a season, but the games were boycotted by their fans, who were trying to save Glenmalure Park from demolition. Rovers were later on to return to the ground which they shared for a time with Shelbourne before eventually moving into the Tallaght Stadium in 2009. Rovers' home tie against Sligo Rovers during the 2009 season was moved to Tolka Park amid safety concerns due to construction onsite at Tallaght before the club friendly against Real Madrid.

Other Uses
Tolka Park has staged two full internationals for the Republic of Ireland. Both matches were friendlies against Wales. The stadium hosted the first Setanta Cup final when Linfield defated Shelbourne. The Irish Rugby League Team have also played home games at the ground and hosted one game of the 2000 Rugby League World Cup with Ireland playing Aotearoa MÄori the game ending 30-16 to Ireland. In recognition of the improvement made to stadium, a Republic of Ireland senior international match against Wales was played there in 1993, as were youth, League of Ireland XI and Republic of Ireland B games. From 1999 to 2002 it hosted the FAI Cup final, until the fixture was shifted to Lansdowne Road. Tolka hosted two games in the 2011 UEFA Regions' Cup. In September 1939 it held boxing championship bouts .

Current Layout

Richmond Road
The Richmond Road Stand or Main Stand runs the length of the west side of the pitch. The Technical area is located at the stand as well as the Box office, Stadium Bar and First aid area. The stand is named after Richmond Road which is directly behind the stand.

Riverside Stand
The Riverside Stand runs the length of the east side of the pitch. Today it is mainly used for Broadcasting and seating Away fans. It is named after the River Tolka which is nearby.

Drumcondra Stand
The Drumcondra Stand or New Stand is located behind the goal at the south end of the ground and it is the most recent stand to open in the ground. The stand is named after the town of Drumcondra which is located behind the stand. The Ultras within the club's support base currently congregate in the Drumcondra Stand. The Drumcondra stand also houses the dressing rooms. The club shop is located beside the stand.

Ballybough End
The Ballybough End is located behing the goal at the North end of the ground. It is named after the town of Ballybough which is located behind the stand. The Ballybough stand is largely unused but occasionally houses away supporters.

Popular Culture

  • The ground has appeared in the fictional football drama Dream Team when Harchester United were drawn to play Shelbourne in the UEFA Cup.
  • The ground appeared in football comedy Fran where Fran's club St Peter's United lost a cup final held at Tolka Park.

Over the last number of years, Shelbourne have been planning to relocate to a new ground especially since the Tolka river flooded at the start of the decade and caused extensive damage to Tolka Park and the surrounding areas. Plans for a new stadium in Finglas and Swords have come to nothing, as has an FAI-backed proposed groundshare with North Dublin neighbours Bohemians.


2 photos

Building Activity

  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • updated 2 digital references
    about 6 years ago via