Oriel Park is a multi-purpose sports stadium located in the north-eastern town of Dundalk in County Louth. Used primarily for football matches of local side, Dundalk F.C, the ground dates back to 1919 and has a current capacity of 4,500 with a more than generous 3,000 seats available to eager fans.
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The site on which today’s Oriel Park sits on has been used for sport as far back as the early 20th century, however it appears that Dundalk F.C only adopted Oriel Park as their home ground in 1936 after previously playing at the nearby Athletics Ground upon formation in 1903.
Oriel Park’s current form which is capable of accommodating 4,500 supporters including 3,000 fully-seated largely came about after Dundalk achieved qualification for the Europa League for the 2010-2011 season. A campaign called BE-TOP (Bring Europe To Oriel Park) was launched by the club managed to raise the necessary finances by selling 1,000 advance ticket bookings.
After setting a target of 1,000 subscriptions the club announced on April 13th 2010 that they beaten this by 200 members, and thus they were able to upgrade Oriel to meet UEFA’s Level 2 stadium requirements. The Lilywhites managed to defeat Luxembourg side Grevenmacher in their first before being eliminated by Levski Sofia in the second qualification game.
Disappointing but understandable to say the least, it was a world away from the European Cup match against Celtic in 1979 which set an attendance record which is unlikely to be beaten. An estimated 21,000 fans saw Dundalk draw 0-0 with the Scottish giants, with the record almost beaten two years later during a Cup Winners Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur.
The future of Dundalk F.C appears to be bright however after the club constructed a Youth Development Complex behind the Shed Stand during the 2009/2010 season. Costing an estimated €5 million, facilities include a gymnasium, multi-purpose sports pitches , and various game rooms to ensure that The Lilywhites continue to nurture the best talent in the local area.
Below is a seating plan of Dundalk's Oriel Park:
Oriel Park is comprised of four stands: North, East, South and West.
Click the thumbnails above to enlarge an image of each stand and to read a more detailed description of each part of the stadium.
The Matchday Experience
Away fans are housed within two or so blocks of the main stand which is naturally shared with home supporters.
Oriel Park has two spacious bars which are open on matchdays known as the Lilywhite Lounge and Enda McGuill Suite, however it appears that they may be reserved solely for the use of home supporters.
In which case either Kennedy’s Bar on Carrickmacross Road or The Jockeys will do the trick. Both are traditional boozers with a decent selection of ale, with the highly rated Windsor Bar and Restaurant on Dublin Street a fine third choice.
Dundalk town centre isn’t exactly heaving with options however you will find a number of independently run fast-food outlets, multicultural restaurants and a McDonalds within 10 minutes of Oriel Park.
Although fans can purchase various merchandise at Oriel Park on matchdays, the shop isn’t always open during the week, and thus for many the online store is probably the most convenient way to purchase goods of the Lilywhites.
It doesn’t appear as if Dundalk FC currently offer fans a guided tour of the facilities at Oriel Park, however if this changes in the future we’ll be sure to update this section. Remember that you can pretty much walk around most of it on matchdays.
The town of Dundalk is famously equidistant between Dublin and Belfast, however it is located closer to the border of Northern Ireland in the north-east of the country. Oriel Park is located less than 1km from the traditional centre of town.
The address for satnav is as follows:
- Cambrickville, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland
There is a car park at the stadium however it is very limited in size, and thus isn’t really fit for the use of the general public on matchdays. A better bet would be to drop the car off at the nearby station car-park at a cost of a few euros. Failing this, the town centre has a good number of pay and display areas and is less than 20 minutes away by foot.
Clarke Railway Station is the closest station, located less than 150 metres away by foot. Upon exiting the main entrance, turn right, and the ground is up the road on your left. The local area is well-served by a number of train services from Dublin, as well as a commuter train service from Bray to the south.
The small county town of Dundalk isn’t blessed with the most extensive of accomodation options with Hotel Imperial just past Marshes Shopping Centre appearing to be the best of a limited bunch. If you have a car or are prepared to take a taxi then a few kilometres south just past Dundalk Institute of Technology there is a Crowne Plaza and Fairways Hotel chains.