The Showgrounds also known informally as The Showgies is a football stadium located in the popular tourist destination of Sligo. First opened in 1928, the ground was renovated as recently as 2012 where additional seating was added to the stands, taking the total capacity of 4,500 to include up to 4,000 seats.
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The Showgrounds football stadium has been home to Sligo Rovers since the club’s formation back in 1928, and to date is the only stadium the club have ever played at – a fact which puts the Rovers in the minority amongst their contemporaries in the Irish Football league.
Taking its name from the historic annual show of the County Sligo Agricultural Society which was previously held on the site from 1908 onwards, the stadium is actually owned by the residents of Sligo after a trust acquired it in 1968. Under the terms of the deal, the land cannot be used for any other purpose besides sport and leisure which naturally lowers the commercial value of the land.
The history of Sligo Rovers and The Showgrounds is essentially intertwined, with the ground home to the rovers first league triumph back in 1937, and most recently in 2012 . A hugely emotive subject amongst fans of the club, Rovers were actually very close to leaving their iconic location when their lease expired in 1968. The club were only able to stay after fans rallied to the cause and miraculously raising the required money to purchase the land.
A decade later in 1978 the new Jinks Avenue Stand opened on 8th November with a semi-final against Shamrock Rovers, and in November 2001 at the turn of the millennium a new main stand was built with a capacity of 1,853. Most recently a stand on the Railway End was completely rebuilt in July 2012 consisting of 1,300 seats.
Renovations were also undertaken in order to bring the ground up to the required standard for matches of the 2009/2010 Europa League. To date The Showgrounds has welcomed such illustrious clubs as Club Brugge, Molde FK, and FC Nantes. The record attendance to date was set against Cobh Ramblers on 17th April 1983 when 13,908 fans came to see Sligo Rovers take on a semi-cup final replay.
Below is a seating plan of Sligo Rovers's The Showgrounds Sligo:
Showgrounds Stadium 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
The Treacy Avenue stand is usually designated for away fans, however it is also where the “Forza Rovers” fan group watch the game from, so there’s often competition to see who can make the most noise.
If you want to wet your whistle before a game then Mooney’s Bar is right out the ground. If you make your way to the bottom of church hill then you will also find O’Neill’s Bar. For more options you need to head eastwards across the N4 to get to the lively centre of town. Three of the most popular watering holes are McGarrigles, Haragadon Bros, and McHughs Bar which are all located within two minutes from each other near Harmony Hill.
Sadly there is no alcohol served to fans once inside the ground, with Sligo Rovers teaming up with Fiddlers Creek to become the official pub of choice after the match has finished. This is located within the city centre.
There are a few concession stands throughout the ground which sell the expected range of warm foot, confectionery, and both warm and cold drinks throughout the duration of the match.
With the exception of the club shop located to the left of the main entrance which is open on matchdays, the recently launched an online store is easily the best place where fans can purchase Bit o’ Red merchandise from. It allows you to browse all of the merchandise in advance.
It doesn’t appear as if Sligo Rovers currently offer fans an official tour of The Showgrounds, however if you get there early enough then you can easily take most of the ground in yourself. Plus, you could always check out this 360 panorama of the pitch.
The Showgrounds is located less than 10 minutes from the historical centre of Sligo which is located along the banks of the River Garavogue.
The address for satnav is as follows:
- The Showgrounds, Knappagh Beg, Sligo, Ireland.
The ground doesn’t possess its own official car park, however if you get there early enough you should be able to find some street parking within the Church Hill Area, as well as the pay and display car park at the nearby Cathedral.
For those fans travelling by train you’re in for a real treat as The Showgrounds is located exactly 500 metres from Sligo Train Station which makes the stadium exceptionally accessible on match days.
Known fully as Sligo Mac Diarmada railway station there are two platforms in total, and frequent services to and from Dublin courtesy of Iarnród Éireann, Irish Rail.
Outside of Sligo station there is the excellent placed Best Western Hotel which is by far the closest and most accessible hotel to The Showgrounds. Five minutes further along towards the River Garavogue there is also Sligo City Hotel, and the slightly more expensive Glasshouse Hotel located just above Hyde Bridge.