- Martin McNelis
Richmond Park – St Patrick’s Athletic FC
Photos by Martin McNelis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Richmond Park 125 Emmet Rd Inchicore, Dublin 8 Ireland
St Patrick’s Athletic FC website
Year Opened: 1925
Revel At Richmond
Richmond Park is located in the Dublin suburb of Inchicore, a brisk 20 minute walk from the city centre, encompassing the historic landmarks of The Guinness brewery, Heuston train station and Kilmainham jail. The land was a former British Army facility, which lay derelict for three years following the war of independence, before being used by local side Brideville FC for a year. They moved out in 1930 to let St Patrick’s Athletic in and despite a couple of relocation ideas mentioned by the club’s board of directors over the last 20 years, including an unpopular suggestion of a ground share with Shamrock Rovers, it remains home to the ‘Saints’ or ‘Pats.’ The present capacity is 5,340, with 2,800 of that figure seated. The club are the current EA Sports Cup holders and play in the League of Ireland Premier Division.
For a stranger, it isn’t the easiest venue to find, with the offices and main entrance gates set in among terraced housing on a busy main road. When all the gates are open on a match day it leads you down a gentle slope into both the Main Stand and further along into the turnstiles. It is a homely stadium which has signs of both old and modern alterations, offering covered and open seating, along with traditional terracing areas. Behind the left hand goal, known as the Inchicore End, is an industrial unit and behind the other goal, the Shed End, are some modern day apartment flats. Across from the Main Stand, the River Camac runs behind an open terracing, which also has trees overhanging. As the League of Ireland matches are played through the summer months you might find your enjoyment of a match is interrupted by swatting insects away should you watch from this area of the ground.
Food & Beverage 3
Standard fast food is available with a variety of options and side orders. You can have a variety of burgers, on its own, with cheese or bacon and these are 4 or 5 Euros. The same with fries, you can have them on their own or cheesy or garlic fries which are 3 or 4 Euros. A sausage and fries is 5 Euros, chicken burger is 4 Euros, jumbo hot dog is 4.50.
There is a basic offering of soft drinks, with a couple of hot options like tea and coffee at 2 or 3 Euros each.
Once in through the turnstiles there is a walkway which has a handful of entrances into the Main Stand. The players and officials emerge from the tunnel in the centre and the dugouts are situated here too.
Facing you on entry there are two portakabins perched on top of each other and this is where you will find the club shop. Going slightly to the left past the shop as you enter allows you to sit behind the goal or access to the terrace across. This area is one of the modern additions to comply with UEFA regulations for European ties. The Saints are regularly in European competition through both their league and cup finishes. The club were fined previously when part of the old wooden structure gave way, but this has since been replaced with a more robust frame.
In between both these areas is where you will find the toilet facilities situated. In the centre of the terrace there is a small elevated television gantry. Both sitting and standing in these areas provide a good view of the pitch, but both are uncovered, so are weather permitting. The Shed End is used sparingly and normally for large away followings and it has an old roof which covers most of what is an old terrace area.
The Main Stand is the busiest area of Richmond Park and if you’re not in early enough, the only seats available are down near the front. You may find your view obstructed by both the dugouts, the four floodlight pylons and four supporting pillars. On a decent night going behind the goal at the Inchicore seated area is a good vantage point to see a match.
The stadium is near the main motorway through Dublin, so is a busy suburb to get in and out the city. There are plenty of shops and pub options that cater to both football fans and local residents. If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Hilton Dublin Kilmainham is a good option and near the ground.
Attractions worth visiting include the Kilmainham Gaol (jail), Irish Museum of Modern Art, or take a stroll through the Irish National War Memorial Garden. Of course, no trip to Dublin is complete without a trip to St James’s Gate and the Guinness Storehouse.
Restaurant recommendations include McDowells and the Patriots Inn.
Depending on the competition and opposition, Saints will get crowds ranging from 800-2,000 for the average home match.
The away fans congregate to the right of the Main Stand and despite relatively low numbers they make a bit of noise, which encourages the home fans. At the opposite end of the same stand, the Saints fans have their own group who sing and have a drum, generating a good atmosphere throughout the majority of a home match.
There is a bus route literally outside Richmond Park with the number 13 and 40 buses running approximately every 10 minutes to and from the city centre. The Luas tram and Heuston train station have stops which are about a 10-15 minutes walk away.
If driving by car you would have to park some distance away as the traffic and supporters milling around on a match day slows Emmet Road down to a crawl.
Moving around the stadium poses no problem, with the only area restricted by stewards being the covered terrace at the (away) Shed End.
Return on Investment 4
The Saints provide average league pricing and good value for the different family categories. Ticketing is on par with other League of Ireland clubs and offers good value with Adults (€15), Students and concessions (€10), and children under the age of 12 with an adult (€5). You can purchase a ticket in advance of the match or get one from the club offices and a steward then scans you in on entry.
Transport options are very good, the club shop offers a variety of souvenirs from; kits, jackets, accessories and DVDs which are priced from high (clothing) to €5 (key rings and cup win DVD).
Richmond Park is another intriguing League of Ireland venue, fulfilling some of the basic needs that fans want; homely, scenic and friendly. The club are one of the bigger Irish sides in terms of stature, resources, and success. This is definitely a good ground to tick off the list.