- Martin McNelis
Weavers Park – Drogheda United
Photos by Martin McNelis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Weavers Park Windmill Rd Drogheda, County Louth Ireland
Year Opened: 1979
Note: In 2023, the name of the park changed from United Park to Weavers Park.
The famous town of Drogheda is situated on Ireland’s east coast between Dublin and Dundalk, which is in the Boyne Valley between County Louth and County Meath. The local professional football team is Drogheda United, based just outside the town centre at the small, but homely United Park, also referred to as Hunky Dorys Park through a former sponsorship deal.
The club have been here since 1979, following the merger of Drogheda FC and the original Drogheda United who were formed in 1919, and are currently playing in the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Division 1.
At one point the ground had a capacity in the region of 5,000, but presently has a maximum of 2,000, with 1,500 of that figure seated in both covered and uncovered areas. Known as ‘The Drogs’ or ‘Super Drogs,’ the club’s main rivals are neighbours Dundalk and share a link with Turkish side Trabzonspor, due to their club crest and claret/blue colour similarities. Since their formation, the club have regularly found themselves flirting with promotion to the top flight and relegation back to the second tier.
Early in the millennium the club went full time and reaped the rewards, with accolades achieved including a Premier League title, FAI Cup and Setanta Cup wins, which also brought qualification for the old UEFA Cup (now known as the Europa League) and a fleeting couple of rounds in the Champions League qualifiers. By the end of that decade, and coinciding with the financial crisis in Ireland, the club found themselves in administration, or as the Irish call it, examinership. Full time football is no more and Drogheda primarily now focus on providing a platform to young players to develop in the first team and potentially move on for financial gain.
Food & Beverage 3
Standard offerings are sold from a small hatch at the side of the Main Stand. The menu consists of crisps, bars of chocolate, bottled soft drinks, and tea and coffee sold in small polystyrene cups. There may not be a lot, but it’s enough to get you through the match if you’re feeling peckish.
With United Park being a narrow and tight venue, it has the potential to have a decent atmosphere depending on the opposition. The club have their own ‘ultras’ group of maybe 50-100, mainly younger lads who congregate in the seated terrace across from the Main Stand. They have their own flags and banners, and start up most, if not all of the chants. Along with having their own drum, it adds to the atmosphere and tends to get a reaction from the opposition support.
United Park is an intriguing, but lovable mis-match of stands and terracing, situated on the corner of a busy road, next to a housing estate, a GAA venue and across from a local hospital. There are two entrances to the ground, at the top of Windmill Road and a slightly longer walk round the other side to Cross Lane. At the former it gives you access to the Main Stand (home fans) and to the covered away terrace. The latter is for the seated terrace which is for home fans only. Outside the Main Stand there is VERY limited parking and with local housing next to it, it’s mainly permit holders only. So if you are driving, expect to park a reasonable distance away from the ground.
There is a small ticket office situated next to the turnstiles and this area is well stewarded. Once through, you are able to sit in the small Main Stand on your right and if you are a member, you can access the social club on your left. There is a 10-15 foot gap between the Main Stand and a small covered standing terrace which is where the away fans are allocated. In this area is where the food and drink bar is situated.
Behind both goals there is a large net to catch any stray footballs during the game and this is due to the houses and main road situated behind both respectively. The seated terrace is partly uncovered at either side, but doesn’t prove to be a problem on a regular match day as it is not always full in this area. Perched on the roof, in the centre of this stand, there is a small television gantry.
Due to the limited space behind each goal there is also limited movement round United Park. With only two entry options, whatever side you access, this is the only area you will be able to stand or sit in unfortunately.
Half time entertainment is provided by a quick match between two local boys club teams and also the club’s raffle ticket draw, which is a small but worthwhile fundraising initiative.
All areas of the ground have supporting pillars of some sort, so regardless where you choose to watch a match from, your view will be slightly obscured. Sitting too far to the right of the Main Stand means you will be looking through a metal mesh fence and won’t be able to see the goal on that side. All things considered, the best view is likely from the centre of the covered terrace at the Cross Lane end, which is also the most atmospheric in any case.
Drogheda is a busy, friendly town and offers a variety of good options to stay, visit, eat and drink. The views from high up at Millmount Tower are phenomenal, especially on a clear day, and you will also be well educated on some Irish history from very knowledgeable tour guides.
Pubs near United Park that are recommended include Mother Hughes which is five minutes walk away, Windmill House which is next door to the ground, and Gleesons which is between the ground and the town centre.
In town, The Grey Goose and JB’s Bar on West Street are very friendly, with a good variety of beers and spirits.
With Drogheda United currently in the second tier, crowds have dropped slightly, so the attendances will vary depending on the opposition. A typical match will attract somewhere between 500-1,100 fans.
The ground is a 15 minute walk from town. If coming from MacBride train station it is potentially a further 15 minutes onto the journey. There are taxis regularly going to and from the station and town.
With the ground only having two sides, movement is limited. Any request to get to the other side may be blocked by over officious stewards.
Return on Investment 4
Seating on the Windmill Road side costs €15 for adults, €12 OAP/students, and €10 for children under the age of 14. If you choose to sit in the Home Terrace – Cross Lane end, then tickets will cost €12 for adults, €10 for OAP/students, and €5 for children under the age of 14. You can also purchase a ‘family ticket,’ which includes two adult and two children passes for €22.
Overall, United Park provides a good value for the cost of a ticket, and is currently priced right.
United Park was the site for some of the matches for the 1994 UEFA Under-16 football championships. It has also hosted several Under-21 Irish national team matches.
The emblem for the Drogheda United club is adapted from the town’s coat of arms. The star and crescent are symbolic of the support that Ireland received from the Ottoman Empire during the Great Famine during the mid 19th century in Ireland.
If you have any interest in football and particularly Irish history, then Drogheda is a fine destination to visit.