Thursday, 26 January 2017

Dalymount - end of an era

This new video is a fitting tribute to the end of an era at Dalymount Park in Phibsborough, down the road from Stoneybatter on Dublin's northside. It has a fair few drone shots...

For more than a century Dalymount has been the home of Bohemian FC, one of Ireland's oldest football clubs. The club itself was founded in September 1890 in the Phoenix Park Gate Lodge (beside the North Circular Road entrance).

Home games were initially played in the park's polo grounds, then the club moved to Dalymount in 1901. When it was still common land, part vegetable patch and part vacant lot, it used to have the charming name of Pisser Dignam's Field.

Dalymount soon became - in the words of John Giles - the true historic home of Irish football, and Bohemians became synonymous with Phibsborough. Many local businesses took the Bohemians name, from the Bohemians Cafe and the Bohemians Lounge to the former Bohemians picture house.

But during the 1970s the club was in bad financial situation and couldn't afford to upgrade the stadium, and it was later overtaken by Lansdowne Road and what is now the Aviva stadium as the regular venue for internationals.

In recent years the old stadium at Dalymount was seriously falling apart. Soon, though, a splendid new 10,000-seater stadium will spring up in its place. They will also turn the pitch by 90 degrees for better light, and there will be a sports centre for schools, community groups and clubs.

Dalymount's old stadium
In an unusual model for the FAI - but more common on the Continent - Dalymount and its new stadium will come under municipal ownership. Dublin City Council bought the ground from Bohs in 2015.

Once the new stadium is built in about four years' time, the club will stay on at Dalymount as a sort of "anchor tenant", in a groundshare partnership with Shelbourne FC. Shels, who are almost as old as Bohs, will move from their old home at Tolka Park in Drumcondra once the new stadium at Dalymount is completed.

The following somewhat touristy video also gives a great flavour of the Dalyer. Skip the boring hotel plug in the opening minute and watch out for Phibsborough, the Royal Canal, Broombridge, Temple Bar and Grafton Street, and an atmospheric match in the old stadium.