Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Páirc Uí Chaoimh (Irish pronunciation: [ˈpˠaːɾʲc iː ˈxiːvʲ]) is a Gaelic games stadium in Cork, Ireland. It is the home of Cork GAA. The venue, often referred to simply as The Park, is located in Ballintemple and is built near to the site of the original Cork Athletic Grounds. The stadium opened in 1976 and underwent a significant two-year redevelopment before reopening in 2017.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh
De Park[1]
Páirc Uí Chaoimh logo.jpg
Páirc Uí Chaoimh.jpg
Stadium exterior
LocationThe Marina
Coordinates51°53′59.10″N 8°26′6.15″W / 51.8997500°N 8.4350417°W / 51.8997500; -8.4350417
Public transitCork Kent railway station
Blackrock Road bus stop
OwnerCork County Board
Field size144 m x 88 m
Broke groundApril 1974
Opened6 June 1976
Construction costIR£1.7 million (original)
€110 million (redevelopment)[2]
ArchitectHorgan and Lynch (1974)
Scott Tallon Walker (2015)
Cork GAA (1976–present)

Primarily used as a venue for Gaelic games, it has been used to host Cork's home league and championship games in both Gaelic football and hurling. The finals of both the Cork hurling and football championships have often been held at the venue. It has also hosted concerts by Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, U2, The Stone Roses, Oasis and Ed Sheeran as well as the annual Siamsa Cois Laoi festival.

Originally designed by Horgan and Lynch, the stadium had an initial capacity of 50,288. This capacity was progressively reduced because of safety regulations and, before the commencement of redevelopment works in 2015, it had a capacity of 32,550.[3][4] Since the completion of the redevelopment in 2017 the capacity of the venue is 45,000, making it the third-largest Gaelic games stadium in Ireland.[5]


Early groundEdit

Sports meetings were frequently held on the area now occupied by Páirc Uí Chaoimh even before the establishment of the Gaelic Athletic Association.[6] By the late 1890s the Cork County Board were allowed by the Cork Agricultural Company, the leaseholders of the land, to enclose a portion of the site for the playing of Gaelic Games. The county board built its own stadium on the land in 1898.[7] The Cork Athletic Grounds opened in 1904[8] and hosted All-Ireland finals, Munster finals and National League games.[9] These grounds were close to what is now the CAB Ford garage on the Monahan Road.

By the 1960s, the Cork Athletic Grounds did not serve the needs of the modern era, and the ground's facilities were described as "primitive" by some contemporary commentators.[10] In 1963 the county board bought some land at Model Farm Road, on the western side of the city, as the site for a new development.[11] It was envisaged that this new stadium would hold up to 70,000 spectators and provide more modern facilities.[10] However, problems arose and the project was abandoned.[citation needed]


In 1972 it was decided to redevelop the Athletic Grounds as an alternative, and additional land was acquired from the Munster Agricultural Society, whose premises adjoined the Athletic Grounds.[12] The new stadium area covered almost 9 acres,[citation needed] with works undertaken by HMC Construction Ltd.[13] Work began in April 1974, though details of the new stadium "of the most modern design and facilities" weren't unveiled until a press conference took place in the Imperial Hotel, Cork on 26 July 1974.[citation needed] The new stadium was estimated to cost approximately £1 million, but ultimately overran to £1.7 million.[9]

Known as Páirc Uí Chaoimh, in commemoration of the late general-secretary of the GAA, Pádraig Ó Caoimh, the stadium was to have a capacity of 50,288.[14] Designed by the Cork city firm of consultant engineers, Horgan and Lynch, Páirc Uí Chaoimh was designed to have seating for 19,688 spectators, half of which would be under cover on the southern side of the ground. Long-term plans envisaged the extension of the stand all around the stadium. Included underneath the stadium structure were a number of facilities, all served by the main circulation tunnel.[citation needed]


The Cork County Board were faced with a bill of £650,000 to cover the first stage of the development, which at the time was the biggest undertaken by any sports organisation in Ireland.[citation needed] In addition to grants from the GAA's Central and Munster Councils, finance for the project was raised by the sale of the Board's 45 acre property at Model Farm Road,[12] and a sizeable part of 49 acres on the north side of the city.[citation needed] The Board's offices on Cook Street were also sold, while further funds were raised through Coiste Gael and commercial and private subscriptions. Additional funds were raised through the sale of 88 advertising spaces within the stadium and the sale of 3,000 five-year stand tickets at £30 each.[citation needed]

Official openingEdit

Half time between Cork vs Kerry 2012

Páirc Uí Chaoimh was officially opened on 6 June 1976.[15] by Con Murphy, then president of the GAA. On the opening day the Cork hurlers played Kilkenny while the Cork footballers took on Kerry.[9]


The 1970s oil shocks increased interest rates and the Cork County Board was unable to repay the loan on stadium's building cost.[16] Local promoter Oliver Barry instigated the Siamsa Cois Laoi (Irish for '"Fun by the [River] Lee"'), a weekend festival of country, folk, and Irish traditional music held annually in the stadium from 1977 to 1987.[17][18] Opposition from GAA traditionalists was overcome by the need for the organisation to clear mounting debts.[18][16] Each Siamsa programme featured international stars supported by Irish acts. Headliners included Glen Campbell (1979[19] and 1983[20]), Don McLean (1979[21] and 1984[22]), Joan Baez (1980),[23]Kate & Anna McGarrigle,[17]Leo Sayer (1984),[24]Loudon Wainwright III (1985),[25]Kris Kristofferson (1985),[26]John Denver (1986),[27]Status Quo,[17] and The Pogues (1987).[17] Support included acts managed by Barry like the Wolfe Tones, Stockton's Wing, and Bagatelle,[18] and others including the Dubliners and Christy Moore.[17]

U2 played the final show on the European leg of the Joshua Tree Tour at the stadium in August 1987.[16][28] The U2 concert established the venue's credibility with pop and rock acts.[16] On 30 and 31 July 1988, Michael Jackson performed at the stadium twice as part of his Bad World Tour, with a combined attendance of in excess of 130,000.[29] The County Board's share of ticket sales funded the purchase of Christy Ring Park.[16] Páirc Uí Chaoimh was also the venue for Prince's first ever Irish concert on 7 July 1990, as part of his Nude Tour. U2 played again at the stadium on 24 August 1993 on their ZooTv Tour. 1995 saw the Féile Festival being transferred to Cork for one year, with the line-up including Ash, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller and Kylie Minogue.[30] Oasis then performed two nights at the stadium in August 1996.[31] Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played at the stadium on 18 July 2013.[32]

The first concerts of the redeveloped stadium were the opening concerts of Ed Sheeran's ÷ Tour over three nights in May 2018.[33]


In 2005, the Cork County Board replaced all wood bench seats with plastic bucket seats in the covered and open stands. Due to the shape of the new bucket seats, overall legroom was reduced, with many complaining of being unable to sit in the seat entirely.[34] In response, the tops were cut off the back of each seat, marginally improving legroom.[35]

In October 2007, plans were announced which proposed to redevelop Páirc Uí Chaoimh into a 60,000-seat sports and concert venue in conjunction with the Cork Docklands redevelopment which was estimated to cost over €30m.[36] If these plans had gone ahead, Cork would have had the second largest stadium in the country behind Croke Park. This specific plan was not progressed.

Association footballEdit

On 25 September 2018, the stadium hosted association football for the first time, a benefit match for Cork-born Ireland international Liam Miller, who died of cancer aged 36 that February. A Manchester United legends team defeated a Republic of Ireland/Glasgow Celtic legends team 3-2 on penalties after the match had finished 2-2 after 90 minutes. The Official attendance for the match was 42,878. Juvenile Gaelic football and hurling exhibition games took place at half time, involving the team that Miller himself represented as a boy, Éire Óg[37]


Munster football semi-final 2012 (prior to redevelopment)


In June 2010, Cork City Council voted in favour of the proposal to make 6.82 acres (27,600 m2) of land next to Páirc Uí Chaoimh available for the redevelopment of the stadium.[38] As part of the redevelopment, a new 'Centre of Excellence' was also planned, with an ancillary all-weather pitch, floodlights, 1,000 seat stand, gym and changing and medical facilities. A museum was also proposed, with dining facilities and a 400-space car park.[39]

The stadium plans expected a small increase in capacity, with the new development accommodating 45,000 when completed.[40] The development had been subject to local opposition as some residents complained that land used for the redevelopment had been earmarked for a public park.[41][42][43] With Cork's average attendance not breaking 20,000 in 2011, there were also questions about the need for such a big venue, including by the Munster Council Secretary Pat Fitzgerald.[44]

The redevelopment plans proposed stand capacities as follows:

  • New 3-tier South Stand (covered) 13,000 seats (up from its previous level of 9,435)
  • Refurbished North stand (covered) 8,000 seats (down from its previous level of 10,030)
  • Refurbished East and West Terrace 12,000 capacity each (uncovered)[45]

In summer 2013, it was announced that an application was being lodged to redevelop the stadium, but due to financial difficulties the project was put on hold.

Demolition and construction worksEdit

East side of redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh

In April 2014, Cork County Board and Cork City Council announced that they had been given the green light to proceed with the redevelopment project of the stadium.[46][47]

In May 2014, the Government sanctioned a €30 million grant to help fund the regeneration of the stadium.[48] The work was due to start in summer 2014, and on 6 July 2014, the stadium hosted its last provincial football final in the old stadium with rivals Kerry running out comfortable winners 0-24 to Cork 0-12. It also hosted the 2014 Munster Senior Hurling Championship Final on 13 July 2014, with Cork beating rivals Limerick, 2-24 to 0-24, the final inter county game before demolition took place. In November 2014 An Bord Pleanala gave the green light to redevelop the stadium with redevelopment works running from January 2015 to mid-2017.[49][50][51][52]


It had been planned to hold the 2017 Munster Senior Hurling and Football finals at the reopened stadium, but construction delays forced these to be relocated.[53][54] The first match at the re-developed stadium was instead a Cork premier intermediate hurling championship game between Valley Rovers and Blarney on 19 July 2017, which attracted a crowd of 10,749.[55][56][57][58]

The venue then hosted two 2017 All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals on consecutive days later in July 2017,[59] with combined attendances of more than 64,000.[60] The first of these games, on 22 July 2017, was the first championship match at the re-developed stadium, and saw Tipperary defeat Clare by 0-28 to 3-16. Clare's Tony Kelly scored the first point and Aaron Cunningham the first goal at the new stadium.[61]

As of December 2017, the cost of the redevelopment was reportedly €86.4 million (approximately €23m over the planned budget),[62] which included the cost of development of two covered stands, and two uncovered terrace ends. The updated stadium also has four 35-space dressing rooms with under-floor heating, physio, warm-up, drug-testing, referee, and first aid rooms.[63]

By December 2018, stadium commercial director Peter McKenna declared that the final cost of rebuilding Páirc Uí Chaoimh could be as high as €110m, which is €24m higher than the €86m quoted when works were completed in 2017.[2]

In March 2020, the Cork County Board of the GAA confirmed they had made the stadium available to the Health Service Executive for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.[64]

Capacity and recordsEdit

Prior to the 2017 redevelopment, the capacity included 9,500 seats in the covered (Sean McCarthy) stand, 10,000 in the uncovered stand, approximately 12,000 in the "Blackrock end" terrace, approximately 12,000 in the "City end" terracing, and 50 in the wheelchair area.[65]

Following the 2017 redevelopment, the main (covered) south stand seats 13,000, the north (covered) stand seats 8,000 and the city and "Blackrock end" terraces each have a capacity of 12,000.[63] The south stand, which has three levels, includes a 2,238-seat premium level.

The record attendance at Páirc Uí Chaoimh was 49,961 for the 1985 Munster Final between Cork and Tipperary. Prior to this, in 1983, Páirc Uí Chaoimh hosted an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay in which Cork lost to Dublin. This was only the second time an All-Ireland semi-final had been held outside Croke Park since 1941.[66]

Páirc Uí Choaimh 2014 Cork vs Kerry (prior to 2015 closure and redevelopment)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "DLS fall just short". The Munster Express. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Martin Breheny: 'Cork's vanity project now a serious embarrassment'". Irish Independent. 19 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Pairc Ui Chaoimh Venue Information". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  4. ^ "County Ground: Páirc Uí Chaoimh". Cork GAA website. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Game on:€25m boost for Cork with opening of Páirc Uí Chaoimh". Irish Examiner. 11 July 2017.
  6. ^ John Joe Brosnan; Diarmuid O Murchadha, eds. (1987). Cork GAA: a history 1886-1986. Cork County Board (GAA).
  7. ^ Dara Challoner (2013). Gaelic Athletic Association County Grounds - Acquisition Location, Development, History and Architecture (Report). p. 25. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  8. ^ Eamonn Sweeney (2012). O'Brien Pocket History of Gaelic Sport. O'Brien Press.
  9. ^ a b c "Cork Athletic Grounds/Páirc Uí Chaoimh (History)". CorkGAA.ie. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Gaelic Commentary (Article prior to opening of new stadium in 1974)". Southern Star. 3 August 1974. p. 14. [when] the big crowds began to attend club and county fixtures, the shortcomings of 'The Park' became more and more noticeable, and by 1956 the stadium was well nigh 'primitive' by comparison with Croke Park, and other G.A.A. venues
  11. ^ Raymond Smith (1966). Decades of glory: a comprehensive history of the national game. Little & McClean. p. 369. a site was acquired in Model Farm Road, Cork, for a ground worthy of the Association [the GAA] in the southern capital
  12. ^ a b "New GAA Stadium May Never Happen". Southern Star. 5 February 1972. p. 14. The [GAA Cork County] Board were sub-tenants of the Munster Agricultural Society and it was agreed that [...] they could obtain a proper title at the Athletic Grounds [.. and ..] it was anticipated that the Model Farm Road Grounds would be disposed of to provide money to develop the Athletic Grounds
  13. ^ "McCarthy welcomes latest Waterford success". HoganStand.com. 2 September 2010.
  14. ^ "Croke Park | GAA Museum & Tours | Library & Archive | Articles on the history of the GAA | Padraig O'Caoimh, General Secretary of the GAA, 1929-1964". Crokepark.ie. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Cork « Munster GAA Web site". Munster.gaa.ie. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d e Leen, Tony (10 July 2014). "How stadium gigs saved Páirc Uí Chaoimh and kept Cork GAA afloat". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  17. ^ a b c d e Carroll, Jim (2 July 2011). "20 unforgettable festival memories". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "Barry's not so happy in the spotlight". The Irish Times. 5 February 2000. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  19. ^ "American singer/songwriter Don McLean (1979)". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Glen Campbell at Siamsa Cois Laoi (1983)". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  21. ^ "American singer/songwriter Don McClean (1979)". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  22. ^ "American singer/songwriter Don McLean (1984)". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  23. ^ Thornley, Yseult; Lynch, Edmund (2001). RTÉ 100 Years: Ireland in the 20th Century. TownHouse and CountryHouse [with RTÉ]. p. 211. ISBN 9781860591426.
  24. ^ "Siamsa Cois Laoi 1984". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Loudon Wainwright III at Siamsa Cois Laoi (1985)". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  26. ^ "Kris Kristofferson at Siamsa Cois Laoi (1985)". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  27. ^ "American singer/songwriter John Denver (1986)". Stills Library. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Garth says no plans for Cork gig". RTÉ. 29 July 2016.
  29. ^ "25 years since 'king of pop' Michael Jackson bossed Páirc Uí Chaoimh". Irish Examiner. 30 July 2013.
  30. ^ "20 years on, Féile '95 still boasts an incredible line up". DailyEdge.ie. 4 August 2015.
  31. ^ "Oasis Fans Roll With It In Cork - August 1996". RTÉ Archives. RTÉ. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  32. ^ "Thousands gather for Bruce Springsteen's first Cork gig". Irish Times. 18 July 2013.
  33. ^ "Ed Sheeran: "It's Friday night. I'm so happy to be in Cork"". Irish Times. 4 May 2018.
  34. ^ "GAA fans slate 'pygmy' seating". Independent News & Media. 26 April 2005.
  35. ^ "Kerry's ground for celebration". Irish Times. 2 July 2011.
  36. ^ "Board is 'hopeful' on key Páirc Uí Chaoimh land deal". Irish Examiner. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  37. ^ Roche, Barry (30 July 2018). "GAA to make Páirc Uí Chaoimh available free of charge for Liam Miller match". The Irish Times. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
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  40. ^ "Páirc revamp to generate €12m on big-game days". Irish Examiner. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  41. ^ "Residents vow to fight Páirc Uí Chaoimh vote". Irish Examiner. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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  44. ^ "Fitzgerald against Páirc Uí Chaoimh redevelopment". RTÉ. 29 February 2012.
  45. ^ Barry Roche (10 September 2014). "Developing centre of excellence separate to Cork GAA stadium 'not an option'". Irishtimes.com. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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  49. ^ Leogue, Joe (22 July 2015). "Complaint after part of Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium stand knocked". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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  52. ^ "Lady Luck smiles on Páirc Uí Chaoimh". Independent News & Media. 9 February 2017.
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  55. ^ "In Pictures: Páirc Uí Chaoimh is open for business and it looks glorious". Irish Independent. 19 July 2017.
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  58. ^ "Perfect evening for the Valley Rovers at new Páirc Uí Chaoimh". Irish Examiner. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  59. ^ "Revealed - Páirc Uí Chaoimh to host All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals on separate days". Irish Independent. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  60. ^ "Páirc Uí Chaoimh passes its first major test as 80,000 arrive in Cork". Evening Echo. 24 July 2017.
  61. ^ "Slick Tipp hold Banner at arm's length". Irish Independent. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  62. ^ "Land sale set to ease Cork's €23m Páirc Uí Chaoimh debt". Irish Examiner. 4 December 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  63. ^ a b "Páirc Uí Chaoimh: At €80m cost and 2 years in the making, Cork's new stadium is finally here". Irish Examiner. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  64. ^ Roche, Barry (18 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Naval ships to become test centres; Páirc Uí Chaoimh also offered". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  65. ^ "Cork GAA Official Website". Gaacork.ie. 1 January 2010.
  66. ^ Moran, Seán (11 September 2019). "Remembering when Kerry kicked ahead of Dublin 78 years ago: This year will be only the third replay between the counties, and the first in Croke Park". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 September 2019. By this stage the tendency to spread the semi-finals around the country was dying, and the 1941 replay in Tralee would be the last played outside Croke Park until 1983, when Dublin memorably went to Páirc Uí Chaoimh to take on Cork in an All-Ireland semi-final replay

External linksEdit