Sometimes greyhound stadiums are relatively simple affairs. There’s a track that the dogs run around, a stand that the punters go to and normally a restaurant for people to get a bite to eat in. That’s not the case at the stadium that serves Lisburn and the Ballyskeagh area of County Down, Northern Ireland.
Instead, you’ll find a multi-purpose venue here, comprised of a place to watch football games under the name of the New Grosvenor Stadium, as well as a greyhound area that operates under the moniker of Drumbo Park. It’s obviously the latter enterprise that we’re interested in, so here you’ll find some information about what to expect when you head there.
Race Days & Times
The racing at Drumbo Park takes place twice a week. Both of them are evening meetings and both of them happen over the weekend, so it’s a time when people head to Lisburn to let their hair down. You’ll be able to watch the dogs on both a Friday and a Saturday.
When it comes to timings, it’s all about the evenings. The first race starts at 7.30pm on both nights, but you’re always better getting there about half an hour before. A 6.15pm arrival time will give you plenty of opportunity to get yourself a drink and settle in for the fun. The last race tends to get underway at 10.30pm.
- Ticket Prices: Like most greyhound racing venues, there are many deals ahead of time if you want to book in advance. If you just want to rock up on the night then you’ll pay £10 as an adult, whilst students will get £3 off that price and senior citizens will only pay a fiver. Kids under-16 are charged £3 with all prices including a Race Card.
- Getting There: The stadium is just off the B103, which is itself close to the M1. Derriaghy Train Station is not far away for those heading there on the train, whilst if you’re a bus fan then you’ll be looking for the 24b or the 524a.
- Parking There is a reasonably sized car park here, if you’re driving.
The village of Ballyskeagh is on the outskirts on the Northern Irish city of Lisburn. The area where the New Grosvenor Stadium now stands was originally a trotting venue for the locals, but it was bought by the Lisburn Distillery Football Club in 1980 and they turned into a football ground. Their previous stadium had been named Grosvenor Park so, never ones to be too imaginative, they named the place New Grosvenor Park. Their former home suffered damage when it was fire-bombed in 1971 and it was demolished the following year.
We’re most interested in the greyhound racing, of course, so you’ll be keen to know when it arrived. The stadium underwent modifications in the middle of the 1980s in order for dog racing to take place there. It initially took place under the name of Ballyskeagh Greyhound Track and wasn’t re-branded as Drumbo Park until 2010. That was because the racing stopped in 2005 due to funding problems and didn’t re-open until five years later under its new name.
When it re-opened it wasn’t just the return of greyhound racing that caused a stir. There was also a new 350-seat restaurant in the state-of-the-art venue. People who went there not only got a slap up meal and had an enjoyable night but may well have seen the introduction of the stadium’s first premier competition, the Northern Irish Derby. bettor.com sponsored the race and offered a £25,000 pot, making it the country’s richest event. When the prize money was cut two years after it was introduced the even lost a bit of its prestige.
There are four stands at the venue but they’re distinct from each other. Three of them come under the jurisdiction of the football club and the remaining one belongs to the greyhound company. The two organisations co-exist but little more than that. There is not much communication between the two and they do not allow the use of each other’s facilities. The football stands are all closed when the greyhound racing takes place and visa versa. That is the main reason they also appear to operate under two different titles: The football is at New Grosvenor Stadium and the racing takes place at Drumbo Park.