|Full name||RDS Arena|
|Public transit||Aircoach Route: 702 (Dublin Airport to Greystones/Bray)|
|Owner||Royal Dublin Society|
|Capacity||18,500 (16,500 seated)|
|Record attendance||22,000 (38,000 for a concert)|
|Renovated||2007 and 2008|
|Leinster Rugby (2005-present)|
The arena was developed to host equestrian events, primarily the annual Dublin Horse Show, which was first held there in 1881. The site had been acquired in 1879 by the RDS. The primary tenants of the RDS Arena are Leinster Rugby who compete in the Pro12 and Champions Cup. The arena has also hosted soccer and wrestling events, as well as concerts. The arena has a capacity of 18,500, 16,500 of which is seated.
The demountable north and south stands are removed for equestrian events, with only the Grandstand and Angelsea Stand permanent. The Angelsea Stand was completed in 1927. The Grandstand was rebuilt in 2006 for the 2006–07 rugby season, to replace the old wooden stand when Leinster first became permanent tenants. A roof was added during 2008-09. There are plans to redevelop the Arena, replacing the Angelsea Stand with another new permanent stand, which would incorporate the only terraced area of the stadium.
In July 2014, it was announced by the RDS and Leinster rugby that a design competition was being held to develop the arena into a 25,000 capacity world class stadium, with work expected to commence on the redevelopment in April 2016. The selling of naming rights to the arena will be a key component in funding the project, with an budget of at least €20,000,000 being proposed. A consortium of architect firms, Dublin-based Newenham Mulligan Architects and London-based Grimshaw Architects, won the international design competition for the multimillion-euro redevelopment of the RDS Arena.
The Stadium first hosted a football game on 30 September 1990 when Shamrock Rovers used it as a home ground. For the next six seasons until April 1996 Rovers played their home games there. The Stadium held its first international match on 19 February 1992 when it played host to a home game between Ireland and Wales national football team. The stadium hosted some games of the 1994 UEFA European Under-16 Football Championships including the third-place playoff and the final. The final of the FAI Cup was held at the RDS in 2007 and 2008 during the construction of the Aviva Stadium. The 2009 final, however, was moved to Tallaght Stadium. The RDS hosted a game between St Patrick's Athletic and Hertha Berlin in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup First round. St Patrick's Athletic also played Steaua Bucureşti in the Arena on 27 August 2009 in the Europa League. The RDS Arena hosted the Ireland team when they played Paraguay and Algeria in May 2010.
The Arena was originally constructed to host show-jumping events, the Dublin Horse Show has been held by the RDS annually since 1864. In 1881 the Show moved to ‘Ball's Bridge', a greenfield site. The first continuous ‘leaping' course was introduced at the Show. In the same year the first viewing stand was erected on the site of the present Grand Stand. It held 800 people.
In 1925 Colonel Zeigler of the Swiss Army first suggested holding an international jumping event. The Aga Khan of the time heard of this proposal and offered a challenge trophy to the winner of the competition. In 1926 International Competitions were introduced to the show and was the first time the Nations' Cup for the Aga Khan Challenge trophy was held. Up until 1949 the Nations' Cup teams had to consist of military officers. Six countries competed in the first international teams competition for the Aga Khan Challenge trophy - Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Ireland. The Swiss team won the title on Irish bred horses.
In 1976, after 50 years of international competition, the two grass banks in the Arena were removed so the Arena could be used for other events. The continental band at the western end of the Main Arena was added later.
The RDS also hosted the Show Jumping World Championships in 1982.
The stadium first opened its doors to rugby union on Saturday 15 October 2005, hosting a game between Leinster Rugby and the Cardiff Blues, which Leinster won 34 – 15, the arena hosted 4 further games that season. The following season, the RDS was not used by Leinster due to redevelopment.
The 2007–08 season saw the RDS become the official home of Leinster when the branch signed a 20-year lease on the ground, with all of the home games for the season to be hosted there. This change came about after it became apparent that the team's former home of Donnybrook Stadium no longer had a sufficient capacity. After renovation and expansion, the Grandstand and North and South Stands were expanded, boosting the capacity to 18,500 along with floodlights being installed and a new playing surface being laid, to withstand the demands of a full rugby season and show jumping events.
The RDS had proven to be a very successful hunting ground for Leinster, as they won 11 of their 12 home games that season, culminating on Saturday 3 May 2008 in a 41 – 8 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons and lifting the Celtic League trophy that day. In all, Leinster had played 18 games in the RDS, losing only twice, to Bath and Scarlets.
Between March 2008 and 2010, the final of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup was played in the RDS due to the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road, its traditional venue.
The RDS hosted the autumn rugby international between Ireland and Fiji on 21 November 2009. Ireland were convincing winners on the day.
Boyzone played at the arena in 1999 and once again in their reunion in 2008.
Bruce Springsteen has played there on six tours since 1988, during "The Rising Tour" in 2003, during the "Magic Tour" in May 2008 and during the "Working on a Dream Tour" in July 2009. He will once again return to the RDS Arena on 17 & 18 July 2012 for what will be his tenth and eleventh concerts at the venue. His three sold out shows there in 2008 were seen by a total of 110,000 fans.
Bon Jovi have played the venue many times. They played over two nights in June 2011 to over 80,000 people.
Radiohead played to 38,000 people, on 20 June 1997, which was their highest attended performance at the time.
Paul McCartney played there on his "Up and Coming Tour" on 12 June 2010 and was host to him, due to a fireworks display that couldn't be done in an indoor arena, such as the O2 Arena, which hosted his "Good Evening Europe Tour" on 22 December 2009.
U2 played here on 27 and 28 August 1993 as conclusion to the Zooropa tour, the European stadium leg of the ZooTV tour which supported the album Achtung Baby. The second show was broadcast internationally on the radio, being 15–20 minutes delayed, reportedly due to the band's generosity to the playing time of their opening bands (Scary Eire and Stereo MC's). During the opening number Zoo Station on this night, Bono altered a lyric to say "Hey child, it's alright, sleeping in my own bed tonight".
Simple Minds played the RDS on their Street Fighting Years tour, 19 August 1989.
The Arena was the principal venue for the 50th International Catholic Eucharistic Congress held 10–17 June 2012. Eucharistic Congresses are held generally every four years in various places around the world to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church, to help improve the understanding and celebration of the liturgy and to draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist. Expected attendance was 10,000-20,000 persons each day, with up to 80,000 at the closing Mass in Croke Park on 17 June. A Congress was last held in Ireland in 1932.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to RDS Arena.|
- "A Brief History of Shamrock Rovers". Goggins, Robert. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- StPatsFC.com – Match Report
- "Ireland to face Paraguay and Algeria". Football Association of Ireland. 14 February 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- Watterson, Johnny (16 May 2009). "RDS to host Fiji for debut on international rugby stage". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "Bruce Springsteen rocks the RDS…". Hot Press. 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- "Bruce Springsteen Working On A Dream Tour Dates 2009". Pop Crunch magazine website. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- "Venues". IEC2010 Website. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "What is a Eucharistic Congress". IEC2010 Website. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "Momentous Occasion". IEC2010 Website. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- O'Connell, Edel (11 June 2012). "Attendance". Independent.ie Website. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "Attendance". Herald.ie Website. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "Eucharistic Congress 1932". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2012-06-16.