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LANSDOWNE ROAD HISTORY

The creation of Lansdowne Road Stadium was the vision of Henry William Dunlop, an outstanding young athlete who organised the first All Ireland Athletics Championships.  His vision was to create a purpose built sporting venue and this he did at Lansdowne Road where the Stadium first opened for athletics in 1872. 

The original Lansdowne Road Stadium was a multi sports venue including as it did a cinder track for athletics, a cricket pitch, a croquet green, three football pitches and facilities for archery and lawn tennis.  The first rugby match played at the ground was an inter provincial between Leinster and Ulster in December 1876.

Aviva Stadium under construction

In 1878 Lansdowne held its first international rugby fixture.  In the early 1900s the IRFU secured the lease of Lansdowne Road from the Pembroke Estate.  It was at this time that a plan was conceived to change the orientation of the stadium to North/South. Originally it had run from East to West.  The first stand was built in 1908. 

While Dunlop had conceived Lansdowne as a multi-purpose venue the ground soon became synonymous with rugby – although even in the 1950s a crowd of 40,000 witnessed Olympic gold medalist Ronnie Delany run there in an international athletics meeting. 

The most modern part of the stadium, the East Stand was built in 1983.  It was during the 1980s that the Irish soccer team also made Lansdowne its home. The first football game at the stadium took place in 1971 when Ireland played Italy in a friendly.

 In its old incarnation the Lansdowne Road Stadium was the oldest sports stadium in Europe.

The old stadium had a long an proud history of hosting world class athletics and sports events but it also has seen some of the worlds best artists including: Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli and Sammy Davies Junior, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi,  The Eagles, U2, REM.

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