A total of three Greyhound tracks are to be found in Northern Ireland. And of that trio the most conveniently located for most potential punters is that of the multi-purpose Drumbo Park, which sits between South Belfast and Lisburn.
Taking advantage of its proximity to the capital city the track, also known as New Grosvenor Stadium for footballing purposes, rarely fails to draw in the crowds, particularly as the regular fixtures take place on punter-friendly Friday and Saturday evenings. Reopening for business in 2019 following a brief hiatus, the track boasts all the facilities you need for a cracking night at the dogs, including the impressive Grandstand Restaurant and an on-site bar.
What’s On Offer at Drumbo Park?
Since rejoining the ranks of tracks officially recognised by the Irish Greyhound Board, Drumbo Park has committed to providing a regular stream of Friday and Saturday evening fixtures throughout the year. Gates open at 6:30pm on both days, with the hare set in motion for the first race at around 7:30pm. And the fun doesn’t stop following the conclusion of the last race, with many sticking around for drinks and additional entertainment before the 11:30 pm closing time.
- Sprint Distance – 375y
- Middle Distances – 525y (standard) – 550y – 575y
- Stayers Distance – 600y
- Marathon Distance – 880y
Lisburn Distillery F.C.
In addition to staging regular conferences and events throughout the year, Drumbo Park – under its alter ego of the New Grosvenor Stadium – also acts as the home to Lisburn Distillery F.C. of the Northern Ireland Football League.
Together with the greyhound facilities, the site also features a main football stand, expanding the capacity to 7,000 for matches involving the side who currently ply their trade in the NIFL Premier Intermediate League.
What Can You Expect?
General admission at Drumbo Park is priced at £8 for adults and £6 for OAPs and students. For this price, visitors gain access to the outside terrace area, fully air-conditioned 300-seater grandstand, ground-floor lounge and also the first-floor lounge, complete with excellent panoramic views of the track. In addition to the standard entry, a Punter Pack is available at the majority of fixtures, which for just £12.50 includes entry, race card, a hot food option and a beer, cider or soft drink.
Parties of two or more may be interested in the excellent value Group Sharing Deal. Priced at £19.50 per head, this package includes admission, race card, reserved table, betting and drinks service and a selection of sharing platter food options.
The Grandstand Restaurant is situated on the first floor overlooking the track, meaning patrons can enjoy a delicious menu of main courses and desserts with an excellent view of the action. With both drinks and betting table service available, there is no need to even leave your seat. For those headed trackside to sample the racing at closer quarters, a selection of food to go can be purchased at the outdoor BBQ bar.
Amongst the most popular race days of the year are the track’s eight festive fixtures, running from late November through to December. Available for parties of up to 24, the special Christmas Package deal includes a 3-course meal, additional table snacks, admission, race card and post-race entertainment running until an extended 1 am – all for £35 per person.
Conference & Events Centre
In addition to the regular greyhound and football fare, the site also acts as a conference and events centre, with the Drumbeg Suite able to receive up to 80 guests, and the larger Lagan Suite accommodating a maximum of 160.
How to Get There
The stadium address is 57 Ballyskeagh Road, Lisburn, Northern Ireland, BT27 5TE. For those driving to the course, the track lies just off the B103 which turns off the main Belfast to Dublin motorway of the M1. Upon arrival at the track, motorists will find ample free parking available just outside the main entrance. Deriaghy Train Station is the closest to the track for rail travellers, lying around a 30-minute walk, or six-minute taxi ride away.
How to Get in Touch
- Tel: – 028 9061 0070
- Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: – @DrumboPark
What Else Do I Need to Know?
The site on which the current track is built has strong sporting links to the area, having initially been used as a trotting venue by locals. Much has changed since then though, although the venue retains a low-key feel.
The first significant development came in 1980 when Lisburn Distillery purchased the land to build a new stadium. Previously based at Grosvenor Park, the former home of “The Whites” suffered a major blow when severely damaged by firebombing, before ultimately being demolished to make way for a motorway link. Sticking with tradition the new stadium was christened New Grosvenor Park. The club remains on the site to this day, albeit being run as a completely separate entity to the greyhound operation.
The mid-1980s then saw the site modified to include Greyhound Racing for the very first time, with the section of the facility dedicated to the dogs originally going under the name of Ballyskeagh Greyhound Track.
Attempting to take the new venture into profit however proved to be a difficult task. So difficult that the business was wound down in 2005 due to funding issues. Greyhound racing is not, sadly, a thriving sport and there just didn’t seem to be sufficient interest to sustain this course with a lack of central funding from the Irish greyhound authorities.
That, however, was far from the end of greyhounds in the area, with the track reopening to much fanfare in 2009 (2010 according to some sources!). Renamed Drumbo Park, the new facilities were a huge step up on what had gone before, with the star attraction being the 350-seater glass-fronted à la carte restaurant, boasting panoramic views of the circuit.
Initially, all appeared to be going well for Drumbo Park, with the track acting as the stage for the short-lived Northern Irish Greyhound Derby between 2011 and 2014 – at the time the most valuable contest in the country. However, even the upgraded racing and facilities weren’t enough to make a success of things, with the track closing once more in 2019, only to be saved from liquidation by a former employee.
Run with Passion Ltd
Together with Nick Rose, John Connor formed a company by the name of Run with Passion Ltd and purchased the site and all greyhound equipment. Vowing to maximise the site’s potential as a conferencing venue to complement the greyhound action, the early signs are good that the latest incarnation of the track may prove a success. With both the profile of the venue and average attendances trending upwards, the future once again appears bright for the Ballyskeagh venue.