Leinster Rugby - The RDS Arena

View from the Anglesea Stand towards the North Stand (l) and Grandstand (r) 

Leinster Rugby are the provincial side representing the East of Ireland, and are undoubtedly the most successful Irish side in recent years. The branch was founded in the capital city of Dublin in 1879, where they are based today at the RDS Arena. Prior to the professional era Leinster competed in annual Irish interprovincial matches as well as against touring international sides such as Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. 

Ground Information                                     Back to Top ^ 

The RDS Arena is located in the Dublin suburb of Ballsbridge, approximately 2 miles South of the City Centre. Leinster traditionally played their home fixtures at Donnybrook, before success on the pitch led to an increase in home supporters and an eventual move to the RDS. Leinster's gates in the league now average around 17-18,000, well in excess of most other sides competing in the competition. For high-profile European games and derby fixtures against fierce rivals Munster, games are sometimes switched to the nearby Aviva Stadium, home to the Irish national team.

The stadium has two main covered stands running along the touchlines. The Anglesea Stand is the older of the two, and also offers the only standing terrace in the ground to its front. There are some supporting pillars here, so views can be a little obstructed but not to any great extent. Sitting opposite is the impressive modern Grandstand. Behind both sets of posts are large sections of uncovered seating, known as the North and South Stands, that can be removed for the equestrian events that also take place at the RDS.

The Grandstand

Getting There                                                                                   Back to Top ^ 

By Car

Parking arrangements vary at the RDS depending on the event, date and time - your best bet is to check with the club's website in advance of your fixture, or if possible leave the car behind as there can be restrictions on matchdays.

By Train

The closest station to the RDS is Sandymount on the DART light-rail line. Journeys from Connolly Station (one of the main stations in Dublin) take around 10 minutes.

By Bus

The bus is a good option for those wishing to travel from the City Centre to the ground without walking. Dublin Bus routes 4, 5, 7, 7A, 8, 18 and 45 all serve the Ballsbridge area.

In addition, the 145 bus stops at nearby Old Wesley RFC. This bus departs from Heuston train station, so is ideal for those travelling from out of the city or other parts of Dublin.

By Air

Dublin Airport is 11km North of Dublin City, and 15km from the RDS. Regular flights operate to a wide range of destinations, including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow (International and Prestwick), Leeds/Bradford, London (City, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Southend), Lyon, Manchester, Milan (Linate and Malpensa), Nantes, Newcastle, Nice, Paris (Beauvais and CDG), Rome (Ciampino and Fiumicino), Southampton, Venice (Marco Polo) and Verona.

A taxi will cost around 25 Euros to the City Centre. Alternatively, bus services operate from the Airport to the City Centre;

  • Aircoach services depart every 15 minutes and operate to a range of destinations across Dublin, include the suburbs close to the ground if you are staying in the South Dublin area.

  • Dublin Bus offer the cheapest (but slowest) connections to the City Centre on the 16A bus, and also operate an Airport Express service
By Ferry

There are two ports in the Dublin area that offer passenger services.

Dublin Port

Stena Line Ferry services run from Holyhead in North Wales to Dublin, taking just over 3 hours. Irish Ferries also operate on this route, taking between 2 hours and just over 3 hours depending on the service selected. Bus connections to the City Centre are operated by Dublin Bus and take around 30 minutes.

Dún Laoghaire Port

Stena Line Ferry services run from Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire, taking around 2 hours. From Dún Laoghaire, you can take the DART suburban railway to Dublin or mainline rail services. Buses also operate from Dún Laoghaire to Dublin. It is also the handier port for the stadium, as it is located to the South of the city.

The South Stand
Image - Owen Pavey

Drinking                                                                                                            Back to Top ^

In The Ground

There are a number of bars inside the ground, although these do not provide a great deal of protection from the elements. Therefore, most fans tend to drink in one of the nearby pubs prior to kick-off.

Before/After the Game

Most supporters meet up before and after Leinster matches in the Horse Show House on Merrion Road. Other popular watering holes in the area include Paddy Cullens, Crowes and Mary Macs. The aforementioned Leinsterfans.com guide to the area here can provide excellent directions to your pub of choice.

Dublin is famed for its nightlife, and although most visitors head to the Temple Bar area in the City Centre, it can be fairly expensive and packed with stag and hen parties. If that isn't your scene there are a multitude of other places you can drink in Dublin, from traditional Irish bars with live music to large nightclubs open until the small hours - check out one of the guides online.

View from the South Stand

Eating                                                                    Back to Top ^

In the Ground

Help fill out this section!

Before / After the Game

You are unlikely to go hungry in Dublin, which caters for every budget and preference, although the popular tourist areas will tend to be more expensive so it's best to shop around or check out reviews to ensure you get value for money.

Image - Owen Pavey

Sleeping                                                                Back to Top ^

From luxury hotels to dirt-cheap hostels, Dublin caters for every type of visitor so simply search online to find what you fancy, though be warned that prices tend to be above average due to the popularity of the city. The majority of first-time visitors stay in the City Centre close to the action, although if you want a more relaxed stay you could consider staying in the Ballsbridge / Donnybrook area near to the ground and still be within easy reach of the main sights.

Make a Trip of It                                                   Back to Top ^

Dublin is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, famous for its nightlife, history and a list of attractions too numerous to include here. Whether you are into fine dining, exploring history or a night on the tiles, Dublin should fit the bill.

Key Information

Disabled Supporters

  • There is a covered disabled viewing area from the Anglesea stand at the North End of the ground.

  • Can you provide some information for this section? Let us know here.

European Excellence

  • In the past few years Leinster have dominated the European club rugby scene, after several appearances in the Quarter and Semi-Finals.

  • They finally lifted the coveted trophy with a 19-16 victory over Leicester Tigers at Murrayfield in 2009.

  • The following year saw a semi-final defeat against Toulouse, before Leinster became only the second side to win back-to-back titles with victory over Northampton in 2011 and Ulster in 2012.

  • The men in Blue had a shock exit from the Heineken Cup at the group stage in the 2012-13 season, but went on to make up for this disappointment by winning the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup.

The Celtic League

  • In the Celtic League (now Pro12), Leinster were the original victors with a 24-20 win over Munster in the 2001-02 final. A few years in mid-table followed as the province steadily built both on and off the field.

  • Leinster finished top of the table in 2007-08 and 2009-10, though in the latter the Irish side were defeated by the Ospreys in the final of the new playoff system.

  • Further final defeats followed in 2010-11 (vs Munster) and 2011-12 (vs Ospreys),with the caveat that the side have usually also been competing in the knock-out stages of the European Cup which usually took priority over the Pro12.

A Helpful Guide

  • The good people at Leinsterfans.com have provided a lot of the information for this page, and have produced a great map of the Ballsbridge area, with the bars and restaurants mapped out.

  • You can check it out here.

Add Your Information

  • Got something to add? Spotted a mistake? The Rugby Ground Guide is dependent on your input to make it work

  • You can submit information or images here.