Bohemian FC: The Oldest Football Club in Dublin

Bohemian FC Ultras

Bohemian Football Club – also known as Bohemian FC, Bohs, or Bohemians -was founded on September 6, 1890. They are the third most successful club in League of Ireland history and the oldest in Dublin.

Bohemian FC

In their 130 years of existence, they have successfully won the League of Ireland title eleven times and the FAI Cup seven times. Additionally, they won the League of Ireland Shield six times and the League of Ireland Cup three times.

Before the start of the Football Association of Ireland, Bohemian FC competed in the Irish football league and the Irish Cup. At that time, these were all Irish competitions. During that period, they won the Irish Cup once and finished second five times.

Together with their sworn rivals, Shamrock Rovers, they hold the record for the most wins in European competitions and also hold the record for Leinster Senior Cup having won it 31 times.

The club did not make their initial appearance in any European competitions until 1970. Like all Irish clubs, they’ve struggled in European competitions. However, they had memorable European nights too. Their finest moments came when they kicked out the Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen from the UEFA Cup in 2000. This was the first time a club from Ireland had beaten a British team away from home in a European competition.

The club is 100% owned by its members and its colours are red and black. This was adopted in the 4th AGM in October 1893. Bohemian FC fans go by the nicknames ‘Bohs’ or ‘the Gypsies.’


Bohemian FC‘s first permanent home was located at the Polo Ground in Phoenix Park. It was a small area that lacked storage space, which forced the team to store its equipment at Gate Lodge. However, they switched their home in the 1893-94 season. They found a private ground on Jones Road which is today known as Croke Park (the headquarters of Garlic Athletic Association).

Next, Bohs took the space on the ground that had previously been owned by the Old Belvedere playing fields. They are now occupied by the Cusack Stand.

However, at the start of the 1885-96 season, the team moved to a new home at Whitehall, Glasnerin. The main disadvantage of this location was that it lacked public transport access, which ultimately led to more searches for a suitable home.

Dalymount Park
Jackpollock / CC BY-SA

Finally, the long search came to an end when they switched over to Dalymount Park. The new ground was officially unveiled on September 7, 1901.

Fast forward and in 2006 Bohemian Football Club’s members agreed on selling Dalymount Park at a reported cost of €65,000,000. The deal included the building of a 10,000 seater stadium at Harristown. Things did not turn out well and on November 7, 2008, Bohemian FC lost a court case against Albion Limited. They had tried to resell part of the ground which was not theirs. The deal did not go through after the property market collapsed in 2008.

The Dublin Derby

Having first met on January 9, 1915, Bohemian FC vs Shamrock Rovers is one of the most fierce derbies involving two of the most successful teams in Ireland.

The two rivals come from different sides of the city. Bohemian FC originated in Phibsboro while Shamrock was formed in Ringsend on the southside. They initially played most of their matches on the Northside area during their homeless years before switching to the Southside.

This fixture is over a century old and has maintained its intense rivalry. Traditionally, it had numerous attendees but over the years, the numbers have dwindled. However, that has not stopped it from being an electrifying fixture.

Each derby has its own talking points and this one is not an exception either. With rivalry comes moments that are entrenched into our memories.

One of the most humorous moments remains the day a pig’s head was thrown onto the field. This was after Bohemian Dublin signed Tony Grant and James Keddy from rivals Rovers. Rovers fans were not pleased by this move and they saw it fit to throw a pig’s head into the fray. This gesture was aimed at Tony Grant in particular.

Even though both sets of fans would hate to admit it, Bohs fans need Rover fans in order to create the desired matchday atmosphere. Rivalries are what make a derby. In the case of Bohs versus Rovers, there is ample rivalry to make it a hot fixture.

The Notorious Boo Boys

Bohemian Football Club
Werner100359 / CC BY

In 2006, a few Bohemian Dublin fans came together and created an ultras group. Their main aim for doing this was to create a great atmosphere during their games. They are known as the Notorious Boo Boys.

The group can be seen with flares, flags as well as organized displays on matchday. The ultras see it as their task to create the best possible atmosphere through continuous chanting, singing, clapping, and lightning of flares.

Within the sporting narrative of the Bohs, Shamrock Rovers, their cross-city rivals, are seen as enemy number one. For most Bohs fans, especially the ultras, the derby is the highlight of the year. There, they can live out their rivalry on the stands and in the city.

Midfielder @ Hooligan F.C.

Donald Maloba is a Kenyan football writer and former football player. He eats, sleeps, and breathes football. He supports AFC Leopards.

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