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Sports and Recreation Character Area

This area showcases sporting talent and participation, social and cultural activities, and the natural landscape. A key feature of a successful university campus is the provision of world-class sporting and recreation facilities. Such provision of publicly accessible, attractive and welcoming recreation facilities promotes a balanced, healthy life for students, faculty, staff and the wider local community.

The western section of the Belfield Campus has been designated as the Sports and Recreation Character Area. This Character Area encourages participation while also contributing to the development of social engagement. This Character Area incorporates pitches which stretch from the south-western verge of the campus across to the north-western section.

There are 30 full size external rugby, soccer, hockey and GAA pitches, as well as synthetic all-weather and 5-a-side pitches and tennis courts. Notable facilities include the Sports Centre, Student Centre, a 50m pool, gymnasium, the National Hockey Stadium and the UCD Bowl.

During the period of the previous Campus Development Plan, a consolidation of the University’s external facilities was undertaken. This was a strategic decision to create a dedicated sport and recreation area. Amongst other initiatives, the UCD Bowl was developed to provide a high quality outdoor sports arena for both soccer and rugby, compliant with UEFA and FAI licensing and IRB standards, in relation to playing surface quality, spectator comfort and safety.

Playing pitches were consolidated in close proximity to the UCD Sports Centre, with enhanced changing and support facilities. This included the relocation of some turf pitches from the eastern end of the campus. Further synthetic all-weather pitches were developed and have greatly improved conditions for year-round training and matches.

Although significant work has been completed in order to locate the sports pitches in an efficient and legible manner, further opportunities exist to upgrade, consolidate or expand the Area during the life of this Strategic Campus Development Plan. The original Sports Centre, built in the 1980s, will also undergo further modernisation to ensure continued high levels of functionality and quality.

The University will continue to improve and expand the on campus sporting facilities, to create centres of sporting excellence and to promote physical activity in the student population and the wider community.

The campus lands provide a rich recreational, cultural and social resource with improved accessibility for the wider local community. Initiatives to enhance community engagement in the immediate environs of the campus will be fostered through access to the playing pitches, the sculptural art trail and the woodland walks for local clubs, families and visitors, in addition to public access to cultural exhibitions, seminars, the UCD cinema and theatre events.