The charitable history of the Shamrock Bowl
DUBLIN, Ga. - The idea for the Shamrock Bowl in Dublin was born as a reward. Back when the stadium was built in 1962, the Fighting Irish were two-time state champions - in 1959 and 1960.
“Winning I guess means everything," said Scott Thompson with the Laurens County Historical Society. "A losing team at 3-7 every year they wouldn’t build a new stadium. By winning two state championships and having a core of upcoming kids and a strong rec program, they were looking for state championships throughout the 1960s."
In the days before SPLOST funds and generous booster clubs, the city of Dublin came together for the love of football - lucky for the Irish.
“Well this stadium has a storied history," said Jason Halcomes with the school system. "It was a true community project. When I say community I’m talking men and women, little homemakers, people who committed their own funds.”
Around $80,000 in total from the pockets of Dublin citizens. Not large lump sums, but whatever they could spare.
“A mechanic saying I’m going to commit five dollars a week out of my paycheck for the next 20 weeks," Halcombes said.
“Millionaires and even ordinary business men donating $5, $10, $15 a week," Thompson said.
“They decided in this community that we needed a stadium for our team," Halcombes said.
It was just their hard earned money they were donating. Around 100 volunteers gave their time and effort to build the bowl from the ground up in just five short months.
“That is just an amazing concept because nowadays I can’t imagine a community of any size or scope willing to do that," Halcombes said.
The foundation currently in the Shamrock Bowl is the same as when the stadium was built in 1962. In fact, much of the stadium is the same.
While press boxes and concession stands were later added, the Shamrock Bowl remains one of the more original and unique stadiums in Middle Georgia.
The stadium has had many face lifts over the years, but when head coach Roger Holmes came to Dublin in 2002, he made sure to respect the history of the bowl.
“When we put in the field house behind us and put in the jumbotron scoreboard, Don Lamb who spearheaded the building of the Shamrock Bowl, we met with him towards the end of his life," Holmes said. "We told him we wanted to try and keep this place as one of the best and he gave us his blessing.”
Today, the Irish are still fighting hard at the Shamrock Bowl, leaving it all out on the field that was laid down by those charitable Dublinites over 50 years ago.
Those 100 volunteers and countless donors left a lasting legacy for the city.
“No matter where you go across the state and in some cases the southeast, when you mention you’re from Dublin the very first thing that pops in their mind is ‘Oh, that’s where Shamrock Bowl is,'" Halcombes said.