Clontarf Football Club was founded in 1876. Its original ground was on Vernon Avenue, rented for £3 per annum from a Monsieur George, who was a horse buyer for the French Army. Since its foundation the Club Colours have been Blue and Red, probably derived from the colours of the local Boat Club. Between 1876 and 1896 the Club transferred grounds several times in the Clontarf area from Vernon Avenue, firstly to a ground beside the Boat Club,which has for many years since been the Clontarf bus depot, then to the Howth Road and ultimately to Castle Avenue – it’s home since 1896.The grounds at Castle Avenue were sold to the clubs by the Vernon Estate who owned Clontarf Castle which is close by.
The minutes of early club meetings show that the members used the Boat Club premises as changing rooms and that goal posts were erected each Saturday morning and taken down after the match. The Club was also approached by a local group who wished to play Gaelic Football on Sundays and it was agreed to make the pitch available provided the Gaelic players dismantled the goalposts after their matches.
In 1902-03 Clontarf was admitted to Senior Ranks – Leinster League – and in the following year reached the final of the Leinster Senior Cup but were beaten by Landsdowne one goal (5 points) to one try (3 points).
Since 1896 the grounds at Castle Avenue have been jointly occupied by the Clontarf Cricket Club and Football Club. Until 1947 both games were played on the same ground, the wicket was fenced off in the winter but the grounds were separated since then with each club having exclusive use of part.
The official Club title is Clontarf Football Club rather than Clontarf Rugby Football Club. The explanation is simple – the club was formed before the Irish Rugby Football Union was formed and indeed before the Football Association of Ireland was formed and thus is one of a unique few remaining clubs with this entitlement.
The Bull emblem used in the logo derives from the district Clontarf, or in the Irish language, Cluain Tarbh which means Meadow or Field of the Bull.There are different theories as to the derivation, with one being the sound of the waves over the sandbars in Dublin Bay resembling the sound of a roaring bull.Clontarf is of course famous for the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 which effectively ended the reign of the Vikings and Norsemen in Ireland and it was also the location for one of the large meetings organised by Daniel O Connell in his campaign for Catholic Emancipation.