Sports meetings were frequently held on the area now occupied by Páirc Uí Chaoimh even before the establishment of the Gaelic Athletic Association. By the late 1890s the Cork County Board were allowed by the Cork Agricultural Company, the leaseholders of the land, to enclose a portion of the site for the playing of Gaelic Games. The county board built their own stadium on the land. The Cork Athletic Grounds opened in 1904 and hosted All-Ireland finals, Munster finals and National League games. Some developments took place over the years, however, by the 1970s the Athletic Grounds were in poor condition and a new plan was drawn up.
In 1974 the ground was completely demolished to make way for a totally new stadium. It was an ambitious plan, one that the GAA had never embarked on before. Páirc Uí Chaoimh was to be the new name for the GAA's first custom-built stadium. The modern bowl-shaped stadium features one covered stand, an open-air stand and two terraces behind each goalpost. The main stand is named after Sean Mac Carthaigh, Cork's second president of the GAA. The stadium itself is named after Pádraig Ó Caoimh, a native of Roscommon, this Irish War of Independence veteran became secretary of the Cork County Board at 21, and he began a 35-year stint as General-Secretary of the GAA barely a decade later. Páirc Uí Chaoimh was officially opened on June 6, 1976 by Con Murphy, then president of the GAA. On the opening day the Cork hurlers played Kilken