Shamrock Rovers were founded in Ringsend, Dublin. The official date of the club's foundation is 1899. They won the League title at the first attempt in the 1922–23 season and established themselves as Republic of Ireland most successful club by 1949, winning 44 major trophies. During the 1950s, the club won three League titles and two FAI Cups and became the first Irish team to compete in European competition, playing in the European Cup in 1957.
They followed this by winning a record six FAI Cups in succession in the 1960s, when they were also one of the European club teams that spent the summer of 1967 in the United States, founding the United Soccer Association. They won the first of four League titles in a row in 1983–84, after a long decline.
The club played at Glenmalure Park from 1926 to 1987, when the owners controversially sold the stadium to property developers. Shamrock Rovers spent the next 22 years playing home games at various venues around Dublin and on occasions, Ireland. They moved into Tallaght Stadium prior to the start of the 2009 season after years of delays and legal disputes, during which time the club's supporters saved them from extinction.
Shamrock Rovers wore green and white striped jerseys until 1926, when they adopted the green and white hooped strip that they have worn ever since. Their club badge has featured a football and a shamrock throughout their history. The club has a relatively large support base and shares an intense rivalry with Bohemian Football Club. On 26 August 2011 Rovers became the first Irish side to reach the group stages of either of the top two European competitions by beating Partizan Belgrade in the play-off round of the Europa League.
The foundation of Shamrock Rovers is disputed amongst supporters of the club. No official documentation of the era exists. For many years the earliest known mention of the club in the newspaper archives at the National Library of Ireland came from 1901 and an article in the club programme from 28 December 1941 claims that the club was founded in this year. Research by the Shamrock Rovers Heritage Trust uncovered a very brief report in the Evening Herald from April 1899 on a match between Shamrock Rovers and Rosemount, has established that the club was in existence from at least that time. The only two certainties about the origins of the club in relation to what year they were formed are the facts that, Rovers played only exhibition games for the first two years of their existence and the club registered with the Leinster Football Association in 1901. Essentially, the dispute is over whether the two years of exhibition games were played before or after the registration. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the date 1899 was written on the gates of Glenmalure Park but since the 1990s, 1901 had been adopted as the founding year by the various regimes which have run the club. In light of the discovery of evidence supporting a founding date before April 1899 the club opened a 1899 Suite in Tallaght Stadium in February 2017.