Horse Racing Ireland
Punchestown Race Course, Naas County Kildare
Punchestown is the Irish equivalent to Cheltenham in every respect. Great National Hunt (Jump) racing and new Grandstands and facilities make this our Premier National Hunt Course. The course itself is relatively flat and is oval in shape affording good viewing. In the centre of the Racecourse proper is the Cross Country Course where the famous "La Touche Cup" is competed for. If you have never seen jump racing before Punchestown is a great place to start. Truly spectacular as horses leap over 4'6" Birch fences at racing speed, or smaller Hurdles, (which can prove just as difficult to jump) you will marvel at how the Horse - Jockey partnerships stay intact! The Punchestown Festival - spread over a few days, is one of the best meetings to attend in Ireland. High quality horses competing for good prize money and a bumper attendance ensured over the week of the festival make this an annual event not to be missed.
Punchestown festival marks the start of the summer racing festivals in Ireland each year and is very busy. Located near Naas town in County Kildare there are great crowds at each day of the meeting and early arrival is a must. The roads surrounding the course are single lane each way so get very busy. I would recommend arriving by at the latest 11.30 am on each day. To save some time you would be also well advised to book early. For Hospitality, Tickets and Bookings go to the Punchestown website here.
The Curragh Racecourse, Kildare, County Kildare
The Curragh has a long standing tradition in racing. Home to the Budweiser Irish Derby and a number of Group 1, 2 and 3 races it is truly the "home of the classics". The course itself is flat and affords great spectator viewing from the updated grandstands and visitor facilities. Situated on the Curragh Plains in County Kildare about 40 minutes drive from Dublin Airport. Admission Charges vary, according to the meeting in question, EUR12 on normal race days (approx $13), and up to EUR60 (approx $65) on Budweiser Derby Day. The facilities at the Curragh are excellent, Wheelchair access is possible to most area's, the Restaurants are high quality and even on the busiest of days the service is very good. If you are planning a trip to the Irish Derby please be aware that this is a very busy meeting and that unless you book in advance you may not be able to get accommodation and transport arranged.
Galway Race Course, Ballybrittas, Galway
The Galway Races are the best attended racing festival in Ireland (the average attendance is about 35,000 per day) and the festival is held over an entire week. This is a very busy time to book accommodation in Galway and to make other arrangements so it is wise to plan well in advance.
Galway Racecourse is located about 3 miles outside the city centre in Ballybrit, approximately one mile from Galway Airport. All routes to the Racecourse are clearly marked by A.A. yellow signs and a continuous bus services operates to and from Eyre Square (the city centre) on race days. You can beat the traffic to the racecourse by taking a short helicopter ride from the Corrib Hotel, just outside the city, direct to the racecourse and back. This costs around EUR 40 pp each way but the flight adds to the atmosphere and is always far quicker than by car. There are also regular train and bus services in operation from all major towns to Galway. The facilities at Galway racecourse are excellent. There is a viewing stand adjacent to the steward's stand and provisions for the disabled. The Millennium Stand is a superb 3-level facility with bars, restaurants and viewing areas. Tickets can be booked on line here for corporate dining and functions and reserved seating.
There are several excellent pubs and restaurants in the city, and they will all be very busy during the festival. Music, song and craic is the order of the week and the main entertainment area "Shop Street" is always buzzing with happy race goers. During the day, there are some great shops to explore, and at night a selection of nightclubs to party the night away in!
Whatever your plans for the Galway race week, make sure you are early, the crowds are huge and this year will be no exception. This is a great social and sporting occasion that should not be missed if you are in the country at this time.To find out more or buy tickets on-line, click here.
Tralee Festival County Kerry
The Tralee Festival, which also includes the Rose of Tralee festival, is another of the Irish Festivals that take hold of the Country for over a whole week. The Tralee August meeting is the centrepiece of the International Rose of Tralee Festival. The festival sparkle spreads to the course for five days of great racing-this is a unique experience and is not to be missed.
One of the premier festivals of the world, the Rose of Tralee Festival attracts thousands of visitors to Tralee each August. The highlight of the week is the selection of the International Rose of Tralee. Contestants come from every corner of the world and symbolise the Irish characteristics of warmth, friendliness and outgoing good humour. Book Hospitality, Tickets and Get more info here. Tralee racecourse is one and a half miles from the town centre, off the Tralee-Killarney road. Naturally, as with all festivals in Ireland, the area will be very busy - Book early for accommodation and car hire.
The two day June bank holiday meeting is also an ideal way to get into the summer with traditional Kerry hospitality and scenery. Click here for more details on Tralee Racecourse.
Leopardstown, County Dublin
The Leopardstown Christmas Festival is always very well attended, especially the first day (St Stephens Day), when large crowds start arriving from 10am to this County Dublin race course. The racecourse itself is only a 30 minute drive from Dublin Airport, under normal circumstances, but you must allow at least 90 minutes to get there from Dublin City on busy race days. The roads surrounding the course are quite narrow and generally only a single lane in each direction. There are several other transport options open to you including Helicopter Flights from Dublin. (See Below) You can Pre Book your tickets on line from the Leopardstown Web site HERE. You can also arrange Restaurant Bookings and Table Reservations direct from their site. Whenever we have attended this meeting we always get to the course by at the latest 11am. To leave it any later will see you sitting in heavy traffic for a long time. If you are travelling a long distance you would be well advised to stay in a local Hotel and ask them to arrange your transport to the course for you. The above said you will enjoy the high quality racing and the great cráic (fun) to be had here. Well worth attending.
Fairyhouse, County Meath
Fairyhouse is the home of Ireland's premier National Hunt race, the Powers Gold Label Irish Grand National, which is run every year on Easter Monday this year, from the 20th-22nd of April 2003. The facilities at the course are excellent, the new grandstand provides good viewing over the whole course, the catering and bar service is good and of a high standard. For more details on racing and facilities at Fairyhouse please click here.
Tramore Festival, County Waterford
Situated 7 miles from Waterford city in Irelands "Sunny South East" - Tramore Racecourse has proven to be an excellent venue for a great days racing and socialising - just as you would expect from one of Irelands long established race meetings. The facilities at Tramore are good, with on-site catering and bar facilities, buffet and snack meals are available every race day, while a full table-service restaurant is provided for the duration of the August Festival. For more information on racing in Tramore please click here