Horse racing is one of the most popular pastimes in Ireland. With racetracks dotted across the Emerald Isle, we are counting down the top five most famous.
Irish horse racing continues to be as popular as ever and, inside the country, there are some fantastic racecourses for fans to visit.
From Dublin to Galway and everywhere in between, there are plenty of locations to choose from for those wanting to enjoy a day at the races.
Here we take a look at the top five most famous horse racing tracks, with what they offer for those looking to make a visit.
5. Punchestown Racecourse, Co. Kildare – the home of national hunt racing
Punchestown is the home of national hunt racing in the country, which is why this one of the most famous horse racing tracks in Ireland.
Leading the way is the Punchestown Festival, an end-of-season bash where the best of the best take each other on.
Last season, Honeysuckle won the Punchestown Champion Hurdle in great style.
She is now the 4/9 favourite in the latest horse racing betting odds to win at Cheltenham. She will likely head to Punchestown again in April if all goes well.
This is a place where you will see many Cheltenham Festival winners run again for the final time of the season.
Thus, giving fans one more chance to see the big clashes that have already hit the headlines at Cheltenham or elsewhere before the meeting.
Address: Punchestown, Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland
4. The Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare – the home of flat racing in Ireland
The Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare is the home of flat racing in Ireland.
So, if you want to take a trip to the course to see one of the biggest Irish flat races of the season, you will likely have to visit The Curragh.
The Curragh is home to all four Irish classics, the 1000 and 2000 Irish Guineas, the Irish Oaks, and Irish Derby.
Thus, some of the best three-year-olds in Europe will attempt to win those contests at this very course.
In 2021, Hurricane Lane won the Irish Derby. With a late surge to push ahead, many will be looking to emulate what he did in 2022 when this race comes back around in the summer.
Address: Newbridge, Co. Kildare, R56 RR67, Ireland
3. Leopardstown Racecourse, Co. Dublin – for races all year round
Home to both national hunt and flat racing, many big races are held here. The biggest of all is the Irish Champion Stakes, won by St Mark’s Basilica in 2021, in very controversial style.
Thanks to its close proximity to Dublin, this is an incredibly popular choice, with punters looking to visit the Irish capital and take in horse racing at the same time.
Another big reason for the course’s popularity is the fact that racing takes place here all year round. So, regardless of when you want to visit, there is likely to be a meeting coming up.
Address: Leopardstown Racecourse, Foxrock, Dublin 18, D18 C9V6, Ireland
2. Laytown Racecourse, Co. Meath – for something different
For those wanting something different, this is the track for you.
With just one meeting per year in September, racing doesn’t happen too often here. This is because races are run on the beach.
The seven-furlong course dates back to 1868 and provides one of the most unique spectacles you will find in racing anywhere around the world.
Address: Strand Rd, Ninch, Laytown, Co. Meath, Ireland
1. Galway Racecourse, Co. Galway – one of the most famous horse racing tracks in Ireland
The Galway Racecourse is the home of the famous Galway Festival, a seven-day racing festival that tests even the best punters in Ireland.
The track offers something a little different as mixed racing is common here. So, you will be able to visit a meeting and see both flat and jumps races taking place on the same card.
The festival takes place in August and is one of Ireland’s biggest betting weeks of the year.
Address: Ballybrit, Galway, H91 V654, Ireland
As you can see, there are plenty of options if you want to visit a racecourse the next time you visit Ireland.