After the Game: Exploring the Best Irish Racecourses – Where To Enjoy the Thrill of Horse Racing in Ireland – Eye On Annapolis


In August, the Navy Midshipmen will take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in Dublin. Are you headed to the game? Indeed, you will take some time to explore the beautiful country of Ireland while there, and perhaps take in another sport!

Are you a racing enthusiast looking for your next thrilling horse race experience? Ireland is home to a diverse range of expertly crafted racecourses offering activities from steeplechases and flat races to point-to-points and jump meetings, all set among spectacular scenery. 

From the historic Punchestown Racecourse Meath to the visually stunning courses at Galway or Ballinrobe, there are plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy some exciting races while also discovering what makes each track unique. So, join us as we explore the best Irish racecourses across the Emerald Isle! 

Overview of Irish Racing Culture and History

Ireland has a long and rich horse racing history, with sporting contests going back to the mid-seventeenth century. There are a whopping 24 racecourses in Ireland, making race horsing a popular spectator sport in the country. 

Additionally, Ireland is a global center for breeding and training thoroughbreds. Ireland has around one racecourse per 270 000 inhabitants, making it the world’s highest per capita rate. This goes to show how loved horse racing is in the country. 

How To Prepare for a Day at the Races

In Ireland, the dress code for the races is quite relaxed, with no dress code being the order of the day. Visitors are free to dress up casually, such as wearing a t-shirt and jeans. 

To prepare for your day at the races, you need to secure tickets, with some venues offering cheap tickets or tickets at discounted prices for students or pensioners. Expect an electric and thrilling atmosphere, and bring a hat with you. Drinks and snacks are typically sold at the racecourse. 

Top Five Racecourses in Ireland

Curragh Racecourse

Curragh racecourse is based in County Kildare, and this is considered the most prestigious flat racecourse in Ireland. Here, the Irish Derby, Irish Oaks, Irish 2000 Guineas, and Irish 1000 Guineas take place, known as the four classics. 

At Curragh racecourse, the leading three-year-old thoroughbreds in Europe race to see who will emerge as the winner. If you want to place a bet, this racecourse is a popular place, with bookmakers readily available if you want to place bets before arriving at the track. 

Naas Racecourse

Naas racecourse is a very pleasant one to visit. It caters to national hunting and flat racing, making it one of the best racecourses in Ireland. This racecourse is located in Naas, county Kildare, Ireland, approximately 18 miles from Dublin. Here you will find both flat racing and National hunt racing. All racegoers enjoy this racecourse, including families who come out to enjoy the races. 

Fairyhouse Racecourse

Fairyhouse racecourse is located in Ireland and is situated in the parish of Ratoath in County Meath. The first race at Fairyhouse was hosted in 1848, and since the year 1870, it has been home to the Irish Grand National steeplechase. The main business on this racecourse is betting on races; however, apart from horse races, Fairyhouse has also hosted music festivals. 

Leopardstown Racecourse

The Leopardstown racecourse is one of the major racecourses in Ireland and is situated 8km South of Dublin. At this racecourse, flat and national hunt racing takes place, and the Irish champion stakes are the biggest race of the year that takes place here every year in September. The Leopardstown racecourse has high-quality facilities and is reachable through public transport from various boutique hotels in Dublin city centre. 

Galway Racecourse

Galway racecourse is situated in County Galway, Ireland, in the townland of Ballybrit. Every year in August, the 7-day Galway races festival is held, and this racecourse is a famous site for racehorse betting. 

Insider Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Racecourse Experience

If you want to get the most out of your experience, you should arrive early to secure good seating close to all the action. You should also place bets to hopefully walk away a winner. 

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