Top Horse Races to Watch in Ireland in 2022
Often dubbed a “horse nation,” horse racing is an integral part of Irish culture and economy. Ireland is a major contributor to the sport, as Irish thoroughbred horses are known to be some of the best horse breeds in the world for racing.
Ireland is a small nation but full of racing activities. Horse racing is the most popular, while other races happen all around the year. As a result, most citizens throng the best Ireland betting sites to try their luck at winning some rewards.
In fact, horse racing has a long history on the island of Ireland. It has been mentioned in some of the ancient texts and has now become the passion of the nation. There are regular horse racing events around the year, with betting being a common hobby.
Today, over 1.3 million people travel to the country yearly as spectators for horse racing events. In addition, horse breeders contribute greatly to the nation’s economy generating up to €400 million annually from the sale of race horses.
Brief History of Horse Racing in Ireland
This sport continues to be one of the most popular spectator sports in Ireland, despite being prevalent in the country since the 15th century. Ancient Celtic texts referencing back to 110 BCE mention the occurrence of horse racing. However, this sport was formalized during the reign of Charles II, who was known to be a great lover of horse races.
Top Horse Races in Ireland
Today, you can witness this sport on some of the most iconic racetracks in the UK. The following horse races represent Ireland at its historic best.
Curragh Racecourse, County Kildare
With its first race dating back to 1727, this racecourse is one of Ireland’s most iconic tracks. Known for its thoroughbred races, the Curragh is a right-handed racetrack. It hosts all five Irish Flat Classics, including
- Irish 1000 Guineas
- Irish 2000 Guineas
- Irish Oaks
- Irish St.Ledger
- Irish Derby
There are some exciting horse races at Curragh in both August and September that you can look forward to, including the Flying Five Stakes on September 11.
Transport to Curragh on race days is easy as you can find shuttles running from Kildare Railway station. Special coaches also run from Dublin during these days.
Leopardstown Racecourse, County Dublin
Located 8 kn south of Dublin City Centre, Leopardstown Racecourse hosts more than 35 major races from January to December. Despite hosting national hunt racing and flat races throughout most of the year, September is the most exciting time to visit.
In fact, the 2022 Irish Championship Stakes is slated to be held on September 10, 2022.
The Irish Champion Stakes is always held during this period and is one of the most important horse racing events of the year. Over the years, Leopardstown has produced notable winners like Tom Dreaper and Vincent O Brian.
For leisure, you can also visit the Leopardstown golf course and clubhouse in the middle of the racetrack. You’ll find facilities like luxury boutiques, high-end pubs and restaurants, and even a music festival hosted between June and August.
Laytown Racecourse, County Meath
Taking place for just one day in September, the race at Laytown Racecourse is one of the most unique racing events in the world. Jockeys race over a near-straight line of the beach for a distance of 6 to 7 furlongs before making a U-turn and returning.
At Laytown, spectators can watch from a close, but safe distance as the horses compete on the sandy beach. This year, on September 8, the racecourse will feature the Laytown Strand races.
Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare
April is the best time to visit this racecourse as the Punchestown Racecourse Festival is typically held around this time. This year, you will also find some horse racing events in October and November. The Mid-week winter racing event is scheduled for November 29.
Hosting over ten racing events, the most notable races of this festival include
- Growise Champion Novice Chase
- Punchestown Gold Cup
- Punchestown Championchase
- Punchestown Champion Hurdle
Aside from horse racing, This racetrack has hosted some of the biggest musical acts in the world. Over the years, musicians like U2, Eminem, and AC/DC have appeared at Puchestwon’s festivals. Between 2004 to 2011, the racetrack was home to the Oxegen event, touted as the greenest musical festival in the world with 100% carbon neutral emissions.
Ballybrit Racecourse, County Galway
The 7-Day Galway Races Festival is a highlight of the Ballybrit racecourse. Held every August, this right-handed track hosts the following races. This year, the Galway Races are scheduled to be held on October 29.
Some of the other races you can look forward to in this racecourse are:
- Galway Plate
- Galway Hurdle
In October, you can also again witness the Ballybrit Novice Chase.
Horse Racing in Ireland
From national hunts to flat racing, the range of spotting events prove that Ireland is indeed a “horse state.” And with the centuries of history behind these races, visiting one of these historic Irish races is an unforgettable experience.
Horse racing is a popular sport that is enjoyed by millions around the globe. If you are a horse racing fan then you have reached the right place.