Laytown Racecourse

A truly unique racecourse – Laytown. Situated in County Meath, Ireland, this village overlooking the Irish Sea is a beautiful location which sees horses race on the beach. Historically, the place was called Ninch.

Racing dates back to 1868.

Laytown racecourse is unique being raced on the beach to the sound of crashing wave and smell of salty air. This Flat racing event, over a straight course, which covers a distance of either 6 or 7-furlongs has a long and prestigious history. The old course – pre-1994 – which followed a horseshoe shape allowed racegoers to get close to the action with races taking place over distances from 5f – 2m.

In fact, there is just one race meeting which takes place every September with seven-race card and total prize money about £40,000. Racing takes place under the rules and regulations of Horse Racing Ireland. Such is its popularity the BBC made a documentary: Racing The Tide.

Also, there is a great publication about Laytown Races by historians John Kirwan and Fiona Ahern: Laytown Strand Races: Celebrating 150 Years.

In 1994, there was an incident where a horse ran into the crowd which saw both horses and spectators injured this led to future race meetings abandoned for a few years. However, they returned with heightened safety measure including spectators watching racing from adjacent fields. Each year a crowd of over 5,000 enjoy Laytown races.

Laytown is a scenic location with many landmarks and attractions including Mornington Manor, Millifont Abbey & Slane Castle.

It has delightful racing fans since the mid 19th Century and attended by famous jockeys and even royalty. In fact, history has seen very little stop this meeting from taking place apart from world wars and Coronavirus.

There is something very natural about horses running on beaches. Although this meeting isn’t quite the same as its heyday, it is still one of the most famous racing venues anywhere in the world. If you want to enjoy a truly memorable race day then Laytown has to feature on your bucket list. The combination of a racing spectacle and Irish hospitality is sure to fill your heart with joy.

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Whatever happened to Hurst Park Racecourse?

Whatever happened to Hurst Park Racecourse?  Hurst Park Racecourse was situated at Molesey Hurst, on the southern bank of the River Thames, near West Molesey, Surrey. In fact, it occupied more or less the same site as the old Hampton Racecourse, which staged its final meeting on June 15, 1887, after the Jockey Club refused to renew its licence. Notwithstanding its compact size, Hampton was an open, rather than enclosed, course, with no admission fee. The absence of this additional revenue scheme, coupled with the fact that just four days’ racing were staged annually, led to the deterioration of the course to the point that it was deemed unfit for racing by the governing body of the day.

Two years later, though, the site was purchased by the Hurst Park Club Syndicate Limited and developed as a closed course. Initially too small to be granted a licence for Flat racing, Hurst Park Racecourse staged its first National Hunt fixture on March 19, 1890. Thereafter, the course was extended onto nearby open country to create an oval, 11 furlongs in extent, and a straight, 7-furlong ‘Victoria Cup’ course, suitable for Flat racing. The first Flat fixture duly took place on March 25, 1891.

The Victoria Cup, itself, was a established, as a two-mile handicap, in 1901, before being run for the first time in its modern guise, over 7 furlongs, in 1908. The race was transferred to Ascot the year after the closure of Hurst Park in 1962, where it is still run annually in May and remains as fiercely competitive as ever. The Victoria Cup aside, the other principal race in the history of Hurst Park was the Triumph Hurdle, which was established in 1939 and has been a fixture of the Cheltenham Festival, staged annually in March, since 1968.

On the afternoon June 8, 1913, Emily Davison finally succumbed to the injuries she sustained when struck by Anmer, the horse owned by King George V, during the so-called ‘Suffragette Derby’ at Epsom four days earlier. That night, fellow activists Kitty Marion and Clara Giveen set fire to the main grandstand at Hurst Park, reducing it to ‘a fantastic medley of charred wood, twisted iron, broken and melted glass…’ and causing an estimated £10,000 worth of damage. The pair were tried and convicted at Surrey Assizes in Guildford the following month but, despite being sentenced to three years apiece in Holloway Prison, were released early under the 1913 1913 Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act, a.k.a. the Cat and Mouse Act, as the result of hunger striking.

Hurst Park survived, albeit that the resulting damage, coupled with the outbreak of World War I the following year, led to the cessation of racing at the venue 1916 amd 1918. It was a similar story during World War II, when Hurst Park became a military camp, housing British and American troops, between 1941 and 1945. Nevertheless, racing resumed after the cessation of hostilities and, in 1946, the Easter Monday meeting, transferred from nearby Kempton Park, featured a record attendance of 49,600, according to the Tote.

Indeed, the popularity of Hurst Park endured right up to its closure, following the final meeting on October 10, 1962. By that stage, though, the value of the land on which the racecourse stood, as a prime real estate location, far exceeded that as a sporting venue and the owners decided to cash in their investment. Much of the racecourse infrastructure disappeared; the turf, for example, was ripped up and relaid on the new National Hunt course at Ascot, which opened in 1965. However, the huge brick pillars on either side of Graburn Way, which originally supported large gates, still survive.

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Killarney Racecourse


Ireland conjures up visions of relaxation, a touch of magic and hearty laughter from sleepy- backstreet pubs. It’s good reason to visit the Emerald Isle. Even more reason to visit Killarney Racecourse, County Kerry. If you’ve never visited Ireland it’s easy to spend a couple of days enjoying not only the horse racing but the hospitality of the area. locations such as Ross Castle and Lough Leane. No wonder it’s called a ‘Green and pleasant land’ if not paradise found. At least, that what the Google Reviews detail.

Killarney is a town situated in southwestern Ireland. In fact, it sits on the shore of Lough Leane and a very scenic landscape. A population of 14,500. This province of Munster details splendid buildings from the 19th century including the majestic St. Mary’s Cathedral and across the bridge the Killarney National Park. The park features the Victorian mansion Muckross House, gardens and traditional farms.

The beauty of this location is literally its location.

A short flight from London Stansted to Kerry Airport. It’s just an 18-minute drive to a landscape nothing short of outstanding.

Killarney Racecourse is a stone’s throw from Lough Leane and Ross Castle which looks inviting. In fact, there are a number of easy walks including The Old Boathouse Trail (1km), Library Point (5km) & Arthur Young’s Walk (5.6km) that was established in 1776.

The Killarney National Park is ideal for walking and hiking, trails, cycling, horse riding, canoe and kayaking, fishing, swimming, birdwatching guided tours and even jaunting cars, the old-style horse and carriage ride. What better way to head from the mountain views of The Lake Hotel to Killarney Racecourse on a beautiful summer’s day.

The What, Why, When & Where About Killarney Racecourse

Killarney Racecourse: Ireland’s Most Scenic Racecourse

It’s a fitting statement to an idyllic destination. With just 13 fixture each season from May – October (8 evening fixtures) and 7 National Hunt and 6 Flat turf meetings.

Check out the dates but 2024 meeting are as follows:

  • May – 12th, 13th & 14th

  • July – 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th & 19th (Ladies & Gents Day)

  • August – 22nd, 23rd & 24th (Ladies Day)

  • October – 6th & 7th

For additional information, please contact: Ross Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland.

Tel: +353 64 6631 125


V93 KR0H

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How To Get There:

Road: 96km NW of Cork and 32km SE of Tralee. From Killarney, take the N71 through the town and towards Muckross. Just outside the town, turn right onto Ross Road, and the racecourse is 1km down on your left hand side. Rail: Killarney served regularly by trains from Dublin Heuston Air: Kerry (16km). Helicopter landing available if arranged in advance Bus: Regular service from Dublin, Cork and Limerick to Killarney tel: 00353 (0) 18 366 111

Course Map:

Flat racing – Left-handed, sharp, flat track with a circuit of 1m 2f.

Hurdle – Left-handed, sharp flat track, Fences not too stiff with a circuit of 1m 2f.

Chase – Left-handed, sharp track, Fences not too stiff with a circuit of 1m 2f.

Interesting Flat racing distances range from 1m – 2m 1f.

Jump racing distance range from 2m – 2m 7f.

Why Not Enjoy Kelliher’s Toyota Ladies Day at Killarney 24th August

Don’t forget there are lots of prizes to be won for finalists. Day 3 of the August Festival with an Approximate start time of 1:55pm – Saturday 24th National Hunt Card.

Tickets cost 25 (Euros)

Hospitality Packages: Maurice O’Donoghue Suite Package – Ladies Day 89 (Euros)

What you get: Race card, your own table with panoramic view and birds eye view of winning post. BBQ Package and Gourmet Burger/Cronin’s Cumberland sausage or chicken skewer & 2 sides of choice. Tote service and Full bar service. Two complementary Bottles of prosecco per table.

Punter’s Package:

Admission & race card.

Food Voucher to spend in any outdoor or take away options.

Free Tote Bet

Voucher for 1 pint or Glass of Wine.

Dining & Membership Options:

Panoramic Restaurant

The Maurice O’Donoghue Suite

Casual Dining



Burger Bar

Bespoke Dining Packages

The Punter’s Pack

To add to the fun, Killarney Racecourse has Ross Golf Course and Killarney Racegoers Club.

Killarney Racecourse is a scenic racecourse to be enjoyed and savoured. What better than an idyllic getaway visiting Ireland’s Most Scenic Racecourse.

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3 Racecourses I Would Love To Visit

3 Racecourses I Would Love To Visit  I’ve not been to many horse racecourse in my life. In fact, I can count them on two hands. In truth, each racecourses holds a story which, in ways, goes beyond just a day at the races. Those I have visited include: Great Yarmouth, Newmarket, Leicester, Kempton (turf), Royal Ascot, Huntingdon & Fakenham.

Considering there are 59 racecourse in Britain there’s ample opportunity to travel near or far.

The question arose: ‘Which is your favourite racecourse?’ when travelling with my two brothers to Great Yarmouth, for a day at the races. The train inspector came around to check our tickets and we go chatting about our trip to the Norfolk racecourse. I asked him about his favourite and he said Cartmel, which is small national hunt racecourse in the village of Cartmel in the county of Cumbria. It’s a compact course which is dog friendly detailing 9 fixtures throughout the season. The most prestigious race being the Cumbria Crystal Cup which takes place in July.

This got me thinking about 3 racecourses I would love to visit.

In no particular order:

Killarney, Ireland –

I’ve never visited Ireland which is a real shame and something I intend to put right with a day or two’s racing at Killarney. I had heard people saying it was set in a beautiful location so I had a look on Google Maps. I was inspired by this racecourse in the Emerald Isle. Called ‘Ireland’s most scenic racecourse’ located at County Kerry. The course dates back to 1822 and stages both national hunt and flat racing. It’s a beautiful location, a stones throw from Ross Castle and Lough Leane in the Killarney National Park. It looks a truly amazing experience.

Musselburgh, Scotland –

I didn’t realise how close Musselburgh racecourse was to the coast but you can probably hear the sound of crashing waves. Just seven miles from the beautiful city of Edinburgh, East Lothian. Opened in 1816 this national hunt and flat racecourse holds 29 meetings annually. Tickets range from £16 – £21 with children 17 and under going free (concessions are available for many). Musselburgh is a one course I really would enjoy a day’s racing and a tourist hotspot with Edinburgh just down the road.

Warwick, England –

It makes me sad to think I will never be able to visit Warwick racecourse. I know what you are saying: ‘Well, it’s easy you only need to visit and enjoy a day’s racing.’ Sadly, I wish I could go and watch a Flat racing meeting. However, all horse racing fans know that will never happen again as the course ceased with Flat racing in 2014 after a horse was fatally injured. I loved the old dogleg bend, especially with the two-year-old horse racing. There was often a difference of opinion which part of the course was running fastest so horses would often spread across the course to the extreme rails. Not being a fan of the national hunt those exciting days of juvenile racing will be no more.

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