Horse racing is a popular and iconic pastime in Ireland, where jockeys have been racing to the finish line for centuries. Ireland is one of the world’s leading authorities on the sport, and has produced some of the finest horses and most talented jockeys of all time too.
It should come as no surprise that there are dozens of fantastic racing events on the nation’s annual calendar! Tourists pour in from every corner of the globe to see the best Irish runners in action and you can too.
If you love following top horse racing events, these races will definitely keep you coming back for more…
#1: Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival
The Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival is Ireland’s answer to Cheltenham in England. The festival takes place annually following its English counterpart, and follows a similar general structure as well.
The action kicks off on a Tuesday and runs until the next Saturday. Races that take place during the Punchestown Festival include the iconic Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle and the Punchestown Gold Cup. This festival is not to be missed!
#2: The Curragh Irish Derby Festival
Curragh is easily the most prestigious and exclusive horse racing event on Ireland’s calendar. The 3-day fest sees the Irish Derby taking place, offering the biggest cash prize in the country’s racing industry. In fact, the prizes up for grabs rival those you’ll find when you play the top Australian pokies.
It also attracts all of Ireland’s rich and famous to dress up and enjoy the exciting summer event. Alongside some awesome racing action, you will also find live music, entertainment and fashion shows on offer here.
#3: Galway Summer Festival
This is another popular summer event, not to mention one of Ireland’s most well-known races. It kicks off on the last Monday of July each year, running for 7 days and combining fantastic racing action with a unique and memorable vibe.
Some of the Galway Summer Festival’s most iconic races include the Galway Plate Chase Handicap and the Galway Hurdle Handicap. There is also entertainment, fashion and hospitality on show at The Galway Races, which attract more than 100,000 guests each year.
#4: The Listowel Harvest Festival
This festival takes place each year at Listowel. It is a 7-day racing spectacle that includes both flat and National Hunts. The highlight of the week-long festival is its Kerry National Chase handicap, which draws a massive amount of interest from fans and bettors alike. Plenty of great entertainment is also offered at this family friendly event.
#5: Fairyhouse Easter Festival
The magical Fairyhouse Easter Festival is a 3-day Irish Grant National component that always lifts fans’ spirits. The festival is one of the most important dates on the annual calendar, and is also one of the most popular.
The Irish Grand National has produced many of the most legendary moments in horse racing history, and will continue to do so in years to come. Its atmosphere is always amazing, and the action doesn’t stop for a second!