Racecourses in Ireland

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Horse racing is one of the most popular spectator sports in Ireland. Because of this popularity, many of the horses bred and trained by some of the sport's most iconic trainers go on to win some of the world's biggest and most prestigious races.

However, the sport wouldn’t be half as big without the places to view each race live, and that’s where the top-class racecourses in Ireland come into play. Welcoming punters all year round, whether it’s rain, hail, snow or shine, these venues offer bettors the chance to see the action up close and personal. The courses also feature various types of racing, so whether you prefer flat racing or national hunt racing, there will be a venue to suit everyone.

So, if you’re new to the sport and you’re looking for the best Irish racecourses, why not take a look at some we’ve included in this list below.

List of Irish Racecourses

If you're looking for the top Irish racecourses in a particular province of Ireland, we’ve listed them here, so you can make your selection whether you’re heading to Munster, Leinster or Connacht:

  • Kilbeggan
  • The Curragh
  • Leopardstown
  • Punchestown
  • Ballybrit
  • Cork
  • Thurles
  • Tramore
  • Dundalk
  • Fairyhouse

Best Irish racecourses map


Kilbeggan racecourse Ireland

Playing host to races since 1800, Kilbeggan racecourse is different from some of the normal Irish racecourses punters will find. Hosting national hunt racing through the summer and winter months, this course has tight turns to coordinate, then testing uphill finish, which can cause issues for horses.

Racing Facts

  • Race Type: National Hunt
  • Course Direction: Right Handed
  • Feature Race: Midlands National

The Curragh racecourse Ireland

One of the most important racecourses in the horse racing Ireland circuit is The Curragh. The premier flat racing course in Ireland, its name comes from the Gaelic word meaning place of the running horse. Many of the most well-known Irish flat horses make their debut here before moving to the world's racing stage and taking on the bigger competition. This course has a rich history with winners such as Dylan Thomas, Hurricane Run and Winter.

The flat track features three different courses used for specific major meetings. However, the main form is that of a horseshoe circuit and plays host to some of Ireland's biggest races.

Racing Facts

  • Race Type: Flat
  • Course Direction: Right Handed
  • Feature Race: Irish 2,000 Guineas, Irish 1,000 Guineas, Irish Derby, Irish Oaks, Irish St.Leger

Leopardstown racecourse Ireland

When it comes to the racing in Ireland, we'd be hard-pressed, not to mention Leopardstown. Most well-known as a dual-purpose racecourse, Leopardstown hosts race meetings all year round as it has a jumps racing and flat racing course. One of the best racecourses in Ireland, it's the venue for the big Christmas meeting and is the only Irish racecourse in the county of Dublin.

Racing Facts

  • Race Type: Flat and Jumps
  • Course Direction: Left Handed
  • Feature Race: Irish Champion Hurdle, Irish Gold Cup, Christmas Hurdle, Irish Champion Stakes.

Galway racecourse Ireland

Also known as the Ballybrit racecourse, Galway racecourse plays host to one of the most anticipated festivals to take place in the Irish horse racing calendar. The week-long Galway Races Festival. Held annually in August, the races are contested on the jumps course and conclude with a steep uphill test for horses to tackle.

However, if flat racing is your preference, Galways also features a sharp track with a short run-in after the final bend, which makes it a popular track for prominent runners.

Racing Facts

  • Race Type: Flat and Jumps
  • Course Direction: Right Handed
  • Feature Race: Galway Plate, Galway Hurdle

Fairyhouse racecourse Ireland

If you're looking for an Irish racecourse which is known for its calibre of races, then it's hard to ignore Fairyhouse. Providing runners with a huge two-mile circuit to gallop around, it's a right-handed level track, and it favours all types of horses. Home to two of the biggest contests in Irish racing, the County Meath track has hosted racing since 1848. The most famous race here is the Irish Grand National which is normally contested on Easter Monday.

Racing Facts

  • Race Type: Flat and Jumps
  • Course Direction: Right Handed
  • Feature Race: Irish Grand National, Irish Gold Cup

Punchestown racecourse Ireland

Often called the home of Irish jumps racing, Punchestown plays host to the major jump racing festival in Ireland, where some of the biggest prize money within national hunt races can be won within the Irish horse racing industry.

Unlike most racecourses, Punchestown is one of only four courses to race solely under national hunt rules. Which means races run prominently in the winter months.

A right-handed track that hosts many group races can be a testing circuit for runners. It also is one of only galloping tracks to feature an extra course alongside the main course, as it features Ireland's only cross-country racing circuit.

Racing Facts

  • Race Type: Jumps
  • Course Direction: Right Handed
  • Feature Race: Punchestown Champion Chase, Punchestown Gold Cup, Punchestown Champion Hurdle, Morgiana Hurdle

Ballinrobe racecourse Ireland

The only Irish racecourse in County Mayo, Ballinrobe plays host to both flat and national hunt racing. Hosting racing since 1920, the course features two individual tracks, the flat course on the inner loop and the jumps course on the outside. Of the two, the outer national hunt track features betting undulations to test a horse's stamina and a short finishing straight.

Racing Facts

  • Race Type: Flat and Jumps Racing
  • Course Direction: Right Handed
  • Feature Race: Treacy’s Pharmacy Chase

Northern Ireland racecourses

Horse Racing Ireland features tracks from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland within its turf club, and the two which are located in the county of Ulster are Downpatrick and Down Royal.

Downpatrick is one of only three Irish racecourses to stage only national hunt contests. However, it operates outside the normal rules of jump racing, as punters are welcomed to the course between March and October.

However, Down Royal is a dual-purpose racecourse and hosts racing in Northern Ireland all year round. Located just outside Belfast, the course hosts many premier meetings, including the Ulster Derby meeting.

All weather racecourses Ireland

Horse racing is a sport that runs all year round, and even though Irish racing follows that trend, the country only boasts one all-weather track where meetings are regularly held.

Located in Couty Louth, Dundalk Stadium is the only Irish racecourse that is not only partnered with a greyhound race track, but that also utilises a Polytrack course. Operating as just a flat track, this ultimately means that flat racing can occur all year round on the oval-shaped course.

If you’re just starting out in this sports betting niche, check out our How to bet on horse racing guide.



What is special about Laytown Racecourse? Laytown differs from any other Irish racecourse because it plays host to only one meeting per year on Laytown Beach near the Irish Sea. A fast sand surface, the day of racing helps horses prepare for Galway festival, and the main Grandstand is elevated and away from the coastline allowing punters to see all of the action

Which is the oldest racecourse in Ireland?

The oldest racecourse in Ireland is located in Northern Ireland and is Downpatrick Racecourse. First hosting horse racing in 1685, it now plays host to ten meetings a year. However, Southern Ireland's oldest racecourse is The Curragh, with the first recorded race in 1727.

How many racecourses are there in Ireland?

There are 26 racecourses located in Ireland, 23 of those are in Southern Ireland, and 3 of those are located in Northern Ireland.

Why is horse racing so popular in Ireland?

Horse racing is a cultural staple in Ireland and long before the meetings which are popular today took place, racing in Ireland at The Curragh was mentioned in historical texts. Because of this affiliation, people like to watch the sport and enjoy placing a bet.

When was racing in Ireland established?

Racing in Ireland became competitive and established under the rule of King Charles II and the King's Plate Races. These courses are some of the first recorded Irish racecourses, which played host to flat racing meetings and were also used as breeding events.

What is the biggest racecourse in Ireland?

The biggest racecourse in Ireland is Leopardstown. Located just outside of Dublin, the course hosts some of the biggest race meetings in Ireland and can hold up to 175,000 spectators.

What are the most famous racecourses in Ireland?

Although many Irish racecourses are famous, the most recognisable is The Curragh, the most prestigious flat race course in Ireland. However, Fairyhouse, Punchestown and Galway are also well-known.

What do you wear to the races in Ireland?

When it comes to horse racing meetings, many courses have their own dress code. However, many recommend that punters dress smartly to suit the weather conditions, as meetings during national hunt season and the first week of January/February can be chilly.

Who is the governing body of Irish racing?

The regulatory body of horse racing and Irish racecourses is the IHRB. Taking over from the Turf Club, they are in charge of the overall development of the sport, its promotion in the Irish economy and the prize money on offer in big races.

Which Irish Racecourse hosts major meetings?

Many Irish racecourses host both flat racing and jumps racing in the form of racing festivals. These are highlights of the racing calendar for many punters and occur regularly throughout the year.



Established in the late 19th century, this racecourse has witnessed numerous historic moments, evolving through the decades while retaining its essential charm as a venue where racing fans flock to in search of a great night out, and the hope of taking home some winnings.

Down Royal

The first recorded race at this storied track took place in 1685, with the support of King James II, who bestowed a Royal Charter hence giving the course its regal title. The Down Royal Corporation of Horsebreeders was established in 1684 to oversee the racing at the site, a testament to the sport's longstanding significance in the region.

Ballinrobe Racecourse

Ballinrobe hosts both flat and National Hunt races, providing a diverse range of events that cater to various interests in the racing community.

Tramore Racecourse

Tramore Racecourse has been described as “where the turf meets the surf” due to its coastal location in Waterford, Ireland. The course is a Grade Two racecourse and features a right-handed track on a roughly seven-furlong (1400m) circuit, and the times of completion for the circuit can vary massively depending on conditions.

Fairyhouse Racecourse

With a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century, Fairyhouse has firmly established itself as an iconic hub for Irish racing. Like many Irish tracks, it’s used for both national hunt and flat racing at different times of the year.

Thurles Racecourse

Ireland is the home of horse racing; despite its relatively small size, the number of jockeys and legendary stables heralding from the Emerald Isle is simply staggering. Thurles Racecourse is one of many that embodies this nationwide tradition, and it is a real testament to the strength of the sport in Ireland and how it maintains a vital place in its culture and tradition.