With Ireland’s great breeding tradition it is no surprise that Ireland also boasts a thriving racing industry and a visit to the country is not complete without a trip to one of the 26 unique racecourses.
Ireland has one all-weather track at the recently refurbished Dundalk Racecourse. A days racing at the nearby venue of Laytown provides visitors with the unforgettable spectacle of a race meeting run entirely on the beach. The remainder of the tracks in Ireland race on turf and each has its own unique atmosphere and charm.
The flat season runs from March until November with National Hunt (Jump) races taking place throughout the year.
Flat racing is run over distances ranging from five furlongs (1000m) to eighteen furlongs (3600m). The minimum National Hunt trip is two miles (3200m) with races being run to over 4 miles (6600m).
Ireland is famous for its racing festivals, such as the seven days at Galway, a meeting that can test the stamina of racegoers as well as horses! Ireland is one of the few countries to have independent bookmakers both on and off-course as well as Tote Betting.
Prize money in Ireland has rocketed in recent years from €17.78 million in 1996 to just over €60 million in 2008.