Did you know over 1 million people visit Irish racecourses every year. It is part of Irish culture and society. A ''horse nation''. Domestically, it is the most popular spectator sport. 

The Punchestown's Festival, in April, has an attendance which exceeds 100,000. In July, Galway is similar very popular for locals and tourists alike. 

The majority of the racing is on the turf with Dundalk the only racecourse on an artificial surface. It is floodlit so evening fixture can take place throughout the year. 

Type of Racing in Ireland

Flat racing

Flat racing starts in mid March and ends in mid November. Races are contested over distances from 5 - 20 furlongs. The majority of Flat Irish racecourses are dual purpose - both Flat and National Hunt fixtures - with just three courses used for Flat racing. 

National Hunt racing

National Hunt racing is also known as jump racing: hurdles or fences. Horses have to jump a number of obstacles. Jump racing is held all year round but predominantly from November - March, when the going is less firm. The minimum distance is two miles. 

There three types of National Hunt racing:
  1. Steeplechase   - jumping fences 
  2. Hurdles - hurdles measure 3' 1'' in height
  3. Point-to-point - where horses run over farmland rather than a racecourse. There are over 100 point-to-point meetings each year. Did you know that a number of Gold Cup winners started their careers over point-to-points. 
There are 26 racecourses in Ireland. That equates to a higher number per head of population than any other country in the world. More than 350 race meetings and over 2000 races per annum. 

Q) How many people visit Irish racecourses each year?

A) 1.3 Million +

Q) Which meeting exceed 100,000 attendance?

A) The Punchestown Festival (April) & Galway (July)

Q) Which racecourse is most unusual? 

A) Laytown is distinct from any other racecourse because it is run on the beach. It is the only beach racecourse which adheres to the Turf Club rules. They have one meeting annually in September.   

Racecourses by location: Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connacht

Racing at Tralee stopped in 2008 when the racecourse was sold for redevelopment.