Top 5 best racecourses to visit in Ireland

Whether you’re looking for a day out at the races to try your luck with a bet, there are plenty of great racecourses in Ireland to visit.

When you think of sport in Ireland, horse racing is probably at the forefront of your mind. The nation has produced some of the world’s most talented racehorses, along with jockeys and trainers, to grace the sport.

The atmosphere at Ireland’s best racecourses matches the leading venues in the world. Plus, you are sure to see a high standard of competition given the talent that floods out of yards across the country.

A top horse race is an event that you consider when you’re visiting Ireland, not only for the entertainment but also to take in part of Ireland’s heritage.

You don’t have to know a great deal about horse racing or betting to make the journey to the venues. There are free horse racing tips that use advanced AI to predict racing outcomes to take advantage of for betting novices, allowing visitors to sit back and enjoy the festivities.

With that in mind, here are the five best racecourses to visit in Ireland.

5. Curragh Racecourse – one of the most prestigious venues in the world

Curragh Racecourse is one of the best racecourses to visit in Ireland.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool

Situated in Newbridge in County Kildare, Curragh is one of the most prestigious venues worldwide to watch flat racing.

It is the playground of one of the best trainers in the world, Aidan O’Brien. No trainer has been more successful at the venue than O’Brien, winning over 600 races at the track.

Major events take place at Curragh on an annual basis, including the Irish 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the Irish Derby, the Irish Oaks, and the Irish St Leger.

Swiney saw off the challenge of stablemate Poetic Flare to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas at The Curragh.

There have been truly great horses that have competed in these events throughout history. Some of the most recent stars have included Camelot, Enable, and Rock of Gibraltar.

Tickets for the major races will be snapped up quickly; therefore, to see the cream of the flat racing crop from Ireland compete, you will need to act decisively to secure your seat or spot in the standing area.

4. Punchestown Racecourse – home to Ireland’s answer to Cheltenham Festival

Punchestown Racecourse is the home of Punchestown Festival.
Credit: Instagram / @punchestownraces

This racecourse is also based in County Kildare. However, instead of offering flat racing, this venue is the premiere spot for jumps racing. Thus, making it one of the best racecourses to visit in Ireland.

It offers high-quality competition for the majority of the year, only halting briefly for the summer months when the flat season is at its peak.

Punchestown provides Ireland’s equivalent of the Cheltenham Festival. Whereas Cheltenham is held in March, the Punchestown Festival is held in April.

All of the leading runners and riders are out to compete in the races, including the Irish Champion Hurdle, the Irish Stayers’ Hurdle, and the Punchestown Gold Cup.

There is no shortage of quality as legendary trainer Willie Mullins, among others, puts his best and brightest out on the course.

A win at Punchestown means just as much to those involved as it does at Cheltenham. The atmosphere is electric, and it’s certainly not one to be missed.

3. Leopardstown Racecourse – home of the Dublin Racing Festival

Leopardstown Racecourse is one of the best racecourses to visit in Ireland.
Credit: Dublin Regional Tourism Authority

Leopardstown is another top venue for elite horse racing, located on the outskirts of Dublin. This racecourse offers outstanding coverage of racing throughout the year.

It caters for both flat and jumps disciplines, which allows the venue to remain open and active all year round. Legendary horses such as Arkle and Nijinsky thrived on the turf during the peaks of their respective racing careers.

Leopardstown hosts the Dublin Racing Festival every year, which occurs during February. The Irish Gold Cup is the signature event and is a sought-after prize. Mullins has dominated the Gold Cup in Dublin, winning the race ten times over the course of his career.

The Festival is a good barometer for owners and trainers to test their mettle ahead of Cheltenham Festival along with seeking the prizes on offer.

Leopardstown also provides the same setting for flat owners and trainers before hosting major events such as the Irish Champions Stakes in September. For racing enthusiasts, it’s a must-visit.

2. Naas Racecourse – a pleasant setting throughout the year

Naas Racecourse is a pleasant setting throughout the year.
Credit: Facebook / @naasrace

Naas provides a pleasant setting for racing throughout the calendar year. It caters for both the National Hunt and flat racing, making it one of the best racecourses to visit in Ireland.

On this occasion, you will have to pick your moments when to see the leading horses enter the field. However, owners and trainers will put their horses on the rise through their paces at the races throughout the season.

The Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle has seen future Grand National champion Rule the World triumph. Plus, future superstars Envoi Allen and Bobolinger have also graced the winners’ circle.

In the flat discipline, the Fillies’ Sprint Stakes is the race to keep your eye out for during the summer. O’Brien always has a host of talent at his disposal. So, you might see another horse of the ability of past winner Mother Earth if you pick the right day.

1. Down Royal Racecourse – a must-visit in Northern Ireland

Down Royal Racecourse tops our list of the best racecourses to visit in Ireland.
Credit: Facebook / @downroyalracing

If you take a trip to Northern Ireland, Down Royal Racecourse is the place to visit for elite races from the National Hunt and flat racing.

Located near Lisburn, the track falls under the jurisdiction of Irish racing rather than the United Kingdom. The best times to visit Down Royal come in June when it hosts the Ulster Derby – the best flat race in Northern Ireland.

It boasts a lucrative pot and attracts the big hitters in the sport, notably Jim Bolger, who has an imperious record in the event.

For jumps racing fans, the Ladbrokes Champions Chase is the signature event of the season. Past stars such as Kauto Star have competed in the race on their way to future glory. It’s certainly an event that should not be missed.

A trip to Ireland will be unforgettable and one of the key cultural elements is a visit to the races. If you’re looking for a truly Irish experience, you will undoubtedly find it at these best racecourses to visit in Ireland.

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