Killarney Racecourse, located in County Kerry, Ireland, is a picturesque and popular destination for racing enthusiasts and tourists alike. With a long-established history of racing, Killarney hosts 11 days of racing over three summer festivals held in May, July, and August, featuring both flat and jumps racing.
Whether you’re a seasoned racing fan or a first-time visitor, Killarney Racecourse offers a unique and exciting experience. From the stunning scenery of the Irish countryside to the varied dining and bar options, there’s something for everyone. The Panoramic Restaurant, The Jim Culloty Bar, The Maurice O’Donoghue Stand, and The Jockeys Whip are just a few of the options available to racegoers.
With top-quality racing and leading jockeys and trainers, Killarney Racecourse is a must-visit destination for any racing enthusiast. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan your visit, from the history of the course to tips for making the most of your day at the races.
History of Killarney Racecourse
Killarney Racecourse is a historic venue located in County Kerry, Ireland. It has been home to horse racing since the early 1800s. The first recorded meeting at the venue was in 1822, although the present course was opened in 1932.
Over the years, Killarney Racecourse has hosted both National Hunt and Flat racing. The course is a left-handed oval, one mile and two furlongs in circumference. It is widely considered to be one of the most picturesque racecourses in the world, situated in Killarney, which is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations.
Today, Killarney Racecourse hosts 11 days of racing over three summer festivals held in May, July and August, hosting both Flat and jumps racing. The evening meets are particularly popular, offering visitors the chance to appreciate the sunset across the landscape setting.
Killarney Racecourse is located approximately 96km north-west of Cork and 32km south-east of Tralee. If you are driving, the venue is easily accessible from the N22, which runs from Cork to Killarney. Once you arrive in Killarney, follow the signs for the racecourse. There is ample parking available on-site.
Killarney railway station is regularly served by trains from Heuston Station Dublin. If you are travelling from Dublin, the journey takes approximately 3.5 hours. The station is located in the centre of Killarney, and from there, you can take a taxi or shuttle bus to the racecourse. Contact Irish Rail (Iarnrod Eireann) for timetables of trains to Killarney station.
Bus Eireann operates a number of services to Killarney from locations across Ireland. If you are travelling from Dublin, you can take the X12 express bus, which runs several times a day and takes approximately 4 hours. Once you arrive in Killarney, you can take a taxi or shuttle bus to the racecourse.
Grandstand and Enclosures
Killarney Racecourse has a variety of enclosures and grandstands that offer different views and experiences for racegoers. The Maurice O’Donoghue Stand is the main grandstand, offering excellent views of the track and the surrounding mountains. The Jim Culloty Bar is located in this stand, providing a great spot to enjoy a drink and watch the races. The Panoramic Restaurant is also located in the Maurice O’Donoghue Stand and offers fine dining with stunning views of the course.
The Ross Road Enclosure is a more casual area, with a large lawn and picnic tables for racegoers to enjoy. The Jockeys Whip Bar is located in this enclosure.
Restaurants and Bars
Killarney Racecourse has a variety of dining and bar options for racegoers. The Panoramic Restaurant, located in the Maurice O’Donoghue Stand, offers fine dining with stunning views of the course. The Jim Culloty Bar, also located in the Maurice O’Donoghue Stand, is a popular spot for drinks and socialising. The Jockeys Whip Bar is located in the Ross Road Enclosure and offers a more casual atmosphere.
Killarney Racecourse has a number of betting facilities for racegoers to place their bets. There are several bookmakers located throughout the course, as well as Tote betting facilities. The Tote offers a variety of betting options, including win, place, and each-way bets.
Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities
Killarney Racecourse has a number of toilets located throughout the course, including accessible toilets. Baby changing facilities are also available for families with young children.
Killarney Racecourse hosts several horse racing events throughout the year, including flat and jump racing. Here are some of the upcoming events:
|Date||Type of Racing|
|May 9th||Turf Jump Afternoon|
|May 10th||Turf Jump Evening|
|May 11th||Turf Flat Evening|
|July 12th||Turf Mixed Evening|
|July 13th||Turf Mixed Evening|
|July 14th||Turf Flat Evening|
Aside from horse racing events, Killarney Racecourse also hosts various events throughout the year. Check their website for updates on upcoming events.
It is important to note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some events may be subject to change or cancellation. Visitors are advised to check the racecourse’s website or social media pages for the latest information and guidelines regarding attendance.
Tips for Attending
When attending Killarney Racecourse, it is important to dress appropriately for the occasion. The dress code varies depending on the enclosure you are in. In the Premier Enclosure, smart dress is required, with jackets and ties for men and dresses or suits for women. In the Grandstand Enclosure, the dress code is more relaxed, but still smart casual. Sportswear and ripped jeans are not permitted in either enclosure. It is also recommended to wear comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking involved.
Irish weather can be unpredictable, so it is important to be prepared for all conditions. It is always a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket and umbrella, even if the forecast is for sunshine. Sunscreen and a hat are also recommended for sunny days, as there is limited shade at the racecourse. If it is particularly cold, it is advisable to wear layers and bring a warm coat and gloves.
Parking and Traffic
If you are driving to Killarney Racecourse, there is ample parking available on site. However, it is recommended to arrive early to avoid traffic and ensure a good parking spot. There is also a shuttle bus service available from Killarney town centre, which is a convenient option for those who prefer not to drive. It is important to note that traffic can be heavy on race days, so allow plenty of time for your journey.
Bringing Children or Pets
Children are welcome at Killarney Racecourse, and there is a playground and bouncy castles available to keep them entertained. However, it is important to note that children must be supervised at all times, and may not be allowed in certain areas of the racecourse. Pets are not permitted at the racecourse, with the exception of guide dogs for the visually impaired.