A Guide To Laytown Racecourse

Laytown Racecourse is a unique venue located in County Meath, Ireland. It is the only racecourse in the world that offers horseracing along the beach. The course has been in existence for over 140 years and has gained worldwide recognition for its unusual setting and thrilling races.

The Laytown Races are a one-day event that attracts thousands of spectators from all over the world. The races are run under the official Rules of Racing and offer a completely unique racing experience. The course is laid out on the beach at Laytown and is only open when fixtures are scheduled.

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History of Laytown Racecourse

Laytown Racecourse is a unique horse racing venue located on the beach at Laytown, County Meath, Ireland. This one-of-a-kind racecourse is the only race event run on a beach under the Rules of Racing. The first recorded race meeting in Laytown was in 1868 and the races take place on the strand for one day every September.

The Laytown Races first began in 1868 when races were run on the beach in conjunction with the Boyne Regatta. A rowing competition took place on the high tide, and the horse racing began when the tide receded. The races have continued to be run annually since then, with the exception of a few years during the two World Wars.

The racecourse has a rich history and has been the site of many memorable moments in Irish racing. In 1901, the legendary jockey Steve Donoghue rode his first winner at Laytown. And in 1922, the famous mare Pretty Polly won the Laytown Cup, which was then known as the Drogheda Plate.

Today, Laytown Racecourse is a popular destination for horse racing enthusiasts from around the world. The racecourse has a unique atmosphere, with the sound of the waves crashing on the shore providing a backdrop to the excitement of the races.

Getting to Laytown Racecourse

By Car

Laytown Racecourse is located in a small seaside resort on the east coast of Ireland, approximately 29 miles north of Dublin. Visitors coming from Dublin can take the M1 motorway and exit at Julianstown. From there, the racecourse is just a short drive away. On race day, there are three to four free car parks available for racegoers in the town of Laytown. It’s important to note that there are no set car parks for the venue, as it is not a permanent racecourse.

Visitors should be aware that traffic can be heavy on race day, so it’s recommended to arrive early to avoid any delays.

By Train

Regular train services run from both Drogheda and Dublin (Connolly Station) to Laytown Station. On race day, shuttle buses are available from Laytown Station to the racecourse. Alternatively, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the station to the races.

For those coming from Dublin, Matthews Coaches depart from Parnell Street at 1:00 pm and return from Laytown at 5:40 pm.

It’s important to note that Laytown Races is a unique event, as it’s the only race meeting in Europe to take place on a beach. As a result, visitors should be aware that the racecourse is not a permanent venue and is only available for racing a few times a year.

The Races

Types of Races

Laytown Racecourse is known for its unique position in the Irish racing calendar as the only venue that hosts races on a beach under rules. The races are held annually in September, and the course is a straight line of around 7 furlongs. The races are flat races, and there are no jumps or obstacles on the course. The Laytown Races consist of six races, with each race having a different distance and prize money. The first race is usually a maiden race, which is open to horses that have never won a race before. The other races are handicaps, which means the horses carry different weights depending on their ability.

Horses and Jockeys

Laytown Races attract a variety of horses from all over the world, with some of the best horses and jockeys taking part in the races. The races are an excellent opportunity for young horses to gain experience and for jockeys to showcase their skills. The races also attract some of the top trainers in the country, such as Dermot Weld, Kevin Prendergast, and Tommy Stack. These trainers have a reputation for producing some of the best horses in the country, and their presence at the Laytown Races adds to the excitement of the event.

Betting and Odds

Betting is an essential part of the Laytown Races, and many people attend the event to place their bets. The bookmakers offer odds on each horse in the race, and the odds change depending on the amount of money that is placed on each horse.

The Laytown Races are known for offering some of the best odds in the country, and many people attend the event to take advantage of this. The bookmakers also offer a variety of bets, such as win, place, and each-way bets, which gives the bettors a chance to win even if their horse does not come first.

In conclusion, the Laytown Races are a unique and exciting event that attracts people from all over the world. The races offer a variety of races, top horses and jockeys, and excellent betting opportunities.

Facilities at Laytown Racecourse

Food and Drink

Laytown Racecourse offers a variety of food and drink options for visitors. There are several food stalls and bars located around the course, serving a range of hot and cold food and beverages. Visitors can enjoy a pint of beer or a glass of wine while watching the races, or grab a quick snack during a break in the action.

For those looking for a more formal dining experience, the racecourse also offers a restaurant with panoramic views of the course. The restaurant serves a set menu of high-quality dishes, and reservations are recommended.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities

The racecourse has several toilet blocks located around the course, with both male and female facilities. There are also baby-changing facilities available for families with young children.

All toilets are regularly cleaned and well-maintained, ensuring a comfortable and hygienic experience for visitors.

Disabled Access

Laytown Racecourse is committed to ensuring that all visitors can enjoy the races, regardless of their physical abilities. The course offers a range of facilities to make the experience as accessible as possible.

There are disabled parking spaces available near the entrance to the course, and the racecourse is wheelchair accessible. There are also disabled toilets located around the course, and staff are on hand to assist visitors with any additional needs they may have.

Overall, Laytown Racecourse offers a range of facilities to ensure that visitors have a comfortable and enjoyable experience at the races.

Tips for Attending Laytown Races

What to Wear

Attending Laytown Races is a unique experience, and dressing appropriately is essential. It is recommended that attendees dress smartly and comfortably, while also taking into account the unpredictable Irish weather. Layers are a great option, as the temperature can vary throughout the day. Ladies may choose to wear a stylish hat or fascinator, but it is not compulsory.

What to Bring

As Laytown Races takes place on the beach, attendees should come prepared with appropriate footwear, such as comfortable sandals or trainers. It is also recommended to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect against the sun. As facilities are limited, it is advisable to bring cash, as some vendors may not accept card payments. It is also important to bring a form of identification, as alcohol is served on the premises.


While attending Laytown Races, it is important to adhere to certain etiquette. Respect for fellow attendees, the horses, and the venue is essential. Attendees should refrain from shouting or making excessive noise during races, as this can distract the horses and jockeys. It is also important to dispose of litter appropriately, to help maintain the beach’s natural beauty. Finally, attendees should enjoy the unique atmosphere and have fun, while also being mindful of others.


Laytown Racecourse is a unique and fascinating venue that offers a truly unforgettable racing experience. It is the only race event run on a beach under the Rules of Racing, making it a one-of-a-kind destination for horse racing enthusiasts.

The races take place on the strand for one day every September, and the course is quickly set up as the tide recedes in the morning of race day. The meeting has been in existence for around 140 years, and many leading trainers support Laytown, such as Dermot Weld, Kevin Prendergast and Tommy Stack.

Visitors to Laytown can enjoy not only the thrill of the races, but also the stunning scenery of the beach and the nearby town of Laytown itself. With excellent facilities, great food and drink options, and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, Laytown Racecourse is the perfect destination for a day out with family and friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the distance of the Laytown races today?

The distance of the Laytown races varies depending on the tides and beach conditions on the day of the event. However, typically the races are run over a distance of around 6 furlongs (1,207 metres) on the flat beach at Laytown Strand.

When does Laytown racing take place?

Laytown racing is an annual event that takes place on the beach at Laytown Strand in County Meath, Ireland. The unique race meeting is typically held in early September, timed to coincide with low tides that make the beach suitable for racing.

How long has Laytown racing been running?

The tradition of Laytown racing dates back to the 17th century, making it one of the oldest established race meetings in Ireland. The first officially recorded Laytown Races took place in 1868, though informal beach races occurred in the area long before then.

What makes Laytown racing unique?

Laytown Racecourse is the only venue in Ireland and Britain where horse races are run on a beach. The Laytown Races offer a completely unique experience, with the races staged right on the sandy shores when the tide is out, creating a truly magical atmosphere.

Are there any special requirements for Laytown racing?

Yes, due to the unconventional beach setting, there are some special considerations. The races can only go ahead during low tides, and the course layout has to be re-mapped for each meeting based on the tidal conditions. Horses also require special shoeing to grip the sand better.

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