Welcome to our official guide to Curragh Racecourse.
We explore this great Irish flat racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview of The Curragh Racecourse
- 2 Curragh Racecourse History
- 3 The Main Races and Events at The Course
- 4 Curragh Racecourse Map
- 5 Curragh Racecourse Address
- 6 How To Get To Curragh Racecourse
- 7 Hotels Near Curragh Racecourse
- 8 Best Curragh Betting Sites
- 9 Betting Shops Local to Curragh Racecourse
- 10 Curragh Racecourse Fixtures
- 11 Curragh Racecourse Weather
- 12 Other Events Held at Curragh
- 13 Summary of Curragh Races
- 14 Ireland Racecourses Alphabetical
Overview of The Curragh Racecourse
The word ‘Curragh’ literally translates as ‘place of the running horse’ from the Irish Gaelic word ‘cuirreach’, so it’s no coincidence that Curragh Racecourse (often just called ‘The Curragh’ by those in the know) is considered the home of flat horseracing in Ireland.
The Curragh is situated just off the main road between Dublin and Cork, so is easily accessible by the masses – undoubtedly part of what formed this course’s popularity.
Curragh is a right-handed horse-shoe shaped track, galloping in nature and with a difficult uphill finish. It measures two miles, with a one-mile chute. All five Irish flat classic races happen at the Curragh, so its popularity is no surprise. The shape and condition of the course mean that no one type of runner is favoured over any other, so it’s thought of in the industry as very ‘fair’.
The world’s best thoroughbred horses aren’t just raced at Curragh Racecourse: they’re trained here, too. Over 1,500 acres of land on the racecourse are dedicated to the Curragh Training Grounds, so there’s plenty of learning facilities and practising space!
12 miles of peat gallops, 70 miles of turf gallops and 8 all-weather tracks are available for trainers to use.
Often referred to as one of the best training grounds in the world, the variety and quality of gallops on offer simply can’t be matched elsewhere, even by considerably newer training facilities.
The Curragh’s main grandstand cuts an unusual figure across the skyline of the course, almost floating with its horizontal roof cutting in three directions outward. The grandstand’s architecture was influenced by the landscape around it, and the materials used to construct it are all influenced by local flora, fauna and history. Plaques and posters inside the grandstand detail the art and cultural links between the building and the Curragh grasslands that surround it.
Curragh Racecourse History
The first record of a horse race on the Curragh plains is dated in 1727, with the first notable derby in 1866.
It wasn’t until some two years later, in 1868, that the Curragh was designated an official horseracing venue, and construction and specialist facilities could begin to be developed. This covered a vast 4870 acres of land across Curragh!
With such a large geographic area being allocated to the equine sport, it was only natural that the Curragh would develop training grounds. Indeed horses trained at the Curragh have gone on to become some of the finest racers in the world. Horses trained here, particularly by trainer Dermot Weld, have won races in the USA, England, Australia, France, Germany and Hong Kong.
As one of the most well-attended venues in Ireland, it’s no surprise that the owners and operation managers of the course need to continually refurbish and modernise the course. Now owned by an independent body, Curragh Racecourse Ltd, its regeneration began in 2017 and saw the construction of the new architecturally-unique grandstand, three new restaurants and vast new enclosures including a new parade ring, new weighing room and a Museum of Irish Racing. The Curragh training grounds are also due to enjoy investment and development, but plans have been delayed somewhat by the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions around business.
The Main Races and Events at The Course
Whilst the Curragh can boast all five of Ireland’s top flat races – and is the home of the “Irish Classics” including the Irish 1000 and 2000 Guineas, Irish Oaks and Irish St Leger – the jewel in the crown of its schedule is really the group 1 Irish Derby Festival. It is currently named the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival after its current sponsor. The Irish Derby is a three-day race meet with prize money on offer totalling a huge €2.25m. Races are held daily alongside music performances, fashion shows and competitions for attendees, and runs over one mile and four furlongs. It is truly ‘the’ race in Ireland, with only the most skilled of jockeys and fastest of horses ever making the final cut. Some 18 horses have, to date, won both the Irish Derby and Epsom Derby!
Curragh Racecourse Map
The course is described as horseshoe shaped and is right handed with sweeping bends. The final two furlongs are on a climb so stamina at any trip is always needed. There are starts at 5 furlongs, 6 furlongs, 7 furlongs and a mile on the straight course. There is also a mile start with a sweeping bend. Races over longer trips – up to 1m6f are run on the longer horseshoe course (this also forms the Derby track). There is no massive draw basis with runners opting to go far side, centre or stands side depending on ground conditions.
Curragh Racecourse Address
The Curragh Racecourse
How To Get To Curragh Racecourse
- By road – The Curragh is, however, easily accessible by road, as it’s just off the main M7 road. Parking is free, but can be upgraded for a fee. Buses are available to the course from Dublin Airport every raceday.
- By train – some resources online will tell you that the Curragh is easily accessible by nearby train stations; but unfortunately that is no longer the case, as the two nearest stations have closed. However, Kildare Town station does offer free shuttle buses on racedays as a result, and is less than 15 mins away.
- By air – Those looking to travel by air to the Curragh Racecourse can do so directly with the helipad available to book every raceday.
Hotels Near Curragh Racecourse
If you’re planning to stay close to the Curragh, you’ll need to book your hotel well in advance as there aren’t a great deal of accommodation options nearby. B&Bs can be found in nearby towns Athgarvan, Kildare and Ballysax, and hotels and guesthouses can be found in Kildare town centre. For the best availability and rates we often recommend booking through Booking.com as below:
Best Curragh Betting Sites
At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get the best odds, great offers when signing up and you can place bets quickly and safely without having to queue.
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals for new customers:
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Betting Shops Local to Curragh Racecourse
As you’d expect in a racecourse of this size, all standard betting options are available. A branch of Paddy Power can be found in the Champion’s Hall, as well as Tote facilities. Wi-Fi is free, should you wish to bet online (don’t rely on your mobile phone signal, get online!).
Branches of Paddy Power and BoyleSports Betting can be found in Kildare town.
Curragh Racecourse Fixtures
The current Curragh race meetings for 2021 are:
- Sun, 12th September 2021
- Sat, 25th September 2021
- Sun, 26th September 2021
- Sun, 10th October 2021
- Thu, 14th October 2021
- Tue, 26th October 2021
Curragh Racecourse Weather
Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for The Curragh:
CURRAGH CAMP WEATHER
Other Events Held at Curragh
Don’t fret if you’re unable to book up Irish Derby tickets before they sell out – there’s plenty of other races on too. The season starts with the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival (originally known as the Ballymoss Stakes) and runs over a weekend, and ends with day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend. That said, racing events take place throughout May – October, and the racecourse’s restaurants are often open aside from racedays for themed evenings and parties.
Summary of Curragh Races
The Curragh is the home of Irish flat racing and has a rich long history of racing on its turf and is a training centre of excellence. It is the home of the nations Classics – including the Irish Oaks, Derby and Irish St Leger. The racing is always highly competitive and top quality – only the best horses win here. It has both a straight course and sweeping right handed track. Recent renovations and a new stadium have been added, and although not without teething problems (and a whistling roof!) the world-class course is now firmly back on track. It’s a national treasure and enjoys visitors from Ireland, the UK and Rest of The World. The Curragh has to be a top pick of any racing fan from anywhere in the World. A “must visit” racecourse and should be on any bucket list!
Ireland Racecourses Alphabetical
Here is a full alphabetical list of Irish racecourses, as you can see there are lots of options and racecourses spread across the entire country:
- Ballinrobe Racecourse
- Bellewstown Racecourse
- Clonmel Racecourse
- Cork Racecourse
- Curragh Racecourse
- Down Royal Racecourse
- Downpatrick Racecourse
- Dundalk Stadium
- Fairyhouse Racecourse
- Galway Racecourse
- Gowran Park Racecourse
- Kilbeggan Racecourse
- Killarney Racecourse
- Laytown Racecourse
- Leopardstown Racecourse
- Limerick Racecourse
- Naas Racecourse
- Navan Racecourse
- Punchestown Racecourse
- Roscommon Racecourse
- Sligo Racecourse
- Thurles Racecourse
- Tipperary Racecourse
- Tramore Racecourse
- Wexford Racecourse