Galway Racecourse

Welcome to our official guide to Galway Racecourse.

We explore this great racecourse in detail, looking at its history, the Galway Festival and its main races including the Galway Plate and Galway Mile, a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather.

Find out more about Galway Racecourse:

Galway Races

Overview of Galway Racecourse

Ballybrit Racecourse, known by locals as ‘The Galway Races’ is a horseracing track in County Galway, Ireland, just a few kilometres north of Galway city.

It hosts both flat and national hunt racing. It’s a superb racecourse and the seven-day festival (its Summer Festival) is known all over the world for high-class racing and an unbelievable atmosphere.

There’s nowhere quite like Galway Races.

It is a place we hold in our hearts at British Racecourses and we have been lucky enough to have winners there – think a mixture of Glorious Goodwood and Royal Ascot but with a greater sense of fun and a huge amount of Irish charm.

Ballybrit Racecourse is a superb and unique right-handed track of approximately one mile and three furlongs around. On the jumps and flat course it has a sharp decline into a dip before the home straight and a steep incline to the finishing line. Its final two fences on the jumps courses are the closest two fences of any course in the world!

At the end of 2019, Ballybrit Racecourse was granted planning permission for large extension and comprehensive refurbishment. This project is expected to commence in 2021 and will include the demolition of several older facilities as well as the construction of a new parade ring, new spectator viewing platforms, a new restaurant and a myriad of new hospitality facilities. We can’t wait to see the results.

Galway Racecourse History

Horse racing is a fiercely protected tradition in Ireland, so it’s no surprise that the courses there are often fairly old and steeped in history.

Ballybrit Racecourse opened in August 1869 and some 40,000 people turned up to watch the racing on the very first day for the very first race!

The course became so popular that Eyre Square, a park across the road, had to be used as a campsite for the crowds arriving in Ballybrit in advance of race days.

This was the start of what today remains their hugely popular Summer Festival which holds both flat and national hunt racing including the world-famous Galway Plate (a hurdle race worth over 200k euros at the prestigious Galway Mile).

To say that horse racing is a key part of Irish culture would be to understate the fact. Ireland has 26 major racecourses – many that we have reviewed: that’s more per head of the population than any other country in the world and Galway is one of their jewels!

Almost 1.5m people visit Irish racecourses every year. Indeed, horseracing in Ireland is key to the country’s economy. 35% of the country’s equine population is thoroughbred, and Irish thoroughbreds are amongst the most successful in the world.

Galway Races continued to enjoy success and in 1929, when races began to be broadcast on radio across Ireland, it was one of the first racecourses featured; as it was again in the 60s when televisions became mainstream.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II visited Galway and gave mass at Galway Racecourse. Being a deeply Catholic country, great crowds were expected to attend – but no one could have predicted the 280,000 worshippers that would descend!

Some five years later another mass was held to celebrate the anniversary and 5,000 people attended that too.

The future for Galway Races looks bright, and the planned refurbishments and extensions should help propel the venue’s success to even further heights.

Main Races and Events at Galway

Ballybrit and Galway Races is home to not just a major summer social event but is considered a key staple of the whole country’s racing calendar.

The Galway Races Summer Festival (or just the Galway Festival for short) is the longest of all race meetings in Ireland and runs for a full seven days!

The Galway Festival starts on the last Monday of July annually and usually runs into August.

The highlights of the week include the Galway Mile on Tuesday, the Galway Plate (sometimes called the Galway Hurdle) raced on Wednesday, Ladies’ Day on Thursday, Friday sees the mad-hatters day and the main race on Sunday is the Ahonoora Handicap.

A whopping 150,000 racegoers attend the festival each year and the city is buzzing for the entire week with restaurants, bars and hotels packed from people from all over Ireland indeed the whole world.

Galway Racecourse Map

Below is a map of both Galway Racecourses – the flat and jumps track.

Galway Flat Track

Below is a map of the Galway Flat course:

Galway Racecourse Map
Courtesy of Racing TV.

The flat course – Galway is an oval right-handed track with a circuit of just over 10 furlongs.

There is a steep incline to the finish starting with a climb on the home bend, however, unless the ground is really testing the track is mainly sharp in nature having tight bends and a short run in.

The home straight is short at just over a furlong so ideally, you need to be within striking distance on the bend as there’s not much time to make up ground.

Galway Jumps Track

Below is a map of the Galway jumps track.

Galway Jumps Track
Courtesy of At The Races

The national hunt course is also right-handed and just over ten furlongs around.

There is the same steep incline to the finish as on the flat course but unless the ground is heavy sharp and those ridden handy do well on this track as well.

The chase course has seven fences around, with the final two fences very close together – indeed they are the closest in the world – this is then followed by a run-in of over two furlongs which is on the long side.

The hurdle course is on the inside of the chase course it is even sharper than the chase course.

Galway Racecourse Address

The Galway Racecourse address is:

Ballybrit Racecourse
Co. Galway
H91 V654

How To Get To Galway Racecourse

The ways to get to Galway Races are:

  • By road – Ballybrit Racecourse is easily accessible from anywhere in Ireland, as it’s situated just off the major M6 motorway.
  • By bus – Shuttle buses run from the nearby Eyre Square on race days.
  • By rail – the nearest rail station is Galway, and the racecourse is about a 15-minute car journey from there.
  • By air – helicopters can land at Ballybrit if booked to do so in advance, but most of those choosing to travel by air to the course do so by public aircraft to Aer Arann Connemara Airport, which is less than an hour away.

Hotels Near Galway Racecourse

The nearest hotels to Ballybrit Racecourse are contrasting in style – some countryside manor-type hotels, and some business park budget options! The closest include the Breanloughan Briar Hill Hotel, Temple Lodge and the Clayton Hotel Galway.

We love The Connacht!

Needless to say, Ballybrit is just a small village, but the city of Galway (about 15-minutes away) is considerably bigger. Here you’ll find plenty of accommodation to stay in, and many are recommended by the racecourse themselves.

More central options include The Stop, The House Hotel, Heron’s Rest, the Imperial Hotel and City Point Holiday Apartments.

For something a little more friendly to the purse strings, there’s also a variety of B&Bs in the city – usually family-run and very welcoming!

For the best current offers check out below:

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Best Galway Races and Galway Festival Betting Sites

We often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get good 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 betting sites we recommend the following great deals for new customers:

  • bet365 Horse Racing

    Bet365 Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £50 IN FREE BETS
    Voted the best horse racing website and app by our followers for the past 2 years.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Horse Racing

    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £60 IN BONUSES
    Great bonuses, odds, deals and customer service make them one of the leading horse betting sites year after year.

    New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 10 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Horse Racing

    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS
    One of the best horse racing bookies in the UK. William Hill are one of our favourites here at British Racecourses.

    18+. Play Safe. From 00:01 on 18.10.2022. £30 bonus. New customers only. Minimum £10 stake on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater on sportsbook (excluding Virtual markets). Further terms apply. #ad


    Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfair Horse Racing

    Betfair Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30
    Betfair Sportsbook are one of the biggest and best-betting companies in the world for placing bets online.

    Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.


    Full T&C's Apply

  • Spreadex Betting App

    Spreadex Horse Racing Logo
    BET 10 GET 30
    The spread-betting side of things is one of the best on the market and Spreadex should definitely be considered for those looking to dabble on horse racing bets.

    New Customer Offer. T&Cs Apply. 18+. Please Gamble Responsibly.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Paddy Power Horse Racing

    Paddy Power Sports Logo
    Paddy Power is one of the best online and high street bookmakers in the UK and Ireland.

    New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
    Full T&C's Apply

  • BoyleSports Horse Racing

    Boyle Sports Horse Racing Logo
    BoyleSports is legitimate market-leading Irish bookmaker with amazing sign up bonuses for new customers.

    New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&C’s Apply **18+. UK/IRE customers only. Max refund £/€20. Win or win part of e/w outright singles only. 5 or more runners. 1st bet on each race. Free bet expires after 7 days. Free/void/antepost bets don’t qualify. Unnamed 2nd Favs don’t qualify.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • BetUK Horse Racing

    BetUK logo
    BET £10 GET £30
    Bet UK is a great sports betting brand with a plethora of online betting markets for hundreds of horse racing events.

    New customers on mobile only. 7 days to claim and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Free, void, cashed out or partially cashed out bets do not qualify. Max 3x £10 free bets credited on bet settlement. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections with selection odds of 1.3 or greater. Free bets are non-withdrawable, and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • 888 Horse Racing

    888 Horse Racing
    Regularly voted one of the UK’s best bookies and betting sites, we love the easy-to-use website, best odds, live streaming and variety of sports offered.

    Min deposit £/€/$10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £/€/$10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets are credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes are not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days, wins are capped at £/€/$500 • To withdraw bonus/related wins, you must wager the bonus amount up to 40 times its value within 14 days • Casino Bonus expires after 60 days • Casino Bonus can be used on selected games in casino only • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods & countries.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Horse Racing

    Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    Ladbrokes is firmly established as one of the best horse racing betting sites. If you are looking for a new betting platform or betting app, they are a great choice.

    18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £/€5 free bets. Free bets available to use on selected sportsbook markets only. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • BetVictor Horse Racing

    Betvictor Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £40
    Punters love the BetVictor betting site rating it one of the top horse racing betting sites for a whole range of reasons, including BOG, live streaming, tips and more.

    18+ New customers only. Opt in and place a £10 qualifying bet on Horse Racing at odds of 2.00+ within 7 days of registering; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Horse Racing Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00+. Plus, a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Horse Racing

    Unibet Horse Racing Logo
    One of the more new horse racing betting sites UK-wide, Unibet is gathering a lot of new punters and fans, who enjoy its easy-to-use website.

    18+ New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first racing bet loses. Wagering: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Sports bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Horse Racing

    Coral Horse Racing
    Coral is one of the most established and oldest of all UK bookmakers. They have stood the test of time and are of the best online bookmakers you can choose from.

    18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 1x £20 free bets. Free bets available to use on selected sportsbook markets only. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions apply. 

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfair Exchange

    Betfair Exchange Logo
    The Betfair Exchange allows customers to bet against each other rather than betting against a traditional bookmaker. The £50 free bet for exchange punters is a great sign up bonus.

    Max £20 refund on first bet. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. Payment restrictions apply for the promotion.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Mr Play Sport

    Mr.Play Sport Logo
    BET £10 GET £15
    Looking for a betting website with a different and modern approach? This leading betting site is gaining fans across the UK, check them out today to find out more.

    18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £15 bonus, valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at a min. odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets no eligible.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Parimatch Horse Racing

    Parimatch Logo
    BET £10 GET £35
    One of the new horse racing betting sites around, Parimatch is also one of the best online bookies in the UK. Increasingly popular for all sports betting.

    18+ New customers only. Opt in and bet £10 on any Horse Racing market at odds 2.00+ in 7 days. No cash out. Get 6x £5 Horse Racing free bets+ £5 slot bonus, 20x wagering to withdraw max £250. Free bets expire in 24h and bonuses in 7 days. Card payments only. | | Please gamble responsibly.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Grosvenor Horse Racing

    Grosvenor Sports Logo
    New in the world of best sporting betting websites, Grosvenor is quickly gaining a good reputation as one of the best online bookies around.

    New Customer Offer. T&Cs Apply. 18+. Please Gamble Responsibly.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Betway Horse Racing

    Betway Sports
    Betway is another one which made the best online bookie list thanks to a range of sports, great odds, customer service and slick betting app interface.

    New customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £10. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card deposits only. Deposit method restrictions apply. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered.18+. Bet The Responsible Way.

    Full T&C's Apply

We have also review specific Irish betting sites and leading bookies such as Paddy Power.

Galway Races Tips

Tipping horses at Galway is difficult with ante-post betting because it is always best to check ground conditions and the draw (which has a huge bias to lower draws).

Here are the best Galway Races 2022 tips:

Galway Festival Betting Tips for 2022

  • Sirjack Thomas
  • Saltonstall
  • Current Option
  • Magnetic North
  • Casanova
  • Politicise

Betting Shops Local to Galway Racecourse

Betting at racecourses in Ireland is essentially the same as doing so in the UK, but of course, in euro (€) rather than pounds (£).

On-site, Ballybrit Races has two branches of Ladbrokes, Tote kiosks in all enclosures (as well as touch-screen self-serve Tote facilities), and two betting rings for independent bookmakers – one in the Mayor’s Garden and one beside the Parade Ring (which is likely to move when the course refurbishment takes place).

In Galway city centre, branches of chain bookies can be found fairly easily, including BoyleSports Bookmakers, Paddy Power and Bar One Racing.

Galway Racecards

The racecards for the Galway races are released the day before the races take place, find out where to view racecards here – tomorrow’s racecards and today’s racecards.

You can also of course purchase a racecard from the track which carries much of the same useful information.

Galway Racecourse Fixtures

The current Galway race meetings for 2022 are:

  • Monday 25th Of July 2022 – The Opening Day
  • Tuesday 26th July 2022 – Throwback Tuesday
  • Wednesday 27th July 2022 – Galway Plate Day
  • Thursday 28th July 2022 – The Guinness Hurdle & Ladies Day
  • Friday 30th July 2022 – Day 5 Of The Galway Races Summer Festival
  • Saturday 30th Of July 2022 – The Weekender
  • Sunday 31st July 2022 – Last Day Of The Galway Races Summer Festival

Galway Races 2023

Here is the horse racing calendar for Galway Races in 2023:

Date Day Track
31/07/2023 Monday Galway
01/08/2023 Tuesday Galway
02/08/2023 Wednesday Galway
03/08/2023 Thursday Galway
04/08/2023 Friday Galway
05/08/2023 Saturday Galway
06/08/2023 Sunday Galway
11/09/2023 Monday Galway
12/09/2023 Tuesday Galway
03/10/2023 Tuesday Galway
28/10/2023 Saturday Galway
29/10/2023 Sunday Galway
30/10/2023 Monday Galway

Check out our guide for the full list of Ireland’s 2022 horse race meetings.

Leading Galway Festival Owners 2021

Dooley Thoroughbreds – co-founders of British Racecourses website – were leading owners at the most recent  Galway Festival with winners including Saltonstall, Sirjack Thomas and Current Option, as well as a second by Politicise.

Galway Races 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 Galway Races:

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Other Events at Galway Racecourse

Despite Ballybrit being affectionately known often just as ‘the Galway Races’ because of its biggest event (and, of course, location), there are other race meets held here aside from the main seven-day event!

Racing continues through Spring and Autumn, and on non-race days, the venue is often used by companies for corporate events and hospitality.

Galway Racecourse

Popular Questions

Do you need tickets for the Galway Races?

No you don’t need tickets for the Galway Races as you can pay at the gates.

What date is the Galway Races?

The date of Galway races change slightly each year but the seven-day festival generally start the last week of July and runs into August.

The main races include The Galway Hurdle and Galway  Mile.

Who won the Galway Mile in 2020?

The Galway Mile was won in 2020 for a second year in a row by Saltonstall trained by Ado McGuiness and owned by Dooley Thoroughbreds.

Summary of Galway Racecourse and Galway Races

Galway Racecourse is a stunning racecourse an arms throw from the beautiful town itself.

It hosts meetings throughout the year but will always be best known for the seven-day Galway Festival, featuring The Galway Plate (Galway Hurdle) and Galway Mile.

A Summer festival that hosts both national hunt and flat racing makes it unique.

The iconic and famous right-handed track with the steep incline to the finish has seen many thrilling finishes.

Galway is a superb racecourse and one we will always hold dear in my heart.

It is our favourite of all the brilliant Irish racecourses.

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:

Our team as of December 2022 have reviewed these racecourses in Ireland and UK racecourses that are also worth a visit:

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.