Galway Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Galway Racecourse. In this section we explore this great racecourse in detail, looking at its history, the Galway Festival, a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Galway Races


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.

Ballybrit Racecourse is a right-handed track of approximately one mile and three furlongs and has a sharp decline into a dip for its final two fences, which are the closest two fences of any course in the world! A steep incline leads to the finish.

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.

Racecourse History

Horseracing is a fiercely protected tradition in Ireland, so it’s no surprise that the courses there are often fairly old. Ballybrit Racecourse opened in August 1869 and some 40,000 people turned up to watch the racing on the very first day! 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 racedays.

To say that horseracing is a key part of Irish culture would be to understate the fact. Ireland has 26 major racecourses: that’s more per head of the population than any other country in the world and Galway is one of the 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.

The course continued to enjoy success and in 1929, when races began to be broadcast on radio across Ireland, Ballybrit 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 Ballybrit 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 Ballybrit Racecourse looks bright, and the planned refurbishments and extensions should help propel the venue’s success to even further heights.

Main Races and Events

Ballybrit is home to not just a major venue event, but one that is considered a key staple of the whole country’s racing calendar. The Galway Races Summer Festival is the longest of all meets in Ireland and runs for seven full days! It starts on the last Monday of July annually and usually runs into August. The highlights of the week include the Galway Mile on the Tuesday, Galway Plate, raced on the Wednesday, and Ladies’ Day, raced on the Thursday. Over 150,000 racegoers attend the festival each year.

Galway Racecourse Map

Galway Racecourse Map
Courtesy of Racing TV.

Galway Racecourse Address

Ballybrit Racecourse,
Co. Galway,
H91 V654

How To Get To Galway Racecourse

Ballybrit Racecourse is easily accessible from anywhere in Ireland, as it’s situated just off the major M6 motorway. Shuttle buses run from the nearby Eyre Square on racedays. The nearest rail station is Galway, and the racecourse is about a 15-minute car journey from there. 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.

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!

Best Galway Races Betting Sites

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:

  • bet365 Horse Racing
    Bet365 Horse Racing

    New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Horse Racing
    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Horse Racing
    Coral Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    Ladbrokes Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Horse Racing
    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Horse Racing
    Unibet Horse Racing Logo

    New customers only. 18+, Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Full T&C's Apply

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 Racecourse Fixtures

To come.

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:

Other Events

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

Galway Racecourse


To come.

Other racecourses

Our team as of July 2020 have reviewed these racecourses that you can also bet on: