GALWAY RACECOURSE, Co. Galway
(Gaelic: Gaillimh. Meaning: The Stoney Place or The Place of the Foreigners)
The great Irish playwright John B. Keane said that the "Galway races are a state of mind". Indeed they are, a state of mind that is distinctly Irish, often copied but never equalled.
Quick Facts about Galway
Records of organised racing in Galway go back as far as the mid-thirteenth century when match races were run. More recently, there is an account a 5 day meeting in 1764 at Knockbarron near Loughrea, and steeplechases were run at Kiltulla, east of Ballybrit, up until 1868, when the course was flooded and so the festivities were moved to Ballybrit in 1869.
That first 2 day meeting was extended to 3 days in 1961, and has gradually built up into the present 7 day extravaganza.
Galway Festival Revealed
It has been said about the festival that it once brought Galway city to a standstill but now brings the country to a standstill. Those who have been there will understand that, those who have yet to visit are still strangers to this country's greatest sporting festival. Whether or not they are regular followers of horse-racing is immaterial, the salient pre-requisite for Galway racegoers is that they know how to have fun because that is the currency of the occasion. The festival starts in late July and runs for seven days, it is the high point of the Summer holiday season. It has become the Irish equivalent of Mardi Gras.
It is an event that captures the imagination of everyone who has been privy to its pleasures, and has been eulogised in song, verse, and on canvas by many noted artists.
Right handed course of one mile and two furlongs, with a steep decline into the dip where the last two fences are situated. These fences are famous for being the closest two fences on any racecourse in the world. There is a sharp incline to the finish line.
For more details, see www.galwayraces.com