Cats and dogs may be a man’s best friend but it is said that horses wrote history. In Ireland we are spoiled for choice when it comes to horse-related events for the entire family. There is lots happening all over the country this summer. From Horse Racing to the Dublin Horse Show, there is something for everyone… Below are a selection of some of the best to make your summer truly historic!
Leopardstown Horse Racing and Bulmer’s Live
One of the best value racing festivals takes place in Dublin. Throughout July and August Leopardstown Racecourse is hosting Bulmer’s Live – a series of fantastic afternoons at the races followed by a night of rocking your socks off. It is starting on Thursday 13th July with theHothouse Flowers. At only €18 for your racing and a chance to see bands such asthe Stunning,The Riptide Movement,Sister Sledge and theHappy Mondays, there is no excuse not to hop on the Luas on one (or more) Thursday afternoons.
A little down the road in the Curragh on 15th and 16th July there is a high quality weekend of racing planned. Saturday 15th features theDarley Irish Oaks Group 1 race, the prestigious Jebel Ali Silver Jubilee Anglesey Stakes and Boodles Ladies Derby. This is the most valuable thoroughbred race for lady riders in Europe. It is also the most stylish of days with the Boodles Most Stylish Lady Competition. Sunday 16th the gates open at 12 for another exciting afternoon with theKilboy Estate Stakes.
Killarney Races July Festival
If you are in the South of the country,Killarney Racecourse is hosting their July racing festival of 29 top class races from 17th – 20th July. It kicks off on Monday with a fun filled family evening. There will be lots to keep the children entertained including bouncy castles, face painting and much more. A mixed card of Jump and Flat racing on Tuesday is followed by a visit on Wednesday from some of the 2017 Rose of Tralee contestants. Thursday is ‘Dawn Ladies Day’ where the best dressed ladies competition shall be judged by Thalia Heffernan. In addition, local GAA legend Aidan O’Mahony shall be on the lookout for the most dapper gentleman. They know how to plan a party in the Kingdom.
You will need stamina if you plan on heading West on 31st July for a week at the world-famousGalway Races. This is the 148th year of the Galway Races. The famous Ballybrit course plays host to seven days of superb horse racing, entertainment, stunning fashion and an electric atmosphere. This event always draws people from far and wide to experience the magic. The theme for the opening evening is ‘Gather Your Tribe’ in the City of the Tribes, Galway.
Wednesday 2nd August hosts the Galway Plate which has been run every year since 1869
Thursday 3rd features the Guinness Hurdle and Ladies Day.
Saturday is family fun day where children go free. There will be lots of entertainment for the younger racegoer, including bouncy castles, slides and face painting.
Sunday allows you to tip your Mad Hatters Hat to the organisers for yet another incredible week of racing, as you watch the sun go down on Galway Bay.
Dublin Horse Show
Bringing it back to the capital, the RDS in the heart of the city features theDublin Horse Show. The Horse Show runs from Wednesday 9th to Sunday 13th August. This family friendly event allows you to get up close and personal with some of the best show jumpers in the world. Cheer on the Irish team as they compete in the Nations cup on Friday 11th.
Watch in awe as the Puissance fence gets every higher on Saturday 12th. Or marvel at the fearlessness of the stars of the future during the Pony games, and the Hunt chase on Sunday 13th to close out this most unique of events. In addition the main hall will be full of retail options. Also there is a hotly contested Ladies Day competition on Friday. Finally, with music and entertainment on the lawn, the Dublin Horse Show should be a feature on everyone’s calendar.
Bellewstown Racing Festival
With magnificent views of the Mourne Mountains to the North and the Irish Sea to the East, the racecourse inBellewstown is the perfect place to spend a summer’s afternoon. Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st of August feature two afternoons of racing in spectacular surroundings.
Longines Irish Champions Weekend and the Irish Champion Stakes
And to complete the summer programme of events, the Longines Irish Champions weekend features two days of racing split between two venues. Saturday 9th September takes you back toLeopardstown. While Sunday 10th the fun moves to theCurragh in Kildare. The feature race on day one is the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, the highest-rated turf race in the world. Witness top thoroughbreds from around the world compete for the €2.3 million in prize-money on an eight race card. Day 2 in the Curragh is a ticket-only affair, and closes off an amazing summer of all things equestrian.
Finally, all information correct at time of publishing. Always check with event organiser before you travel.