There is no doubting that horses play a special part in Irish life. From pony shows to top international racing and dressage festivals, there is not a county in Ireland that does not have some form of equestrian entertainment taking place this summer. We have included some of our highlights below but for a full list check out Inspireme.ie.
First up is the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival in the Curragh, County Kildare. Taking place over three days from Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th July, this is one of Ireland’s most exciting sporting events. Watch as Europe’s top horses and most fearless jockeys line up to compete for the biggest prize in Irish racing. As well as seriously impressive style, there will be musical magic including Sharon Shannon, the Delorentos and Brian Kennedy. See here for all the info.
Killarney Racing Festival
All roads lead to Killarney for the July Racing Festival. This wonderful mix of National Hunt and Flat racing takes place from 15th to 19th July. Monday to Wednesday are evening meetings while Thursday sees all the glamour of the Queen of Fashion Ladies Day. With top class races such as the Kingdom Gold Cup and the Ruby Stakes this is one not to be missed. For all the details see here.
Camphire International Horse Trials
Moving to the majestic venue of Camphire House in Waterford, the Sema Lease Camphire International Horse Trials and Country Fair will be in full swing from 24th to 28th July. Combining the excitement of an international three-day event with great food, family fun and shopping, everyone will enjoy strolling the grounds and watching the cross country, dressage and show jumping competitions. Find out more here.
Galway Racing Festival
You will need stamina if you plan on heading West on 29th July for a week at the world-famous Galway Racing Festival. This year the festival celebrates in 150th birthday in style as 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 31st features the famous Galway Plate when top trainers battle for the illustrious title. Thursday 1st August is Ladies Day while Saturday 3rd 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 4th 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.
The Dublin Horse Show
Bringing it back to the capital, the RDS in the heart of the city features the Dublin Horse Show. The Horse Show runs from Wednesday 7th to Sunday 11th 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 9th. Watch in awe as the Puissance fence gets every higher on Saturday 10th. Or marvel at the fearlessness of the stars of the future during the Pony games, and the Hunt chase on Sunday 11th to close out this most unique of events. In addition the main hall will be full of fabulous retail options. There is a hotly contested Ladies Day competition on Friday. Finally, with music and entertainment on the lawn throughout the show, the Dublin Horse Show should be a feature on everyone’s calendar. Find out more here.
Bellewstown Racing Festival
With magnificent views of the Mourne Mountains to the North and the Irish Sea to the East, the racecourse in Bellewstown is the perfect place to spend a summer’s afternoon. Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th of August feature two afternoons of racing in spectacular surroundings. And with a very glamorous Ladies Day on the Wednesday this is always a highlight of the summer.
This is just a snapshot of some of the equine delights taking place all over the country this summer. All information was correct at time of publication but be sure to check with local organisers before you travel.