Curragh Racecourse Guide

The word Curragh literally translates as "place of the running horse" and there is no more fitting name for the home of Irish flat racing than the Curragh of Kildare. Home of all five Irish Classics, including the Irish Derby, which is the richest race in the Irish calendar. It also hosts the second day of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

The first-ever event to take place in this County Kildare racetrack happened to be in 1741. Parliament even declared it an official racing venue in 1868.

The racetrack is easily accessible from places like Dublin, Cork and Limerick given the well connected trains to Kildare. Once you get to Kildare, you’ll find a free shuttle bus from the town centre straight to the racecourse. On specific race days, you might also find that you can get a coach directly from Dublin Airport. Do check the official racetrack’s website to find more information about this, as it does not operate daily.

Map

Swap Start/End

Ticket Prices

Admission fees vary from regular meetings to classic meetings and are stated as follows.

  • Regular meetings: Adults €15, OAPs/U25s €8, Children under 16 Free.
  • Classic meetings: Adults €20, OAPs/U25s €10, Children under 16 Free.

The Course

The course is shaped like a horseshoe and is approximately two miles long. Thankfully, it doesn’t have any crazy bends and there’s a good three-furlong straight run, which is only every so slightly uphill. The Curragh is a very fair track, and you will very rarely see an incident where a horse does not get a chance to win their race if good enough to do so.

The track contains a 7f straight course, as well as a 1m round course, and an inner course of 1m 4f along with a Derby course that extends beyond the 1m 4f start to 1m 6f. One difference between the courses is that while there is not a lot of draw bias on the straight and round/inner course, there is a deceptive amount of turning on the Derby course that you are unable to realise from the stands, and as such, a low draw is preferable in races run on that course.

There’s a slight camber from the side of the track with the stands to the opposite side, so the stand side of the track is slightly drier and gives a slight bias to a high draw in the sprint races on the straight course, especially if the ground is soft or worse.

Major Meetings at The Curragh

The Curragh is an exclusively flat track that hosts all of the biggest races in the Irish flat calendar. Racing takes place from March until October with a total of 19 meetings. 10 of the 12 Group 1s in the country take place here with the biggest among them, of course, being the Irish Derby, which takes place in late June and is worth over €1.5m in prize money.

Dining and Hospitality

The Curragh might just have the best hospitality service in Irish racing and includes numbers on track dining facilities of both the fast food and sit down meal variety, as well as many stalls, sweet shops, and coffee shops. In terms of packages, there are quite a number available depending on the type of meeting on at the track, including:

  • The Balcony Bar and Restaurant - 3 course lunch from €60 pp
  • Champagne Bar Restaurant - 3 course lunch from €60 pp
  • The Horseshoe Restaurant - Lunch Packages from €45 pp
  • Garden Picnic Party Package - Package is for 4 people and is €199
  • Derby Foodscape Party Package - Derby Weekend Package from €45 pp
  • Private Suite - Price depends on size of party and customisation requirements; See the Curragh website for further details