Listowel Racecourse Guide

Listowel is tucked away in the rural heartland of Co. Kerry, and much like Laytown, is one of the unique jewels in the Irish racing calendar.

The first race to take place in the area was actually nine-miles from Listowel at Ballyeigh, Ballybunion, which was an annual event that goes back as far as the 19th century. The event included, of course, horse racing, but also other games, always ending with what they called an organised ‘faction fight’. Of course these fights often led to chaos and disorder, so the annual event thusly came to a halt. In 1858, however, the racing part of the Ballyeigh event was reinstated but at a different location, which was, of course, Listowel.

Ladies day during the infamous 7 day Harvest Festival can often attract crowds upwards of 26,000 and this can create a stunningly vibrant atmosphere at a rural course, such as Listowel. Getting to the racetrack is easy during the festival, as there are plenty of buses from both Tralee and Limerick. There are also trains available to nearby Tralee and Limerick, coming from popular places like Dublin, and then you can easily jump on a bus to the racecourse from the racecourse during the festival.

Map

Swap Start/End

Ticket Prices

General Admission prices for the course are: Adults €15, OAP / Student €7.50, and Children under 16 are free.

Tickets for the Harvest Festival are: Adults €20, OAP / Student €10, and Children under 16 are free when accompanied by an adult.

The Course

The course itself is a flat, left handed, oval track of about 1m 2f, which very much favours a horse that races handy as the nature of the track means that if the ground is good or better, even longer trips of 3m do not really provide too much of a stamina test.

There are fives fences on a circuit of the chase course with two on the home straight and a run in of about 200 yards. It is a very tight and sharp chase course. A unique feature of the track is the ground. When the ground gets quite testing there are not a lot of horses that handle it very well and fields can get quite strung out as the soil is very holding. In general, it pays to forgive a horse for a poor run on testing ground at the track.

As a flat track, Listowel rides quite ground dependant also. In good ground or better it pays to have a low draw and horse with plenty of speed where as if the ground becomes testing, the sticky nature of the soil mean the slight undulations take a lot out of the horse and the trips can take quite a bit of getting used to.

Major Meetings at Listowel

Listowel hosts 9 meetings each year split into a two day meeting in June and the famous seven-day Harvest Festival meeting in September. The highlight of the festival being the Kerry Nationnal Handicap Chase, which is a hotly contested and increasingly valuable race in the Irish calendar.

Dining and Hospitality

The basic level of facilities are quite good with a number of on course stalls and karts providing hot food and drinks to patrons.

The racecourse also offers hospitality function rooms for either business events or for pleasure. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and also a dinning room with great views of the track. Additionally, the racecourse features a shopping outlet, which displays the September Festival Meeting up on a big screen.