When the stadium opened in 1931, more than a few people might have found themselves singing, “It’s a long way to Tipperary”, but it’s unlikely that they were heading to watch greyhound racing. The stadium is in Clonmel, of course, which is in County Tipperary rather than Tipperary itself. Having said that, Clonmel is no insubstantial parish. It’s the county’s largest settlement with a population of around 16,000.
Heading to Clonmel Greyhound Stadium will give you a chance to watch races over numerous distances from 300 yards to as long as 1,015 yards. Of course you’ll also be in store for a night of good craic and entertainment. The venue boasts a restaurant, bars, food eating areas and regular seating. If you’ve never been before you’ll enjoy fast-paced fun and almost non-stop action, whilst if you are a regular race-goer, you’ll enjoy how well laid out the course is.
Clonmel Greyhound Stadium
Race Days & Times
If you went past Clonmel Greyhound Stadium on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday Friday, or Saturday during the daytime then you might see a bit of action and wonder what was going on. That’s just trials, however, so you’ll want to limit your excitement to Fridays and Sundays. That’s when the racing that the public can attend goes on, after all.
On Fridays, the doors to the venue open at 7pm. You’ll have just less than an hour to wait until the first race gets underway at 7.49pm. On Sundays, it all shifts slightly earlier. The doors open at 6.30pm for a first race of 7.30pm, giving you an hour to help yourself to some food and drink.
- Ticket Prices: There are times of the year when you’ll be able to get a deal to get into Clonmel Greyhound Stadium, perhaps including some food or the like. However, all year round there’s a standard price of €10 for adults, students and senior citizens alike, including the Race Card. Under-14s get in for free.
- Getting There: The stadium is on the northern side of the river that runs through the town, just up from the border between County Tipperary and County Waterford. It’s close to the R680 and the R678, if you’re in a car. It’s less then a twenty minute walk from Clonmel Train Station to the track, whilst bus numbers 717, NUG-7, 55, 355 and X7 all stop a wee bit closer.
- Parking: There is a car park that you can use near to Clonmel Greyhound Stadium.
The Irish Coursing Club chose Clonmel as the basis for their headquarters in 1921, so it was only natural than actual greyhound course followed not long after. There were grounds that were in an ideal spot, but the Horse Show Society owned them. It took until 1931 for an agreement to be reached between them and the Greyhound Racing Club of Clonmel, with the latter agreeing to pay them £250 per year in order to lease the land. The ICC’s secretary, Tom Morris, became the course’s first managing director when it opened on the 20th of March, 1931.
The year after it opened Clonmel Greyhound Stadium hosted a prestigious Irish competition known as the Oaks. In 1933, it was joined by the St. Leger, though that trophy was only there for one year and was won by a legendary dog called Brilliant Bob. In 1939, as war broke out across Europe, the National Sapling Stakes, later named the National Puppy Cup and then the National Breeders Produce Stakes, was raced at the stadium for the first time. In 1947, after the conclusion of the Second World War, the ICC moved into brand new headquarters from where they both administered greyhound racing and ran a newspaper called the Sporting Press.
In 1960, the Morris family sold the racecourse to the Bord na gCon, meaning it came under their control for the first time. They didn’t interfere much with how the track had been run before, though they did introduce a new event known as the Munster Cup. Somewhat problematically, the track tended to get flooded on a reasonably regular basis. By 1986, Bord na gCon had had enough and closed the track in order to renovate it. It re-opened in the following year having undergone some big changes, including the conversion to an all-sand venue.
The track changed ownership once more in 1991 when Bord na gCon sold their stake to the Clonmel Leisure Group. That didn’t last long, however, as it closed down in 1998 after there had been disagreements between the CLG and the Clonmel Agricultural Show. The stadium re-opened in 2003 after a massive investment, during which time it was upgraded and modernised. It also had sponsorship for the National Produce Stakes from Red Mills. In 2012, the main stand was knocked down after a £1 million investment from the Irish Greyhound Board.