The more observant amongst you might have noticed that there is a word missing from the title of Dundalk Stadium. Where most of the venues we’ve covered on this page tend to include the word ‘greyhound’ somewhere in the title, this one doesn’t – and with good reason. Dundalk Stadium is actually a multi-purpose venue, serving both horse and greyhound racing for County Louth in Ireland.
It is the country’s only all-weather horse racing track and was built at a cost of €35 million. It boasts an impressive grandstand, complete with elevated viewing areas, a restaurant and a number of bars for your amusement and entertainment. If you fancy a drink or two, as well as a good laugh and a chance to win some money, then this is the place you should be heading to.
Dundalk Stadium Guide
Race Days & Times
There is a slight degree of complication when it comes to the days and times that the racing is on. This is mainly because the stadium often does a double event with horse and dog racing going off back-to-back. Typically speaking, though, you’ll be able to watch the greyhounds on a Friday and a Saturday at Dundalk Stadium.
On Fridays, the doors open at 5pm because there is horse racing going on before the dogs. The first horse race is normally at about 5.30pm, with the last one going off at 9.10pm, give or take. The greyhound racing starts at 9.30pm and finishes at around 12.10am. On Saturdays, it’s all about the dogs, so doors open at 6.30pm and the first race starts at 7.50pm. The last race runs at around 12.30am.
- Ticket Prices: If you want to go along on a night when you’ll be able to watch both horse racing and the dogs, then it will cost adults €15, concessions €10 and kids under fourteen can get in for free. If you only want to watch greyhound racing then that comes down to €10 for adults and €5 for concessions, but kids under fourteen have to pay €2. Family tickets and other deals are available, too.
- Getting There: Dundalk Stadium is around an hour from Belfast and 45-minutes from Dublin. You’ll find it just off the M1/N1, close to the N52. The closest train station is Dundalk’s, which is about 10-minutes away in a car or around 40-minutes drive. When it comes to buses, you’ll be looking for either the 160 or the 161 – both of which stop nearby.
- Parking: There is a decent size car park, so if you’re driving you’ll be able to leave your car there. You can even leave it overnight, should you end up fancying a drink once you’re there.
When it comes to talking about the history of Dundalk Stadium, there are two strands we need to consider. The first is the venue itself, which opened in 2003 as a greyhound venue. There had been another greyhound stadium in Dundalk named the Dundalk Ramparts Greyhound Stadium, but that has closed in 2000. The year before two separate entities, the Dundealgan Greyhound Racing Company Limited and the Dundalk Race Company PLC, had merged to create Dundalk Racing (1999) Limited.
A racecourse had existed for National Hunts in the spot that Dundalk Stadium would later open, but that closed in 2001 and so Dundalk Racing (1999) Limited believed that there was a real opportunity to create a decent going concern. On the 29th of November in 2003 John O’Donoghue, the Minister for Sport, opened the new €11 million venue, which boasted a track of 550 yards with a kennels nearby. Over the following four years another €24 million was spent in order to develop an all-weather horse racing track to compliment the one that already existed for the greyhounds.
Perhaps the most prestigious greyhound racing competition that takes place at Dundalk Stadium is the Dundalk International. It is an invitational event that not only attracts Ireland’s best dogs but also welcomes some of the top competitors from the UK. As a one-off race it is one of the richest in all of Ireland, boasting as much as a €20,000 kitty in 2016. Inaugurated in 1968, it is considered to be one of the most important events in the Irish greyhound calendar. It’s not the only important race that takes place at the stadium, however. The Irish Sprint Cup, which used to be known as the Irish National Cup, was moved from Ballyskeagh to Dundalk in 2004.