Thurles is a parish town in the Irish county of Tipperary. Despite not being one of Ireland’s most well known towns, it is not a backwater place with nothing to show for itself. It boasts not only a greyhound stadium but also a hurling and Gaelic football ground for both the Tipperary GAA and all of Munster. After Croke Park, Semple Park is Ireland’s second largest Gaelic football stadium. Of course it’s the greyhound stadium we’re most interested in and it opened for the first time in 1948.
Sometimes called Townpark Greyhound Stadium, the venue is to the North-West of the town centre and has a restaurant on the trackside. If you prefer a slightly less formal setting for your food then you’ll be pleased to know that there are fast food facilities on offer too. There are several bars for your amusement, so you’ll be spoiled for choice over what to do before the racing begins.
Thurles Greyhound Stadium
Race Days & Times
It’s nice and simple to know when racing is going on a Thurles Greyhound Stadium. It’s held Saturday evening with the first race getting underway at 8pm. The doors open about an hour before then, should you wish to have a drink, bite to eat or simply check out the venue.
- Ticket Prices: As with most greyhound racing venues throughout Ireland, you’ll almost certainly be able to find a deal to enter the stadium depending on the time of year. The standard price is €10, which includes a Race Card.
- Getting There: If you’re driving, then you’re in luck as the venue is near to the N62, the N75, the R660 and the R498. Thurles Train Station is about a ten minute or so walk away, whilst buses 393, 394, 395, 396, 397 and 812 all stop a little further but still within walking distance.
- Parking: There is a car park attached to the stadium that doubles up as an overflow for Semple Park when GAA events are being held. That’s worth bearing in mind if the events clash at any point.
The stadium hosted its first racing event on the 13th of September in 1948. It quickly gained a reputation for being a decent galloping course, thanks in no small part to its decent circumference of 509 yards. Though it is considered by some in the industry to be a slow track that hasn’t stopped it from hosting some big events. Arguably no event is bigger in Ireland than the Grand National, which arrived at the stadium in 1962 and stayed there for 26 years before moving to Shelbourne Park – just outside of Dublin.
The track was run and maintained by the Thurles Greyhound Racing & Sports Association, a limited company that worked hard to keep it in the best possible condition. They maintained the stadium’s popularity by hosting events, such as charity nights on a regular basis. All of this was overseen by the long-term racing manager Eamonn Burke. Burke was eventually replaced by Paul Hayes and it was under Hayes’ watchful eye that the 2011 refurbishment of the venue was undertaken. This involved a large degree of refurbishment, including an added extension to the grandstand to install an upstairs bar area.
As well the Grand National, the stadium has hosted slightly less well-known competitions during its existence. The Tipperary Cup and the Guinness 575 are two such examples with others including the Champion Bitch Stakes and the Puppy Stakes. The latter race is obviously for younger dogs to find their feet in the racing world with the stadium’s long track designed to push them from an early age. Race distances held there nowadays are 330 yards, 525 yards (not the 525 in the Guinness 525 race’s name), 570 yards and 600 yards.