Limerick Racecourse

Published: 08/10/2013

The purpose-built Limerick Racecourse in Patrickswell, County Limerick, Ireland stages both National Hunt and flat racing events, offering 18 fixtures over the course of eight months, March~July and October~December. The undulating, right-handed oval circuit covers a distance of one mile and three furlongs, featuring a wide sweeping turn into a final straight and run in of 2½ furlongs with a slight climb up to the winning post. Major races here include the European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Hurdle in March, the Listed Martin Molony Stakes in June, the Munster National in October and the Grade 2 Greenmount Park Novice Chase in December.

Out with the Old, In with the New

Limerick’s association with horse racing goes back to 1790, when the very first recorded fixtures were organised. Over the next two centuries, six different venues served County Limerick as locations for steeplechase, hurdle and flat races, including Bruff, Rathkeale, Newcastle, Lemonfield, Ballinacurra and Greenpark. The latter was the most popular and longest lived of the lot, successfully conducting meetings for 130 years until its closure in 1999. Urban sprawl had eventually enveloped the city track, causing a new location to be sought out.

The solution turned out to be Greenmount Park, comprising 400 acres carved out of the site of a stud farm, a panoramic setting that had hosted local point-to-point meetings for as long as local memory served. The land was purchased in 1996 and 250 acres were allotted for creation of the present Limerick Racecourse—the first purpose-built racecourse in Ireland for 50 years.

Everything was newly constructed to qualify Limerick as a Category 1 racetrack, from ground prepared for specialist surfaces and a substantial drainage infrastructure to associated roads, 2000 car spaces and the exceptionally modern facilities of the Hugh McMahon Stand. As the main structure on the site, the Grandstand was designed to include a cantilevered truss roof that provides shelter over the spectator terraces. Among other key structures are an entrance building with office and bar facilities and the essential stable facilities adjacent to the central parade ring, all completed to the highest of specifications. When the course opened in October 2001, a record crowd of 18,000 racing fans showed up.

Having recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, Limerick Racecourse has become recognised as one of the Ireland’s premier horse racing venues. Its top attraction is the €100,000 Munster National, which takes place in October under the sponsorship of Ladbrokes since 2006. Covering a distance of three miles, the race is the centrepiece of Limerick Ladies Day, sponsored by Keanes Jewellers.

Racing at Limerick Today

Among the many featured meetings at Limerick Racecourse are April’s Family Fun Day when the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase and the Kevin McManus listed Bumper are run, the Twilight Season racing with lively bands and tasty BBQ in June and July, and the four-day Limerick Christmas Festival in December. General admission tickets are priced at €10~€15 per adult, depending on the fixture, and children under the age of 14 years are admitted free of charge.

There is a Punter Package available at Limerick Racecourse from €25 person, providing admission, a hot roll, a whiskey and a racecard. For €65, the Restaurant Package can be enjoyed, including admission, a racecard, a four-course lunch, waiter service, cash bar, tote facility and reserved seating. Facilities located on the grounds range from Supermac’s, Woodlands Catering Coffee Dock and the Carvery Restaurant to the Panoramic Restaurant inside the Greenmount Suite, overlooking the home straight and offering great value dining options.

Published on: 08/10/2013

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