With the recent news that attendance limits have been scrapped at Irish racecourses, it’s not only a boost for the industry, it could have profound effects on many other facets of business connected to the sport. The industry is now said to be worth well over €1 billion, so the loss of revenue from visitors to the courses has had wide reaching effects.

Over the last 18 months the pandemic hit the racing industry hard. The stark reality of that devastation was first seen six months into last year, when Horse Racing Ireland announced that 87 fixtures were lost due to the lockdown. Also it’s worth considering that attendance figures for the first half of the year were down by 80% and betting revenues were down by almost 74%, too. If that wasn’t devastating enough, due to the lack of racing in Ireland and the closure of a number of training facilities, onlookers were concerned it would have further implications. With a lack of facilities able to open to ready the horses for competition and the lack of racing too, thankfully it didn’t hamper preparations for success on the track this year. As Al Boum Photo was amongst the top 3 Irish trained front runners, at the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier this year.

There has since been a gradual increase of attendees on a sliding scale almost, which has been helpful for finances. This is of course a real plus, but the most recent announcement of the full return of spectators, has benefits that reach further than the stables at the courses. Getting back to racing in front of packed out stands also means that there will be a timely boost for hospitality, not only within the venue grounds themselves but in the local and surrounding areas, too.

So, to continue that positive theme, let’s take a look at some of the courses which will be welcoming back the fans over the coming days, weeks and months.


Laytown is definitely one racecourse which is unique for the fans with its location right on the coast in County Meath, just 12 km from Drogheda. The beach races have been held overlooking the Irish Sea for over 100 years, and with just one fixture per year at the historic course it’s one not to miss this year. Usually the races take place in September, but with concerns over implementation of the government safety guidelines, the races were delayed and will run this year on November 1st.


Close to the announcement of the reintroduction of capacity crowds, the October festival was the first event for fans to enjoy. However, the three-day festival came as the last of the season at the popular course. Although the traditional Galway summer festival wasn’t attended by a capacity crowd back in August, it was still a memorable one for attendees.

Fans who were there in the summer watched Colin Keane race to victory and pick up the Pat Smullen Trophy for being the best flat jockey at the summer meeting.


This is undoubtedly one of the showcase venues for racing in the country, and one which jockeys and trainers certainly cherish racing at. Leopardstown Racecourse is one of the few tracks to host both Flat and National Hunt racing, and there has been some historic racing in its 133-year history. Because of its heritage the venue always attracts some of the best horses and jockeys from across Ireland and the UK to its grounds.

It was a memorable venue for one of Ireland’s modern day heroes just a few years ago at the track situated just 8 km south of Dublin. Oisin Murphy, who is aiming for further victories and accolades in 2022, is hoping to repeat his memorable win from 2018 at Leopardstown. And the 2021 British Champion is favourite for the 2022 flat jockey’s championship, according to the latest horse racing odds on Ladbrokes.

Although there’s a real buzz about 2022, before then, welcoming back the paddock and spectators alike is the Christmas Festival. This takes place from Boxing Day to the 29th December this year. As it will be the first fixture at the course with a full capacity crowd in 18 months, the excitement is growing for what promises to be another memorable moment in the history of this iconic racing venue.

Share This