Dundalk Racecourse Guide

In 2007, Dundalk Stadium became the only place in Ireland offering horse racing on an all-weather track following some major redevelopment work which completely transformed the course.

The weather resistant track allows Dundalk to hold racing throughout the year on a regular basis and it now typically hosts 37 meetings annually. Alongside this there is also plenty of greyhound action which takes place on a track based on the inside of the course.

Map

Swap Start/End

The Course

There are a lot of all-weather surfaces present among racecourses globally but few are able to match the quality of the one found at Dundalk. The 10 furlong, waxed, polytrack course features two left handed bends and a run-in measuring approximately two and a half furlongs. There is also a small chute by the entrance of the home bend where five furlong races begin from. A low draw is of big benefit in these races and can also be helpful during longer races too given how long you spend on the turn.

In 2013, Dundalk installed a cutaway rail, a move which has largely been a popular one as it has reduced the amount of hard luck stories. Two years later and they made more adjustments to the track to reduce the amount of kickback horses would face. While the track doesn’t quite ride like turf, its fairly firm nature means those who run better on soft ground tend to struggle.

Major Races

Dundalk’s highest class races is the extended one and a quarter mile Diamond Stakes. It has boasted Group 3 status since 2009, the same year it was added to the Breeders’ Cup Challenge. It is the feature race of the meeting that falls in either late September or early October and regular features strong entries from Aidan O’Brien’s yard, with the great man being the race’s leading trainer.

Visiting

There are some afternoon meetings at Dundalk Stadium but you’ll find that most racing takes place in the evening, often on Fridays.

  • Dress Code: Racegoers at Dundalk Stadium should come wearing smart casual attire and avoid items such as baseball caps, tracksuit bottoms, shorts and sportswear. For anyone attending as part of a hen/stag party, fancy dress is allowed but must not be offensive in any way.
  • Ticket Prices: Admission tickets must be purchased at the gates on the day of the meeting. Entry costs €15 for adults and €10 for senior citizens & students. Children under 14 are allowed to enter for free. Hospitality packages (including admission) can be booked online in advance and the most basic package, which includes a reserved table in the bar area, a racecard and finger food selection, costs a bargain €25. The most expensive package which sees the finger food upgraded to a four course meal costs just €49 per person. Anyone looking to book as part of a large group should contact the bookings office directly to arrange a discounted rate.
  • Membership: No membership is currently offered at Dundalk although this situation may change as demand increases so it’s worth contacting the course directly if you are interested.
  • Getting There: Located right beside the N52, Dundalk Stadium is very accessible by road. If travelling by train, Dundalk Station is a little under 4km from the racecourse. From here it is best to catch a taxi or walk directly there as there ae no convenient bus services going to the racecourse.
  • Parking: Plenty of parking is available at Dundalk and is provided free of charge.

History

Although Dundalk’s present home is new by racing standards, it has a history in the sport that dates back over 200 years. Much of its racing past took place on the old track which existed between 1899 and 2001. It was a huge part of the local community over these years and many households in Dundalk had some connection to it.

The decision was made to completely revamp the facilities however and an ambitious project totalling €35m got underway. The new track was built on a new site but the old stable of the former ground can be seen by the current entrance gates, acting as a reminder of the past. Today’s stable is far larger and can accommodate up to 130 horses and is part of a thoroughly modern and high class facility.

Greyhound racing would be the first to return to the new facilities that boasted a modern grandstand, an elevated viewing area, bars and a restaurant. Three years later and everything was set for the return of the horses. Ireland’s first floodlit all-weather course held its opening meeting on 26th August 2007.

The course has enjoyed a boost in attendances since its renovation and in 2016, over 52,500 people were in attendances across 39 fixtures, up an impressive 22% on the previous year. On top of a busy schedule of racing, the modern venue also hosts a range of other events across the year from the Louth Agricultural Show to extreme stunt performances.