Galway Racecourse

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of County Galway, Ireland, lies the iconic Galway Racecourse, also known as Ballybrit Race Track. More than just a venue for horse racing, it's a cultural phenomenon, a vibrant tapestry woven with the threads of tradition, thrilling competition, and an infectious atmosphere that resonates far beyond the racetrack itself.

A Rich History Steeped in Tradition:

The story of the Galway Racecourse unfolds like a captivating chapter in Irish history. Its origins trace back to 1869 when Lord St Lawrence, a Member of Parliament for Galway, envisioned a racetrack that would not only showcase the region's equestrian prowess but also serve as a focal point for social gatherings and community spirit. The inaugural two-day event, held at Ballybrit, proved to be a resounding success, drawing a staggering crowd of 40,000 enthusiastic racegoers. This marked the birth of a legacy that continues to captivate hearts and ignite passions over a century later.

The Crown Jewel: The Galway Races Festival

The undisputed jewel in the crown of the Galway Racecourse is the Galway Races Festival, a legendary seven-day extravaganza held annually in August. This vibrant spectacle transcends the realm of horseracing, transforming into a full-fledged cultural experience. The air crackles with excitement as world-class jockeys vie for supremacy on the track, while the stands overflow with a kaleidoscope of colors, a testament to the vibrant fashion scene that thrives within the festival. Live music and entertainment fill the air, creating an infectious energy that transcends generations and social circles.

Beyond the Excitement: The Technical Nuances of the Racetrack

From a jockey's perspective, the Galway Racecourse is a unique and challenging test of both horse and rider. The right-handed, almost rectangular track, stretching just over a mile and two furlongs, demands precise calculations and a deep understanding of pacing. The sharp descent into the turn and the uphill finish in the final furlong add an extra layer of complexity, requiring both athletic prowess and strategic maneuverability from the participants. The course also caters to National Hunt racing, featuring hurdles and chases that test the agility and bravery of both horse and rider as they navigate challenging obstacles.

A Celebration of Community and Spirit:

The Galway Races Festival transcends the boundaries of mere competition. It serves as a potent symbol of community spirit, bringing together people from all walks of life in a shared celebration of Irish culture and heritage. The atmosphere is infectious, radiating warmth, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging. Whether you're a seasoned equestrian enthusiast or simply seeking a taste of authentic Irish culture, the Galway Races Festival offers an unparalleled experience that will leave an indelible mark on your memory.

Beyond the Festival: A Year-Round Thrill

While the Galway Races Festival may be the undisputed highlight, the racecourse isn't dormant for the remaining months of the year. Throughout September, October, and November, several smaller meetings take place, offering opportunities for both seasoned racegoers and newcomers to experience the thrill of the sport in a more intimate setting. These events provide valuable platforms for up-and-coming jockeys and horses to showcase their talents and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of Irish horseracing.


Open hours today: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm Toggle weekly schedule
  • Monday

    9:00 am - 1:00 pm2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Tuesday

    9:00 am - 1:00 pm2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Wednesday

    9:00 am - 1:00 pm2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Thursday

    9:00 am - 1:00 pm2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Friday

    9:00 am - 1:00 pm2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Saturday


  • Sunday


  • April 24, 2024 1:48 am local time



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race dates for 2024

  • Galway Races Summer Festival:
    • This marquee event takes center stage from Monday, July 29th, to Sunday, August 4th, 2024. Mark your calendars for a week of exhilarating racing, vibrant social gatherings, and an unforgettable Irish experience.

    • Autumn Meetings: The racecourse doesn't go quiet after the summer festival. Here's a lineup of additional racing opportunities in the fall:
      • Autumn National Hunt Raceday: This one-day event kicks off the autumn season on Monday, September 9th, 2024.
      • Autumn Flat Raceday: Test your knowledge of flat racing on Tuesday, September 10th, 2024.
      • October National Hunt Raceday: Get ready for another day of National Hunt action on Tuesday, October 8th, 2024.
      • October Racing Festival: This three-day extravaganza from Saturday, October 26th to Monday, October 28th, 2024, offers a chance to experience the thrill of racing towards the end of the season.