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Listowel Racecourse

Published on: 20/11/2016

Listowel Racecourse in County Kerry, Ireland is within easy walking distance of the market town of Listowel. The venue is suitable for National Hunt racing as well as flat racing. It is a left-handed flat track with an inner rectangle circuit which is approximately one mile long. There is a triangle outer circuit of one mile and one furlong. There are 11 barriers, five hurdles and six fences. Listowel Racecourse offers nine race meetings per annum. The most popular meeting is the Guinness Kerry National which takes place in September. Autumn brings a seven-day festival of events and June features two consecutive days of racing.

Historical records show that the first official race meeting to take place in the area occurred in Ballyeagu, in County Kerry sometime during the 19th century. Due to local rivalries and disagreements, the location of the race had to be transferred to Listowel. The two-day event was named the North Kerry Hunt Steeplechase Meeting. Over time, the race gained a substantial following which allowed for the addition of a third race day which soon became part of the traditional Harvest Festival celebrations.

As Listowel Racecourse grew it became evident that the property’s facilities required upgrading. A plan for major improvements was drawn up in 1910, starting with the building of a bridge over the River Faele. By 1924, the venue opened its first enclosure and stand. In 1949, the Listowel Race Company was assigned to supervise the management of the venue. A concrete stand was put into place prior to the courses centenary celebration in 1958.

In 1966, spring meetings were added to Listowel Racecourse schedule - a one-day meeting in March and a two-day meeting in April. In 1967, another bridge was erected over the river Faele and by 1977, the Autumn Festival had become a five-day event. In 1980, The Hannon Stand was completed, while the Listowel Races Supporters Club was founded in 1987. Towards the end of the 20th century, the New Hugh Friel Stand was built.

Listowel Racecourse has continued to grow and prosper. By 2002, the Autumn Racing Festival covered a week of racing activity. In 2005, the two spring events were amalgamated to create the singular two-day Bank Holiday Meeting in June. In 2008, additional events such as the Grade C Latrigue Handicap Hurdle and the Guinness Handicap Hurdle were added to the racing calendar.

Listowel Racecourse’s highlight of the year is the Harvest Festival. Large volumes of race goers flock to enjoy the seven-day fixture. The Harvest Festival starts off with the Kerry Group Handicap Steeplechase. The following day features the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Premier Nursery Handicap, while the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle is hosted on the fifth day. The M.J. Carroll ARRO Handicap Hurdle ends all of the excitement - until the next year of course!

Listowel Racecourse is an ideal venue for a multitude of purposes such as fun fairs, fashion shows, live music and entertainment, weddings and private parties to name just a few. There are a multitude of bars, coffee shops, restaurants, corporate hospitality suites, retail shops and betting shops.

The only other racing location in Ireland that stages a comparable event to Listowel’s Harvest Festival is Galway.

Published on: 20/11/2016 © Bet Bind
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