The Curragh is an icon landmark and encapsulates the essence of County Kildare. The Curragh open plains was where galloping horses was a regular site. This area of Kildare is steeped in so much intriguing history that it is a destination not to be missed when visiting Kildare.
Legends recall how the irrepressible warrior Fionn MacCool, was known to gather his chariots and race them along the Curragh Plains. Anglo-Norman families such as FitzGerald, de Bermingham and de Riddlesford also brought their love of the horse to Kildare, having achieved much of their conquest by the grace of their superior steeds. In 1260, a Franciscan scholar lamented that the people of Ireland were ‘more addicted to games and hunting than to labour’
In 1682, the Curragh was considered the place to go for ‘all the nobility and gentry of the kingdom that either pretend to love, or delight in, hawking, hunting, or racing.’
In 1865 a commission was set up by the house of parliament to examine the Curragh, and the resultant 1868 Curragh of Kildare act settled the right of common pasture, and preserved the use of the Curragh for the purpose of horse racing and training. The total area of the Curragh was defined as 4870 acres, and the management of the Curragh was vested in the office of a ranger. The 1870 Curragh of Kildare act dealt with grazing rights and specified that only sheep could be grazed on the Curragh.
The area of the Curragh Plains is recognised as one of the oldest natural grasslands in Europe. It is a recorded monument under the National Monuments Act, being designated a Special Environment.
Irish Bloodstock Industry
The Curragh is at the heart of the Irish bloodstock industry, and due to an enlightened and supportive approach by the department of defence, the management of the Turf Club , and the expertise of our trainers, the Curragh training grounds have developed into a world-renowned training centre, and a major source of employment, using indigenous skills and talents.
In addition to the training stables mentioned earlier, numerous large stud farms, including the National stud, have developed on the fringes of the Curragh with the consequent spin off effect into the local economy. Approximately 26% of the horses trained in Ireland are trained on the Curragh, and it is not unreasonable to apply the same percentage to employment levels.
The Curragh Race Course
The Curragh Racecourse hosts some of Ireland’s top race days from the Darley Irish Oaks, Irish Derby & the Guineas. The racecourse has some top class facilities with a massive redevelopment underway. There is ample parking for all travelling down and also the course is located just off the M7 outside Newbridge town so very easily accessible on public transport. From Ladies Day to Family Days the Curragh races are always a great day out.
There is bars, street food units and coffee docks for all the snacks you need while at the course along with a hospitality marquee.
The new Curragh will see the creation of world class facilities on a par with the best anywhere in the world. The centrepiece of the redevelopment will see the creation of a major new grandstand which will incorporate five star corporate facilities, restaurants, bars and superb viewing facilities. A new arrivals and reception area will incorporate a museum to celebrate the history of racing in Ireland and the contribution Ireland has made to the sport worldwide. A new parade ring will ensure that more patrons can share in the excitement and build up to the racing. A new weigh room will provide even better facilities for the jockeys, while a completely refurbished stable yard will ensure that the real stars of the sport will also have first class facilities. And all this while retaining the unrivalled atmosphere and unique spirit of the Curragh is retained.
So be sure to visit the Curragh Racecourse when visiting us at Killashee Hotel.