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Earliest meeting: Monday 19th October 1761
Final meeting: Monday 15th May 1922
Athlone stands on the River Shannon on the border between Westmeath and County Roscommon. In the middle of the 18th century the town’s races were deemed sufficiently important to be included in the ‘Historical List of Horse Races & Matches of 1761’. At that early meeting the feature race, the Athlone Purse over 2 miles, was won by Mr Armstrong’s Whimsey, overcoming the determined challenge of White Nose and Sejarus. In 1777 the local townspeople offered a prize of £100, a large sum at that time, for a 2 mile race run in 3 heats, but by 1790 the course was in a dire and worrying condition. It was dangerous for spectators, treacherous for jockeys and deadly for horses. It was described as an ‘Ill-laid out course’, although funding for this and most other Irish courses was poor, and the Irish Turf Club had to take action. They did so by appointing a ‘Keeper of the Match Book’ the first of which was Patrick Kelly from Kilcullen. Races continued to be held annually for over 130 years until the final meeting on Monday 15th May 1922.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.

Local Patrons

Lord Mount Eagle, Colonel Archdale, Sir Edward O'Brien, Mr St Leger, Mr H Lindsay-Fitzpatrick

Principal Races Moydrum Plate, Garrycastle Handicap Plate

Monday 19th October 1761

Athlone Purse over 2 miles
1. Whimsey, bay mare owned by Mr Armstrong
2. White Nose, bay mare owned by Mr Lambert
3. Sejarus, grey horse owned by Mr O’Hara

Tuesday 20th October 1761

Athlone Real Hunters Stakes over 4 miles
1. Goliah, bay horse owned by Mr Armstrong
2. Grandy, grey horse owned by Mr Lowther

Wednesday 21st October 1761

Athlone 5 year old Purse over 3 miles
1. Modesty, bay mare owned by Mr St Leger
2. Trimmer, bay horse owned by Mr French
3. Revenge, bay horse owned by Mr J H Foster

Thursday 22nd October 1761

Athlone Purse for 6 year olds and upwards over 4 miles
1. Lottery, bay mare owned by Sir Edward O’Brien
2. Jenny Jessamy, bay mare owned by Mr Fitzgerald
3. Patch, brown mare owned by Mr Lambert

Friday 23rd October 1761

Athlone Irish Foaled horses over 3 miles
1. Brutus, brown horse owned by Cornet O’Brien
2. Bajazetta, bay mare owned by Mr W H Fortescue
3. Game Cock, bay horse owned by Mr Plunket
4. Celia, bay mare owned by Mr O’Connor
5. Conqueror, bay horse owned by Colonel Maguire

Saturday 24th October 1761

Athlone Consolation race over 4 miles
1. Jenny Jessamy, bay mare owned by Mr Fitzgerald
2. Trimmer, bay horse owned by Captain French

Monday 19th to Saturday 24th July 1762

Athlone Give and Take over 4 miles
1. Miss Sidney owned by Mr Newcombe
2. Charlotte owned by Mr Smith

Athlone Hunters Weight for Age Stakes
1. Granby owned by Mr Lowther
2. Gallyo owned by Mr Armstrong

Athlone 6 Year Old Plate
1. Modesty owned by Mr Donnellan
2. Goliab owned by Mr Armstrong
3. Snip Snap owned by Colonel Archdale

Athlone 5 Year Old Stakes over 3 miles
1. Sprightley owned by Mr Knox
2. Experiment owned by Mr Walpole
3. Miss Prim owned by Mr Blake

Athlone 4 Year Old Stakes over 2 miles
1. Ground Ivy owned by Mr Knox
2. Kitty owned by Mr Newcomen
3. Adrastus owned by Mr Dobbins

Monday 12th June 1899

The Moydrum Plate over 2 and a quarter miles
1. Blue Guts owned by Mr H S Kenny
2. Gay and Sweet owned by Mr D Kiernan
3. Miss Baker owned by Mr H Lindsay-Fitzpatrick

The Garrycastle Handicap Plate over a mile and a half
1. Bait owned by Mr W Meredith
2. Nahillah owned by Mr T N Wardrop
3. Star of the East owned by Mr T J Daly

The final meeting took place on Monday 15th May 1922.
Course today

An ‘ill-laid out course’ on the edge of the town.

If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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