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Earliest meeting: Friday 7th August 1840
Final meeting: Monday 2nd September 1867
The county Kerry coastal town of Ballybunion, located about 10 miles from Listowel, is now a popular seaside resort. However, in the middle of the 19th century it held its own series of race meetings on the Strands. Although minor meetings were staged prior to 1840, one of the earliest reported in the newspapers took place on Friday 7th August 1840 on a course flagged out on the strand under the guidance of Brudenell Plummer. There was such a vast crowd that the stewards had difficulty clearing the course of racegoers on foot and on horseback. In the opening heat of the main event Mr Rice’s Kilkee won by a neck from the fast finishing Polly owned by Richard Plummer, with Tom Steel some way behind. In the second heat Mr Stack, riding Tom Steel, changed his saddle to a lighter one and defeated Kilkee into second place. Thus a deciding heat was required which saw Tom Steel overcome Kilkee by a fast diminishing head to claim the Plate. On Friday 9th September 1842 the meeting was a disappointing affair in which Mr Barry’s Castle Ross won the 40 Sovereigns sweepstake, while Mr Sandes’s horse won the 20 Sovereigns Hunters Plate, restricted to Kerry horses, by just walking over. Meetings continued intermittently, although a hurdle race over 12 leaps was the feature of a card consisting of several other races on Monday 2nd September 1867.

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

Brudenell Plummer (Steward), Mr Richard Plummer, Mr Stack

Principal Races Ballybunion Plate, Ballybunion Hurdle 

Friday 7th August 1840
Ballybunion Plate
1. Tom Steel, aged horse owned by Mr Stack 0 1 1
2. Kilkee, aged horse owned by Mr Rice 1 2 2
3. Polly, aged mare owned by Richard Plummer 2 3 3

The final meeting took place on Monday 2nd September 1867.
Course today On the strands.
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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  Quantity Cost
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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