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Earliest meeting: Monday 26th November 1888
Final meeting: November 1904
The County Kilkenny townland of Ballynolan, next to the village of Leighlinbridge, held flat and steeplechase meetings at the end of the 19th and very start of the 20th century. The first meeting took place on Monday 26th November 1888 on a course, complete with wooden grandstand, on the outskirts of the townland in fields owned by Mr Michael Foley, where visitors paid an entrance fee of 1s 6d. The meeting came into being due to the hard work and drive of Michael Foley and John Cummins, who were rewarded with a good crowd on the opening day. The first race was the Leighlip Plate, and further feature races were the Ballynolan Stewards Plate and Ballyknockan Plate. Crowd sizes swelled when the Great Southern Railway Company ran excursions from Bagenalstown, even providing free transport for horses engaged at the meeting. Racing was run successfully for 16 years before the final card was staged in November 1904.

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

Mr Michael Foley, Mr John Cummins, Dr Phillips (Stewards)

Principal Races Ballyknockan Plate, Leighlip Plate, Ballynolan Stewards Plate
The final meeting took place in November 1904.
Course today On the outskirts of the townland on fields owned by Mr Michael Foley.
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.
Download an order form
  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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