Fairyhouse Racecourse History

The earliest record of a meeting at Fairyhouse was in 1848 when organised by the West Union Hunt group. Although that first meeting was a point to point meeting, within 3 years it became an enclosed course, so starting the process of turning it into the top National Hunt course in the country. Its principal race is the Irish Grand National which was first run in 1870 when won by Sir Robert Peel (the horse), owned by Mr Dunne. In 1964 the most famous steeplechaser of them all, Arkle, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and went on to land the Irish Grand National in the hands of Pat Taaffe when trained by the legendary Tom Dreaper. Two recent winners of the great race, Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde, have also won the Aintree Grand National.

Currently the course stages 19 fixtures annually.
Although Fairyhouse remains a thriving racecourse, nearby Baldoyle closed its gates for the final time in 1972.
Baldoyle racecourse was situated a short distance from Dublin in a small coastal area on its north east perimeter. It was a sharp, flat seaside track that witnessed many stars in its history, both on the Flat and over Jumps. Although it staged races prior to 1868 in conjunction with Howth, it held a meeting in its own right on Thursday 19th March 1868. However, it first opened for business as a closed park course in May 1874, and benefitted greatly from the significant railway network which enabled over 10,000 enthusiasts to get to the new track from all areas of Ireland. The second occasion Pat Taaffe rode the great Arkle was at Baldoyle in the 2 mile Balbriggan Handicap Hurdle. Despite the race being worth only £387 10s, the distance was on the short side for Arkle and the going too fast, so he finished unplaced and showed little evidence of what was to follow. Baldoyle was a popular meeting hosting Spring, Early and Late Summer meetings until it closed its gates for the final time on Saturday 26th August 1972.
I am grateful to Google Maps (© Googlemap) for permission to use the map shown below.
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ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

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352 pages

400 former courses

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180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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