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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 7th October 1868
Final meeting: Tuesday 20th August 1912
The county Clare coastal town of Kilrush, located near the mouth of the River Shannon, boasts a history dating back to the 16th century. The inaugural two day meeting in the town was held on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th October 1868 witnessed by an immense crowd who enjoyed watching the opening Selling race go to Mr Creagh’s Esca. The Kilmurry Hunt Steeplechase was won by Mr Linane’s Lillie Lonsdale, while the Kilrush Tradesman’s Plate went to Mr Greene’s Nancy Till. The next year the crowd was boosted by the generousity of the Lower Shannon Steam Packet Company who offered single fares for return journeys. Racing lapsed for a while, returning for a two day meeting on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th September 1883. By 1885 there was tension in the town, with boycotts against landlords who had cruelly evicted their tenants which, in rare cases, led to the death of the unfortunate evictees. One such landlord was Mr Charles Martin who owned a racehorse called Harkaway which was engaged to run at the meeting on Friday 18th September 1885. He received a hostile reception by a mob waving placards couched in violent terms when he arrived at the course. In the event Harkaway ran untroubled, but ironically at the same meeting the unfortunately named Captain Boycott rode his horse and at the first fence was unseated after being pelted with sticks and stones by the mob. Once again racing lapsed only to return early in the 20th century. The course was inspected by newly appointed Irish Turf Club inspectors in March 1905 and the licence was withdrawn due to the poor condition of the course. However, the necessary improvements were made and the course did reopen for a short period, finally closing on Tuesday 20th August 1912.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Hector S Vandeleur, Major MacDonnell, Captain Francis Gore (Stewards)
Principal Races

Kilmurry Hunt Steeplechase, Kilrush Tradesman’s Plate

Wednesday 7th October 1868
Kilrush Tradesman’s Plate
1. Nancy Till, bay mare owned by Mr Greene
2. Deceitful Jack, aged horse owned by Mr O’Brien
3. Fanny, aged mare owned by Mr Bulger

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 20th August 1912
Course today On the Leadmore steeplechase course in the vicinity 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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