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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 17th August 1762
Final meeting: Friday 3rd August 1883
Monaghan, on the road between Derry and Letterkenny, is the county town of Monaghan. In 1810 the town, which was part of the Rossmore Estate, became the property of the keen racing family of Westenra’s. However, by then it had staged its own race meetings, with one of the earliest recorded being a three day card from Tuesday 17th to Thursday 19th August 1762. The meeting opened with the 4 year old Stakes which was won by Mr Brown’s Kitty Brown, seeing off the challenge of Lord Mount Eagle’s Dove and Miss Breasy. Later in the meeting the Weight for Age Handicap went to Mr Knox’s Diana, while the festival concluded with Strongbow providing Lord Mount Eagle with some compensation in the 4 mile event. Racing continued on a regular basis and by 1812, in a bid to ease the fixture congestion that was causing all Irish courses a problem, the Irish Turf Club assigned days or weeks to particular courses. Monaghan was assigned the second week in August, which was a promising assignment given the potential to attract summer crowds. Monaghan reached the height of its importance in 1814 when it introduced a 100 Guineas Cup race which was dominated by Viscount Cremorne. In 1839 the meetings were being run on a course at Smithborough, four miles from town, while on Thursday 31st October 1844 the meeting took place over sporting ground just half a mile from the town, with the Monaghan Cup won by Mr Young’s Sultan. However, by then the first symptoms of national suffering had appeared, followed by successive years of famine. Meetings were revived in 1851 and continued until the final meeting of note took place on Friday 3rd August 1883. Even before this date some of the cards involved pony racing, and although a form of racing continued afterwards, the meetings were of minor significance.

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

Viscount Cremorne, Lord Mount Eagle, Colonel Westenra

Principal Races Monaghan 100 Guineas Cup, Monaghan Handicap

Tuesday 17th to Thursday 19th August 1762

Monaghan 4 Year Old Stakes
1. Kitty Brown owned by Mr Brown
2. Dove owned by Lord Mount Eagle
3. Miss Breasy owned by Mr Lill

Monaghan Weight for Age Handicap
1. Diana owned by Mr Knox
2. Bajazetta owned by Mr Fotescue
3. Flirt owned by Mr Dougherty

Monaghan 4 Mile Stakes
1. Strongbow owned by Lord Mount Eagle
2. Vixen owned by Mr Burrows
3. Unnamed horse owned by Mr Saunderson

The Silver trophy shown opposite stood at 15 inches high and was donated by Charles Coote esq, a prominent and frequented donor to race meetings held in Ulster at the time, for a race at Monaghan in 1813. The race was advertised as the ‘Monaghan Silver Cup, value £50, added to a Sweepstake of 10 sovereigns’ and was framed to be open to horses which were the property of freeholders in the County Cavan at least 4 months prior to the day of the race. There is no record of the result of the race, and it is possible that it was never staged.

The final meeting took place on Friday 3rd August 1883
Course today At a range of courses, including over sporting country half a mile from town, and at Smithborough.
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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