With a deserved reputation as hosts of some of the best festivals in the country (or indeed anywhere), it comes as no surprise that County Kerry’s Listowel racing festival is a social and sporting highlight of the Irish racing calendar. So much more than horse racing, it is a week long affair of pure unadulterated enjoyment. A gathering of people with a common aim, to have fun.
The first race meeting in these parts took place in 1858 in Ballybunion, about nine miles from Listowel. Not limited to horse racing, the event also featured a variety of games and the days often ended with a pre-organised faction fight (Irish stick fighting), thankfully not so popular these days. Unsurprisingly, these fights often led to trouble and eventually led to the demise of the Ballybunion course and the birth of the Listowel course in 1858. These days racing is a much more civilised affair. Only matched in length by the Galway festival, seven days of turf, thrills and the passion of great racing and are yours for the taking.