Kilbeggan, Ireland

Kilbeggan is a pure National Hunt course, situated in Co. Westmeath in the Midlands of Ireland. It has been racing since about 1840.

Getting there

The nearest large town is Mullingar. Kilbeggan is about 90km from Dublin along the M4 and takes about an hour of driving. Kilbeggan the town has a few bars, shops etc. The racecourse is slightly outside of the town in a very rural area.

Accommodation

If you wish to stay in the local vicinity, Mullingar is probably the best bet – about 25km away. There are several hotels there – Bloomfield House Hotel: https://www.bloomfieldhousehotel.ie/ & the Mullingar Park Hotel: https://www.mullingarparkhotel.com/

Racecourse

The season at Kilbeggan runs from May to September. See here for details of fixtures: https://kilbegganraces.com/

The racecourse has a certain charm, it is certainly not of this century! However, it is very well-managed and well-maintained. No detail overlooked. It still retains a lot of the relics of the Victorian, or some other bygone era at least, including the entrance turnstiles.

The management team tend to generate a party atmosphere, there is a live DJ, constantly playing, breaking only for the racing, which personally I found a little distracting mid-afternoon on a Sunday, but you can distance yourself from it!

The food on offer is very traditional and of the ‘sausage and chips’ and burger type variety. In addition there are mobile units selling other food and coffee too. If you’re looking for contemporary offerings, then you’ll be disappointed, but if you were seeking that – you would probably be missing the point and charm of Kilbeggan racecourse!

For all it’s perceived simplicity, the marketing campaign around Kilbeggan’s fixtures is obviously very slick, it attracts a good crowd – both local and blow-ins. It has all the coveted style competitions too.

Summary

An exceptionally well-managed course, surrounded by natural beauty, as well as staging quality jumps racing. A must visit, if just to pause 21st century life and take a little trip back to yesteryear.