Gowran Park, Ireland

Gowran Park racecourse is situated in Co. Kilkenny. Set in a beautiful rural setting, it stages a couple of fairly high-profile and valuable national hunt races – notably the Thyestes Chase and the Red Mills Chase.

Getting there

Gowran Park is a 90 minute drive from Dublin airport. Situated off the M9. The nearest train stations are Kilkenny and Thomastown, where you can get a taxi for onward travel to the course.

If staying in Kilkenny, there is a complimentary bus service from the gates of Kilkenny Castle.

Accommodation & Food and drink

Loads of options in Kilkenny, from the 5* Lyrath Estate: https://www.lyrath.com/ to very lively popular options such as the River Court Hotel: https://www.rivercourthotel.com/ where we stayed. A large hotel by the river, in the centre of Kilkenny, adjacent to the shops and bars.

Kilkenny has an abundance of good bars and boutiques too.

It’s well-served on the eating front, including the Michelin starred Campagne where we dined: https://www.campagne.ie/

Racecourse

A really well-kept course, which makes an instant positive first impression. There are ample bars and hospitality options overlooking the course. For non-hospitality punters, everything from soup and sandwiches, to hot roast beef rolls and carvery lunches. Please see here for more information: https://www.gowranpark.ie/

The parade ring is at the farthest end from the entrance. It’s not overly big, so for the big races, get your position early.

There is very limited seating within the stand on the big days, so be prepared to stand. Also, on days like the Red Mills Chase day, there inevitably will be queues for everything. These days attract practically everyone in Carlow and Kilkenny and beyond! Serious crowds.

On the bigger days, Red Mills who are key sponsors of the racing, have a pop-up shop on course, selling brands such as Fairfax & Favor, Welligogs, Dubarry and other similar country attire.

General vibe

Country Fair type atmosphere, all types of punters, generally from the local area and adjoining counties. There is a best-dressed competition on Red Mills and Thyestes days.

Summary

A great day out in gorgeous countryside. Has a character all of its own.

HQ – Newmarket, Suffolk, UK

This is a practical guide to horse racing tracks visited, reviewed from a practical and social viewpoint. It is not intended to be a technical guide to the characteristics of a given track. If you wish to learn about the nitty-gritty of individual track trends etc. you will find other sites more relevant to that objective.

It aims to advise on the optimum logistics of travelling to a new racecourse, where to eat, stay and other guidance on what to expect.

This blog will be a moving feast, with updates as new tracks visited and revisted.

If you wish to share any of your experiences and feedback, please leave a comment or email: amanda@short-call.com