The nation of Ireland boasts an impressively large selection of horse racing and greyhound tracks, but just the one venue which plays host to both disciplines on the same site. Lying close to the Northern Irish border on the east coast of Ireland, Dundalk Stadium sits just to the north of the town from which it takes its name.
A relatively new development – having only opened for business in 2003 – the track has quickly become a big player on the Irish greyhound scene, staging prestigious contests including the Dundalk Invitational and the Irish Sprint Cup. Described as a must-visit venue for Dundalk visitors, racegoers can expect not only excellent entertainment on the track but top-class facilities off it courtesy of the stadium restaurant and selection of bars.
What’s On Offer at Dundalk?
One of the most popular destinations for a night out in the Dundalk area, the track’s programme of Friday and Saturday evening fixtures regularly sees the stands packed to the rafters. Usually offering a 10-race card, featuring a healthy smattering of graded action, the first race gets underway at around 7:50 pm, with the last commencing shortly after 10pm. Taking place in July each year, the Dundalk International is the seasonal highlight – regularly attracting a field of the top British and Irish dogs.
- Circuit Length – 550y
- Sprint Distances – 350y, 400y
- Middle Distance – 525y (standard), 550y, 575y
- Stayers Distance – 600y, 620y, 670y
- Marathon Distance – 900y
Horse Racing at Dundalk Stadium
In addition to the greyhound track, Dundalk is home to Irelands’ only all-weather horse racing facility. In addition to the surface, Dundalk is also unique amongst Irish racecourses in being the nation’s only floodlit course. Taking full advantage of its ability to stage meetings all through the year, the track is one of the busiest in the country, with the regular programme of Friday evening fixtures proving particularly popular with punters.
What Can You Expect?
General admission at Dundalk is priced at €10 for adults, €5 for senior citizens and students, and €2 for children under the age of 14. General admission includes access to all indoor and outdoor areas, including bars and restaurants.
Gallops Bar & Sprinters Bar
The two main bars at the track are: Gallops Bar, located on the top floor of the stand and boasting excellent views of the track, and the more relaxed Sprinters Bar on the ground floor. Those looking for a slightly more upmarket night should head to the first-floor Champions Restaurant which provides panoramic views of the circuit, table service, and a delicious seasonal menu.
The Gallops Bar Package is available to all parties of two or more and provides general admission entry, racecard, and reserved seating in the bar area – all for €12 per person. Groups of five or meanwhile may wish to take advantage of the “Party Food” Package, which for €21 per head, includes everything contained within the Gallops Bar deal in addition to a selection of finger food.
“Dual Racing” Fixtures
Keep an eye for the special “dual racing” fixtures scattered throughout the season which provide back-to-back horse racing and greyhound action. General admission tickets for these events are priced at a very reasonable €15 for adults and €10 for senior citizens and students.
Catering options at the “dual racing” events include a four-course meal package in The View restaurant, priced at €57 for adults and €16 for the kid’s menu. This offer includes table service for tote betting and drinks, but note that customers will need to relocate to the greyhound bar area following the conclusion of the last horse race.
Relaxed Dress Code
The majority of British and Irish racetracks adopt a fairly relaxed dress code, and things are no different at Dundalk, with the only stipulations being against baseball caps and sportswear in the hospitality areas.
How to Get There
The stadium address is Dundalk Stadium, Racecourse Road, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. The track sits just off Exit 18 of the main M1 motorway, around 45 minutes from Dublin and 60 minutes from Belfast. Upon arrival at the track, racegoers will find ample free parking available just outside the main entrance.
The closest train station to the stadium lies within Dundalk Town centre. Welcoming frequent services from both Dublin and Belfast, Dundalk Clarke Station is around a 10-minute drive, or taxi ride, from the track.
How to Get in Touch
- Tel: – +353 (0) 42 4438 ext. 1
- Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: – @DundalkStadium
What Else Do I Need to Know?
The area of Dundalk has been a hotspot for racing action for over 100 years now. Horse racing came first in 1889, followed by the area’s first greyhound track in 1930. Going by the name of Dundalk Ramparts Stadium, the original track continued to prove a popular destination for locals until the 1990s, when it became clear that a major facelift was in order. A time at which the nearby National Hunt turf racecourse had also fallen on hard times.
In an effort to revitalise racing in the area, the Dundelagan Greyhound Racing Company and Dundalk Race Company PLC combined to form Dundalk Racing in 1999, swiftly putting plans together for a new facility able to stage both greyhound and horse racing meetings.
2003 then saw the grand opening of the new greyhound track, built at a cost of €11 million, and representing a huge upgrade on the previous Dundalk Ramparts stadium, complete with excellent bars and a swanky restaurant. Built over the existing turf cause, Dundalk’s all-weather horse racing track then opened to much fanfare in 2007. Costing a further €24 million, the track boasts broadly similar facilities to the greyhound offering, albeit on a larger scale.
Returning to the greyhound side of things, the track immediately regained recognition from the Irish Greyhound Board upon its reopening and quickly reintroduced the Dundalk Invitational as its signature event. Previously held continuously between 1968 and 1999, the €20,000 on offer to the winner makes the race the most valuable in the whole of Irish greyhound racing. Dundalk then received a further boost in 2004 when selected as the new home for the prestigious Irish Sprint Cup – previously held at Ballyskeagh since 1943.
A vast operation spread over fully 159 acres of land, Dundalk Stadium continues to thrive and has been credited with providing a much-needed boost to both forms of racing on the Emerald Isle. Dundalk is well worth a visit!