The hounds race year-round every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Galway Greyhound Stadium, College Road, off Eyre Square (091/562273). Doors open 7pm and general admission is €10 per person. Race restaurant packages are also available.
“As I went down to Galway Town / To seek for recreation…” So goes the famous folk song “Galway Races,” and the Galway Races are still a big deal in the Irish horse-racing calendar—and almost as big a social event as a sporting one.
People dress up in posh frocks and big hats, and the crowds cheer enthusiastically as competing racehorses pound the turf. Horse lovers and high rollers pour in from around the country for the race weeks in July, September, and October. The animals are the best around, and the atmosphere is electric.
Since 1869, the action has taken place at the Galway Racecourse (www.galwayraces.com; 091/753-870), just outside of Galway City in Ballybrit, less than 3km (2 miles) northeast of town. Ticket prices vary depending on the event and day of the week, but expect to pay from around €20 to upwards of €40 for a ticket. Multi-day and season tickets are also available.
Why Galway? -- Galway horses are famous for their speed, small size, and beauty, so it's no surprise that the races here are the best in Ireland and among the best in Europe. There are records of organized horse racing in Galway as far back as the 13th century, and in 1764 there was a well-known 5-day race at Knockbarron near Loughrea. It wasn't for another century, however, that the Galway Racecourse opened officially.