Killarney (County Kerry)
Approx no. of meetings
Fly from Luton to Kerry (1 flight a day – 1 hr 15 minutes)
Railway – Killarney station is served by trains from Dublin
Regular Bus service from Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
Railway station to Racecourse (1 mile)
Taxis. (plentiful but traffic can snarl up)
One main stand, multiple bars and food outlets including the Jockey’s Whip, Panoramic restaurant. For betting there is a large Ladbrokes under main stand along with a stand-alone Tote office and several totes including mobile staff in an around the bars. Also a large on track bookie presence.
Lake Hotel in Killarney is a favourite to return to, but other hotels are available (But without the view of the lake and stags)
Single class, discount in advance, but also several dining packages available including barbecue and panoramic restaurant.
(2) Return before challenge complete
13th July Evening. 14th July Ladies Day– UK Tracks Visited (16) Irish Track Visited (3)
Killarney sets itself up as the most scenic track in the world, and I think it has a right to do so. Having been to Killarney previously on holiday, we already know that the Ring of Kerry is spectacular but the setting of the racecourse is even more so. From the ground you can see across the nine-hole golf course that is temporarily out of bounds, towards the mountains and Ross Castle (an original 15th century Tower House, now lovingly restored), which pokes it head majestically above the tree line. Up in the stands, the coffee and food bar, the barbeque deck or the panoramic restaurant, the view is even more spectacular.
The course is set up in our favourite configuration with the paddock in front of the restaurant. Although people wash up and down the main betting area, there is none of the tidal flow we often see at sources where the paddock is elsewhere. For the first time, we attended the track in two consecutive sessions and each meeting had merits to mention. I will talk about local transport later, but as for the Wednesday evening, we ate in the main restaurant (which is called the Panoramic, it’s not a description, although it happens to be true.) That evening the staff were fabulous and we appreciated Eileen and her team producing a good quality three course meal (choice of two options for first two courses), which is not easy when the guests arrive and eat at different times. Champagne is a little expensive, but the Louie Roederer was very good. When not feeding our faces, there was a very good view of the paddock and the race course itself from the sundeck (ironically with liquid sunshine for most of the week). We also had the pleasure of being joined in the restaurant by the Rose of Tralee contestants, which added even more glamour to the occasion.
Getting to and from the course is not difficult but certainly the more business meeting of the week, Ladies day on Thursday was beset by queues when it came time to leave. It was easier for us to walk to a local pub (Kaynes at the Dromhall Hotel – Home of Killarney Toastmasters) and wait for the crowds to die down. Basically don’t bother getting a cab unless you can get yourself out of Ross Road to start with (almost half a mile). The situation is compounded by the number of Jarveys on the road as it is part of the route to the tourist site of the aforementioned Ross Castle.
As Thursday was lady’s day, we dressed to impress and were joined in a nice surprise for my birthday by Little Lord Orion and his partner the Lady Lucie. Madam Hoof had kept the whole thing a surprise and had flown them out to Ireland under the radar (Not literally, metaphorically). The spectacle of this course on lady’s day is a quite amazing thing. No effort had been spared and there were some spectacular hats and dresses on the display. The most impressive part of this is that the winner for the best dressed lady (who looked amazing) was in a charity shop purchased dress that had been altered and a home made hat.
I will close in saying Killarney now holds a special place in our heart. After the racing and before returning to London, Madam Hoof arranged Pony trekking for the two youngsters and myself during which we got to view the local countryside and a good number of stags, or “Venison to go” as we have started to call them. We will return to the Lake Hotel and to this spectacular view in future and have fond memories to hold onto until then.