Laytown

Hoofing It

Circuit

Laytown

Race Types

Beach

Approx no. of meetings

1

Getting There

Rail from Dublin (40 minutes – Beautiful coastal views)

Railway station to Racecourse (A fifteen-minute walk, made a lot longer by passing many pubs)

Taxis – Not required in this case

Website

http://www.laytownstrandraces.ie/contact.htm

Facilities

Surprisingly for an event that occurs one day a year, there were a lot of facilities at the “track”.  Once inside the gates we had bars, food outlets, a very compact parade ring, two rows of tic-tac men and even the tote.

Staying over

The excellent trainline into Laytown from Dublin or Dundalk makes it really easy to stay only a few stops away, and we chose Malahide and the Grand Hotel.  I would strongly recommend this selection and we will use the hotel and the enjoy the many delights of the town in future.

Tickets

1 single admission price of 10 euros or pounds and 6 euros for concessions

Rating

(2) Return before challenge complete

The Day

6th September 2018– Tracks Visited:  UK (50), Ireland (4), France (1), Barbados (1)

I get very annoyed, as Madam Hoof will testify, at the incorrect use of the word unique.  Nothing is slightly unique, partially unique or very unique, it is either unique or not.  Laytown races, in its 150 year is unique.  It is also glorious, friendly, fun and a true spectacle.


We had wanted to attend the only race meeting in UK and Ireland held under the rules of racing on a beach ever since we first heard about it. As part of our challenge to visit all tracks in the UK and Ireland, we first noticed Laytown as it only had one meeting a year, but what a meeting. 


We began this leg of our odyssey by flying into Dublin the night before and caught a taxi over to Malahide.  At this point, the scenery was amazing and the weather fine and warm.  By the time we left the Nautilus restaurant that night, the rain was like stair rods.  It would of course all be fine because the weather forecast was good for the next day.  Come the next morning and the rain fell harder, could the rain Gods have let us down?  After 56 tracks across the world, we have only had rain at 4, on a beach it sounded disastrous.  But by 11.30, the sky had cleared and blue sky appeared on the horizon.


The train up to Laytown has the most beautiful views of the coastline, the water courses and mudflats.  The whole area is a Mecca for birdwatchers, as we saw Cranes, Curlews, Grebes and all manner of wading birds.  Upon arriving at Laytown, we followed the crowd towards the beach, but were distracted with the others at the first bar, Gina’s Lounge, to imbibe in a drop of the Black stuff.  After a couple we moved onto the beach itself.  Once into the race enclosure proper, we enjoyed seeing the build up to the first two races and inside the gated area, we decided to get pass-outs and move onto the beach itself. 


We walked the 7 furlongs to the start of the third race and here is where the real differences feel real.  The slap of the hooves on the sand is very different to the thunder of the turf of the dull thud of all-weather surfaces.  The air is filled with ozone and at some point in the each race we were treated to the view of horses running past yachts and fishing boats.


With a combination of bars in Bettystown and the slow walk back to watch the last race, this is an event I would recommend to anyone who loves horses and racing.


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