The very first race in Kilbeggan took place on the 9th of March 1840. The Kilbeggan Races as we know it has grown from that day in 1840 to the iconic events that take place today. Loved by the locals and admired internationally, Kilbeggan is synonymous with its famous annual races which draw interest from horse racing lovers all around the world but, how did it all start?
Let’s begin with how a reporter described the Kilbeggan Races in 1840 – “On every side was to be seen happy hearts, smiling countenances, and sparkling eyes” and you might agree that is still true as the wider community prepare for the buzz and atmosphere of the annual race meetings every year.
The Kilbeggan races was initiated by a group of gentlemen who facilitated a Challenge Cup Race worth 40 guineas at the time (Roughly translated as €1.22 today) During the next 150 years, the races gradually morphed into what they are with the help, good nature and support of locals, landowners and local businesses over the decades.
Here is a timeline of events from 1840 to the present day:
1840 – 1855 – Regular racing was held across a number of locations in the local area
1879 – 1885 – First official meeting and subsequent meetings held in Ballard
1901 – Meetings held at present site in Loughnagore, Kilbeggan
1950’s/1960’s – Financial assistance withdrawn
1971 – All National Hunt Racing switch
1973 – First sponsored racing
1990 – Opening of new complex and purchase of racecourse lands
1992 – Race meetings increased from 3 to 6 per year
We hope you have enjoyed this brief account of the Kilbeggan Races long and successful history in the town of Kilbeggan. We are lucky to be situated a little more than a stone’s throw from the racing site in Loughnagore and right at the heart of kilbeggan town and community.