Punchestown Festival is our end of National Hunt season championships attracting the very best jump horses from the UK and Island of Ireland. Over 20,000 racegoers will flock to the racecourse each day to witness the best trainers, jockeys and equine stars competing for record prize money over 5 fabulous days. Set in rolling countryside 4km outside of Naas town, less than 50 minutes from Dublin, Punchestown Racecourse is a wide oval track of approximately 2 miles in diameter and is used only for National Hunt Racing.
The Festival is a lively, fun event with music, fashion and craic complementing the excellent racing on offer each day. Knowlegeable race-goers mingle with guests who come for a variety of reasons, maybe its the valuable fashion prizes that attract some but mainly its the fabulous atmosphere that Punchestown generates that keeps the attendances rising year on year.
What are the best days
Without doubt Tuesday - Friday are the best days to attend, all 4 if you can do it! They are the "premium days" the days where the best races take place on. If you can only go one day, make it Wednesday, Punchestown Gold Cup day, the feature race on a fabulous card that attracts the best horses and there is nothing like seeing chasers at full stretch up close as they approach the final 2 fences in the finishing straight. Depending on your personal preference each day holds great contests to witness and once the final declarations are known each of you will have a "must see" contest in mind.
My personal favorite day is Friday, apart from the Champion Hurdle there are other good races to bet on and enjoy and this is the most "social day" of the week to attend. You will all have your favorite day, whichever day or days you like the look of please do go, its a festival that delivers each year and should not be missed.
Punchestown Family Day is on Saturday 4th May First Race at 2.30pm - Last Race at 6.45pm
What Tickets do I need
There are two main ticket types, General Admission from €30pp - This ticket allows access to the general enclosure, parade ring, grandstand, public food outlets, The Street shopping area and plenty of bars.
and Reserved Enclosure from €40pp - Includes the general admission ticket facilities and access to the Reserved enclosure. The social hub of the festival and the home of the new Hunt Stand, famous Sky Bar, the Bollinger Lounge as well as numerous food outlets. Festival goers can get very close to the racing action on the viewing lawns and then dance the evening away with Dj’s and Live music. ALL Race & Stay Guests will be provided with RESERVED ENCLOSURE TICKETS.
Should I book Hospitality
If you want a comfortable more VIP experience, definately YES. Racing is a long day out and comfort is a premium that you should afford. Prices for hospitality packages vary during the festival and there are 5 main options to chose from. Prices start at about €200 per guest including reserved admission and rise to over €400 for a more VIP experience in the best location on the biggest days.
Eating and Drinking
Well, this is Ireland the home of Guinness and you won't get a better pint of the black stuff anywhere else. Buying Premium enclosure tickets gives you access to many more bars, eateries and stalls selling good quality take away food. Yes you will have to queue for drinks and food but the service is fast and efficient and what seems like a big queue usually dissapears quite quickly. For the more discerning client The Champagne Bar (Bollinger Lounge) is the place to be and be seen in.
Get There Early
We cannot say this often enough, yes racing starts at 3.40 each day (except Saturday) but by 2pm the roads around Punchestown are very busy. GET THERE EARLY. Our Race & Stay guests wil arrive from their various hotels by 1pm latest each day and so should you. This gives you the best opportunity to find a good parking spot, walk through the turnstiles in good time for the day's events and also spend less of your day stuck in traffic. Plan to leave at least 1 hour after the last race which gives time to let the traffic ease off slightly. Guests who have hospitality booked should plan to be at Punchestown no later than 12.30pm.