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Punchestown Festival

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PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL

There really is Nothing Like It!

For five days in late April Punchestown, in the "Horse County" of Kildare, is the only place to be in Ireland for the world renowned Punchestown Festival. Starting on Tuesday 30th April and concluding on Saturday 4th May this is the pinnacle of the Irish National Hunt season and our end of year Championships. Five fabulous days where International Trainers and Jockeys and Equine Superstars come to settle scores and confirm their reputations. World Class Racing, Gourmet Food, Stunning Fashion and top quality entertainment ensure that this iconic race meeting delivers the ultimate race fan experience at the best National Hunt racecourse in the world. Do Not Miss It !

Race & Stay Packages

Hotel Including Transport, Ticket or Hospitality Packages

Our exclusive Race & Stay™ Packages let you check in and chill out leaving you free to enjoy your luxury stay and world class racing in style and comfort. Our package prices start from as low as €149 pp but we have offers to suit all budgets, tastes and requirements including our new Gold and Platinum Tour Packages featuring the best accommodation, racecourse hospitality, exciting events and behind the scenes extras and side tours.
Start by selecting the Hotel of your choice from the options below, you will be able to explore all of our fabulous packages.

Visitor Guide & Information

All You Need To Know About Punchestown Festival

About Punchestown Festival

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.

Tuesday 30th April

First race at 3.40pm
Last Race 7.15pm

The opening day of the festival is one for the real racing fans with three brilliant grade 1 contests featuring the Boylesports Champion Chase. Festivities get underway throughout the enclosures with live music, great food and wonderful style.

Wednesday 1st May

First race at 3.40pm
Last Race 7.15pm

The jewel in the crown of the entire event and probably the Irish jump racing calendar. The Coral Punchestown Gold Cup takes centre stage on day two. Live music, fashion and the brilliant atmosphere spills out from bars and venues throughout the enclosures.

Thursday 2nd May

First race at 3.40pm
Last Race 7.45pm

Day three features the Ladbrokes Stayers Hurdle and the famous and historic La Touche cross country race which never fails to deliver a thrilling finish despite the challenges of the four mile test. The original racecourse sale is hosted by Goffs in the winners enclosure after racing.

Friday 3rd May

First race at 3.40pm
Last Race 7.45pm

The penultimate day of the Festival is considered by many to be the social highlight of the event. On the track current, past and potential champion hurdlers meet in the BETDAQ feature whilst the Bollinger Best Dressed Lady is unveiled on the main stage.

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.

What to Wear

There is no formal dress code except no offensive dress anywhere and no sportswear, shorts or t shirts please in the hospitality areas. Especially on big race days guests do dress for the occasion. Ladies tend to wear dresses with hats, Gentlemen wear suits or slacks with a collared shirt and jacket. Formal wear is not at all necessary. Smart casual works always on all race days but you are very welcome to dress how you feel most comfortable. The choice is yours how you dress for the day, and of course the weather.
For Ladies
Wear what is appropriate for the weather, what you feel most comfortable in and also what is suitable for the environment you are booked for. Hospitality guests usually dress up for the occasion, Ticket only guests tend to be less formal in their choice of outfit. A nice dress, Trouser suit or Top and Skirt will always work well in any location, Hats look great, whether they be fascinators or headwear. Block colours work as well as do simple plain colours or designs, again, dress in what makes you feel good and your confidence will shine through. Racing is a long day out and good shoes are important. Those nice looking trendy killer heels may end up being your worst enemy at the end of the day.
Gentlemen
Again wear what is most appropriate for the weather, you cant go wrong with a good suit or quality slacks, collared shirt and tailored jacket. No T shirts or sportswear, smart casual is fine and is generally the rule. If you have booked hospitality you’ll find most guests will dress up, but the wearing of jackets and ties is by no means compulsory. If you have booked tickets only then the attire tends to be much more casual and as always don’t forget that a good pair of comfortable shoes is a godsend.
Our advice is to have a glam day out and go for it !!!

Betting In Ireland

There are two betting options in Ireland, The Tote and Bookmakers.
The Tote
The Tote is pool betting similar to the USA and other EU counties. Tote staff will come around your tables and be available in various locations on course throughout the afternoon to take your bets and hopefully pay out as well !! Trifecta’s, Exacta’s and other exotic type bets are available on nearly every race. Please ask your tote staff if you have any questions about what bets are available on each race.
Bookmakers
Bookmakers offer bets according to the price shown on their board for each horse at the time of the bet. Odds are displayed as fractions e.g. 2/1 which means if you bet €1 you get €2 back plus your stake. When you place a bet with a bookmaker they will give you a ticket which shows your bet and the potential return should you win. Most bookmakers will also take bets on “away races” that is races at other Irish and UK racecourses. Bookmakers are located in the betting ring (as its called) which is a fast paced, lively and noisy place. Bookmakers often vary in the odds they offer on each horse so do shop around for the best value. They may also take bets with or without the race favourite and each way bets for a horse to be placed in the first 2 in races up to 8 runners, first 3 in races of 8 or over runners and the first 4 in races that are handicap’s with 16 or more runners. If in doubt please do ask the bookmaker before you place your bet. As soon as you have placed your bet please look at your ticket and make sure that it is correct as mistakes cannot be rectified during or after a race.

Currency Exchange & ATM’s

There are ATM machines at the racecourses but they are always busy on big Race Days. Restaurants and Bars do take Cash, Visa, MasterCard and Visa Debit cards for any transaction if required. We do not accept American Express or Diners Cards in any area. Our advice is to ensure that you have enough Euro’s before you arrive and to only use the ATM’s if you have to.

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