Listowel’s September Race Meeting is one of the most important in Ireland. It is the last major festival of the Summer and the last one before Christmas so the crowds make the most of the festivities.
Traditionally it was the meeting where the farmers of Ireland came to spend/gamble the money they made from the harvest but it has since grown into something much larger and more wide-ranging than that and everybody and anybody now attends with a warm Kerry welcome guaranteed to all.
The fun is not just limited to September – a two day festival is run during the summer in June including family day and the ladies day fashion awards. There is something for everyone at the Listowel Races.
How it started
The origins of the Listowel races can be traced back to an annual gathering at Ballyeigh, Ballybunion, about nine miles from Listowel. This event, which can be traced back to the early nineteenth century, consisted of a variety of games, horse-racing and a pre-arranged faction fight which concluded the event. Due in no small part to the disturbances surrounding these faction fights, the meeting at Ballyeigh was suspended and racing transferred to Listowel, where the first meeting took place in 1858.
The course is a flat, left-handed oval of just over one mile in length.