One of the oldest Irish Racecourse’s, Punchestown was founded in 1793. Punchestown is Ireland’s premier National Hunt racecourse, and is known to be the home and the original birthplace of the Irish National Hunt Racing. The Hunt Racing quickly gained popularity and developed into a two day affair by 1854, and then by 1865, there were more than 40,000 people attending the race. 1868 was a big year for the race when the Prince of Wales, and later King Edward VII, made their way to the race, bringing in more than 150,000 attendees and race goers. This was the largest recorded crowd at any racecourse worldwide. The popularity of the track has not waivered and the track is still known as one of Ireland’s best.
Punchestown’s popularity was the inspiration for the track to introduce bush fences, new hurdles and even flat racing. Punchestown aims to continue developing and adapt to the needs and desires of the ever changing equestrian world, but has remained true to its roots and traditions. This includes hunter chases, as the track hosts the La Touche Cup marathon race each year. Late April is when this impressive facility really comes to life; there is a six month peak period for the track that is kicked off with the annual Irish national Hunt Festival.
The track had to be developed further to accommodate the race goers and trainers who were using the facility. The track has continued to see growing numbers of attendees and an increasing number of British fans. For this reason, the track has recently developed and expanded its facilities even further. The multi-million pound revamp included new hurdles and track materials, fresh landscaping, as well as new restaurants, bars, suites and stands. The racecourse’s facelift turned into not only the oldest and most historically significant racecourse’s in the country and worldwide, but also one of the most luxurious facilities to be found anywhere in the world.