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8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
JUNE 23-30, 2019
6 Nights in County Kildare, near The Curragh
4 Days/Eves of racing at The Curragh and Naas
Farm and training visits in Kildare and Tipperary
Special sightseeing in Kildare and Wicklow
|Depart the U.S., if not joining the trip from Ireland or elsewhere.
|Arrive in Dublin. We'll meet you at the airport and deliver you to the Killashee Hotel, our lodging in County Kildare, about 25 miles west of the city and not far from The Curragh, headquarters of horse racing and training in Ireland. We can also provide transport to the Killashee from locations in Central Dublin for those that have come over early. These transfers will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour. The remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own interests, however we always suggest remaining active if it's your first day over and we do have an excursion scheduled for later in the day.
THE KILLASHEE HOTEL: We return once more to Killashee, our regular home in Ireland since 2007. Situated amid 80 acres of gardens outside the town of Naas in County Kildare, the main building dates back to 1861. It has grand public rooms, a lively lobby bar, choices for fine and casual dining, and a spa/fitness center with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Visit www.killasheehotel.com for more information on the property. A full Irish breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
At about 2PM we'll organize transport over to the Irish National Stud, for those who would like to keep busy this afternoon. On the way we'll get our first look at The Curragh. The tour of the National Stud is geared more toward the general traveler than the horseman, but is nonetheless interesting and makes a good first experience of Ireland. The guides respond well to knowledgeable questioning, and there is a nice gift shop as well as a small museum and, nearby, a Japanese Garden.
At 6PM we'll meet up again for cocktails in the hotel bar to get better acquainted and organized for the rest of the week. We've set up nothing for the evening, and it might not be a bad idea to take it easy, have a simple dinner at the hotel, and turn in early. We have a lot planned for the next five days.
|This morning we'll begin with a visit to The Curragh and the yard of one of Ireland's most famous trainers. We’ll have a look at his charges and then go out on to The Curragh itself to see some work, hear some tales, and soak in the highly righteous Curragh vibe. If you’re a racehorse in training, there’s no better place to be.
The Curragh is Ireland’s principal training center, fulfilling the same role as Newmarket in England and Chantilly in France. Like the other two it has no counterpart in America. About 80 trainers and over 1,500 horses are headquartered here, and they do their work over 6,000 acres of lovingly cared-for turf.
Following The Curragh, we'll motor into nearby Kildare town where we'll have a pub lunch and time for a bit of a walkaround.
The breeding of Thoroughbreds is one of Ireland's major economic generators and one of its most famous international brands. The five major racing countries (Britain, France, Ireland, Italy, and Germany), together account for more than 90% of Europe's breeding activity. And Ireland, with less than 2% of the big five's population and less than 5% of the land area, is home to over 40% of the Thoroughbred mares and produces more than 40% of the registered foals.
In the afternoon we'll visit a nearby private farm, one of the most prestigious in the world, and hopefully also a smaller, more modest operation if time permits.
|Today, taking the long way to our evening racing, we’ll see some of Ireland’s splendid scenery via a crossing of the Wicklow Mountains.
Our route will take us through the Sally Gap to Glendalough, where you'll have time for lunch, a visit to one of Ireland’s most important religious sites, and a stroll along the area's beautiful lakes. The Christian monastery at Glendalough (the name means “Valley of the Two Lakes”) was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century and flourished for six centuries afterward before being pillaged by invading Normans in 1214. The existing remains - including the famous Gateway, a cathedral and several smaller churches, and distinctive tall round tower - provide an atmospheric hint of ancient Ireland.
After Glendalough we’ll move on to the Powerscourt Estate and its 47 acres of landscaped gardens. The flora here, on the grounds below the grand 18th Century Palladian-inspired “villa”, have been voted the third best on the planet by National Geographic. Only Versailles and Kew were considered superior. Special features include Italian, Japanese, and Walled gardens, the Dolphin Pond, and the Pet Cemetery. You’ll have plenty of time to explore.
Then we’ll head back west to Naas Racecourse for a casual evening of racing which will include dinner. There's a Listed race on the card (the Oaks Trial), and it's not unusual for runners from the big stables to show up here for the maiden races. The course is very pretty, and since it doesn't get dark until about 10PM at this time of year, the extended dusk on a clear evening provides a lovely light for the sport.
|You can have a late sleep this morning, and at around 11AM we’ll move out. Our destination: County Tipperary, about two hours west. We’ll have a pub lunch en route and then make our way to Coolmore Stud. Coolmore’s incomparable stallion roster includes Australia, Camelot, Footstepsinthesand, Rock of Gibraltar, the leading newcomer No Nay Never, and the current and long-standing heavyweight champion of the world, Galileo. We’ll have time for a good look around and see all the top guns.
After Coolmore we’ll head back east and take in the Thursday evening races at The Curragh. This is the easy-going start-up to the three-day Derby meeting. No major races are on tap but it’s a festive atmosphere featuring local restaurants and open-air casual dining. It’s another one of those long-dusk evenings that make Irish Summer racing so enjoyable. We won’t make any formal arrangements at the course, although you can certainly book yourself into one of the fancier restaurants if you’d care to. Better in our opinion to just wander, and get a sense of the layout without the press of the larger crowds that will be on hand during the weekend.
|Our first big day of racing at The Curragh, far and away Ireland's most important racecourse. Two-thirds of the country's Group races are contested here, including ten of the twelve Group 1s and all five Classics. The word "curragh" means "course" in Gaelic, and horses have been running and training here since the 1100s. The first recorded races date back more than 300 years.
The view is open and expansive from the stands, and the track itself is horseshoe-shaped and right-turning, with a long chute that can accommodate races of a mile on the straight with only a slight bending "elbow". There are some, but not major, elevation changes. It's considered a very fair, "galloping" course, and has always had the reputation of putting a high premium on stamina.
The stands have just gone through a complete renovation lasting two years. And although some of us may mourn the final passing of the old plant, we expect the new facilities to be every bit as enjoyable. The best news is that no changes have been made to the course itself and the quality of the racing remains among the best in the world.
Today's program features the Group 1 Pretty Polly, an all-age event for fillies and mares at ten furlongs, and the Group 2 Curragh Cup for older horses over a mile-and-three-quarters. The undercard includes a couple of Group 3s: the International for older horses and the Ballanchine for 2-year-old fillies.
The Pretty Polly, named for the great female runner of the early 20th Century, is one of the more important tests for the older distaff set in Europe, and can give us a candidate or two for the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf. There are usually a couple of good maiden races and handicaps on tap as well.
As we go to press, The Curragh is still developing its hospitality and seating options for 2019, but we’re expecting to have lunch and our tables for the day and access to good race viewing.
No particular plans have been made for tonight. You might want to pop into nearby Naas where a good sampling of restaurants awaits. We’ll make a no-host group booking if the demand is there.
Sat June 29
Irish Derby Day, a rollicking good time and the highlight of the entire Irish racing season – the crowd comes to have fun and never disappoints itself.
The race was first run in 1866, but it was in 1962, when the purse was dramatically increased, that it took its place among the very top prizes of the European year. The timing on the calendar makes it a logical next stop for horses coming out of the English and French Derbys, and over recent years it's generally been contested by the winners of at least one of these Derbys, and often been won by the winners of one or the other of them. The memorable 2003 running saw the clash of two colts owned by the same man -- the Aga Khan's English Derby 3rd Alamshar prevailing over French Derby winner Dalakhani by a long neck after a stretch-long duel, the only race the latter ever lost. We can always hope for something like that this season.
The traditional companion feature is the Group 2 Railway Stakes for 2-year-olds, an event with an even longer history than the Derby, dating back to 1851. It's the biggest juvenile race of the year to this point, and famous winners from the past include Nijinsky, El Prado, and Rock of Gibraltar, and more recently George Washington, Holy Roman Emperor, and Mastercraftsman. The excellent undercard will also include two Listed races, and a couple of valuable handicaps.
We'll have our same lunch tables and race viewing as yesterday.
Tonight, our last evening together, we've made dinner plans at the elegant Kildare Club. This has become something of a tradition on our Irish trips, and we’ve had very pleasurable experiences here on our last three visits. This dinner is on a voluntary “no-host” basis, and participants should budget about $125 per person for it, including wine and tips. We’re confident you’ll greatly enjoy it if you join in, but it’s optional and those who care to pass will be taken back to the hotel after we’re dropped off for dinner.
Sun June 30
Sad to say, the organized itinerary ends this morning following breakfast and checkout from the hotel. We'll provide transportation to Dublin Airport and your flight home, and can also get you into Dublin city should you wish to extend there.
This trip will close on April 24, 2019. Payment in full and all necessary completed paperwork must be received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to join the trip.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
This itinerary is designed to be full and busy. For those preferring a more leisurely experience, we invite you to consider coming earlier, staying later, or combining our arrangements with other European travel.
We can provide transportation for you to the Killashee Hotel and back on whichever days you choose to arrive and leave. Additional nights at the hotel can be booked, either before or after our scheduled stay. The Killashee has promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. You should let us know as soon as possible if you wish to do this. It’s a very busy time of the year.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
The itinerary does not include:
- Six(6) nights lodging at the Killashee Hotel, in County Kildare.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Four(4) escorted days/evenings of racing at The Curragh and Naas, including transportation to and from the racecourse, course admission, and race card. Dinner at Naas (June 26). Lunch at The Curragh (June 28 and 29).
- Visit to the Irish National Stud, including transportation and admission.
- Morning training excursion to The Curragh.
- Farm visit in County Kildare.
- Excursion to County Tipperary with visit to Coolmore Stud.
- Sightseeing excursion through County Wicklow including Glendalough and Powerscourt Estate.
- Lunch on four(4) days: in Kildare (June 26), in County Tipperary (June 27), and at The Curragh (June 27 and 28).
- Dinner on One(1) night: at Naas Racecourse (June 24).
- Transfer from Dublin airport or Central Dublin to Killashee House Hotel.
- Transfer from the Killashee House Hotel to Dublin Airport or Central Dublin.
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Welcome cocktails at the Killashee House Hotel.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The Cost of the Trip does not include:
- Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
- The cost of dinner or lunch except on days indicated.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
- Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room, including but not limited to room service, mini-bar, television or video, restaurant or bar service, laundry or dry-cleaning, business services, golf or other activities, and activities arranged through hotel concierge. (All group members will be required to provide a credit card imprint upon check-in at each hotel to guarantee payment for any individual charges.)
- Excess baggage charges. Please check intra-European baggage limitations.
- Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
- Travel insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Charges incurred for anything other than what is specified in the "Itinerary Includes" summary above.
- Personal gratuities. As part of our arrangements we will tip our drivers and the hotel staff on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip their incoming and outgoing transfer drivers and anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including special assistance by hotel staff. Please note your principal tour escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
$3,245 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers).
$3,325 per person, based on double occupancy (ten to eleven travelers).
$3,425 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers).
$625 single supplement, regardless of group size
*Please note we have not received final pricing for some elements of this trip, and the trip price is therefore subject to minor adjustment until we do. Due to The Curragh’s still-developing hospitality and seating options we’re operating a bit more in the dark than is usual. Based on input received thus far we believe we’ve made reasonable provision in our pricing for our customary arrangements and we hope to have all pricing confirmed by early 2019.
The estimated cost for the optional no-host dinner at the Kildare Club is $125 per person. This estimated cost includes a reasonable amount of alcohol and tip.
We will attempt to match single travelers wishing to double up and thereby avoid the Single Supplement, however it will always be the single traveler’s decision whether or not to accept a roommate.
All trip prices are subject to change up to thirty(30) days prior to trip departure to reflect fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the United States and the European Union. U.S. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rate:
1 US $ = 0.885 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.13 US $
Additional Nights at the Killashee Hotel, if available: Will vary according to nights selected. Please inquire with us.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to eighteen(18) people. We will make every effort to operate the trip, however we reserve the right to cancel the trip if it has less than eight(8) subscribers. Should we need to do this, all payments made to Racing-Europe toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter Ireland.
Photos courtesy of The Killashee Hotel, Lindy Redding, Horse Racing Ireland, Joe King, Powerscourt Estate, Kay Minton, and The Curragh Racecourse
View the Itineraries for our other 2019 trips:
For early June (England), click here
For late August (France), click here
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