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IRELAND

8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
JUNE 22-29, 2015

6 Nights in County Kildare, near The Curragh
4-5 Days/Eves of racing at The Curragh, Leopardstown, and Naas
Farm and training visits in Kildare and Tipperary

 

Day 1
Mon  June 22
Depart the U.S., if not joining the trip from Ireland or elsewhere.
 
 
Day 2
Tues  June 23
Arrive in Dublin. We'll meet you at the airport and deliver you to to Killashee House, our hotel 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 Killashee House 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 optional excursion scheduled for later in the day.

Killashee HouseKILLASHEE HOUSE: We return once more to Killashee House, 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.killasheehouse.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 an excellent 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.

 
 
Day 3
Wed  June 24
Curragh TrainingThis morning we'll begin with a visit to The Curragh and the yard of one of Ireland's leading trainers. We'll accompany a "lot" over to the gallops, see some work, and soak in the righteous Curragh 
vibe. If you're a racehorse in training, there's no better place to be.

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. 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.

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.

Racing at NaasWe'll have a late-afternoon break at the hotel and at about 5:00PM head off to nearby 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.

 
 
Day 4
Thur  June 25
PowerscourtAfter Wednesday's busy day you can sleep in this morning and at approximately Noon we'll head out. There's racing this evening at Leopardstown on the southern outskirts of Dublin, and on the way we'll take in some splendid Irish scenery via a crossing the Wicklow Mountains. Our route will take us through the Sally Gap to Glendalough, where we'll have a stop for a tea and maybe a short stroll along the area's beautiful lakes. After that it's on to Powerscourt Estate and a visit to its 47 acres of landscaped gardens (voted #3 Garden on the planet by National Geographic) before moving on to the races.

Leopardstown is Ireland's second-leading racecourse, and hosts all the country's Group 1 events not run at The Curragh. Among its notable highlights during the year are the Irish Champion Stakes in September (one of the most important ten-furlong tests in Europe) and several significant prep races for Classics aspirants in the spring.

This evening's program is a new fixture for the course. No Group or Listed level races are scheduled at present, although that is subject to change. In any case it's a good chance for us to experience this vital cog in the Irish racing picture.

We'll have dinner at the course, with our tables available to us throughout the evening, plus a block of well-located reserved seats for race viewing.

First race will be at about six and the last about 8:45PM. We should be back at the hotel around 9:30.

 
 
Day 5
Fri  June 26
Onward again this morning, this time heading west to County Tipperary. Our morning objective is renowned Coolmore Stud, arguably the globe's preeminent racing and breeding operation. The stallion roster at Coolmore reads like a Who's Who, and includes Footstepsinthesand, Excelebration, High Chapparal, Mastercraftsman, So You Think, Rock of Gibralter, Southern hemisphere star sire Fastnet Rock, the recently retired multiple Classic winning Australia, and of course the current world heavyweight champion: Galileo.

Post-Coolmore, we'll have lunch at a nearby pub favored by the locals, and then it'll be on for a visit to the Rock of Cashel. The distinctive Rock towers over the surrounding countryside, and its history goes back to the 5th century and the supposed conversion to Christianity by St Patrick of the King of Munster. The reigning King returned the favor in 1101, gifting the Rock to the Church. We'll have time for a good look around before heading back home.

For those with sufficient juice remaining, there's a card of racing at The Curragh this evening, starting at about 6:00PM, and we'll supply transport over to and back from the racecourse for those who want to do it. This is the easy-going Friday night start-up to the Derby weekend and there's a Group 3 on the card. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed and we don't make any formal arrangements at the course, although you can certainly book yourself into one of the restaurants if you care to. It's a good chance to get acquainted with the layout without the press of too many people, but it's an evening you can miss without much sacrifice if you're wanting to catch up on your rest. We'll have plenty of time at The Curragh this weekend.

 
 
Day 6
Sat  June 27
Irish Derby Day, and 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 CurraghThe 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 Derby is the highlight day of the entire Irish racing season – the crowd comes to have a good time and doesn't disappoint itself.

The race itself 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 half-length 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 also includes a Group 3 sprint, a rich listed race, and several valuable handicaps.

We'll have lunch at the course. The table is ours for the day and we'll also have some nearby premier-level reserved seats for the best race viewing.

Either tonight or tomorrow evening we'll make dinner plans at one of two wonderful dining venues in the area: either Rathsallagh House, which we've enjoyed numerous times over the years; or the Kildare Club, where we had a most pleasurable experience in 2014. These arrangements are still in progress as we go to press with this website update.  We will keep propective travelers informed as to how these plans are coming together. This dinner is on a "no-host" voluntary basis, and participants should budget about $125-150 per person for it. Whichever night we book it, and whichever place we go, we don't think you'll be sorry if you come along.

 
 
Day 7
Sun  June 28

Another fine card at The Curragh.

Close Home at The CurraghToday's program features the Group 1 Pretty Polly, an all-age event for fillies and mares at ten furlongs, supported by two Group 3's: the Curragh Cup for older horses at a mile and three-quarters and the six furlong Grangeton 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.

We'll have our same lunch table and premier-level seats as yesterday.

There is sure to be some fellowship occuring this evening, whether it's our nice dinner out referenced above or in the hotel bar if we've dined out Saturday. It's our last night, so hopefully all will wish to stick together for one or the other.

 
 
Day 8
Mon  June 29
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.

Slan abhaile.

CLOSING DATE

This trip will close on April 20, 2015. 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 Killashee House and back on whichever days you choose to arrive and leave. Additional nights at Killashee House can be booked, either before or after our scheduled stay. There is racing most days within a reasonable drive, and golf at some of the more famous courses might be a bit easier to book before the Derby crowd has shown up or after it's moved on. And of course the rest of Ireland, besides the small parts of it we'll be seeing this week, is renowned for its beauty and character.

Killashee House 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.

ITINERARY & PRICES:

The itinerary includes:

  • Six(6) nights lodging at the Killashee House Hotel, in County Kildare.
  • Breakfast each morning as indicated.
  • Five(5) escorted days/evenings of racing at The Curragh, Naas, and Leopardstown, including transportation to and from the racecourse, course admission, and race card. Dinner at Naas (June 24) and Leopardstown (June 25), Lunch, premier level access, and seating at The Curragh (June 27 and 28).
  • Visit to the Irish National Stud, including transportation and admission.
  • Morning training excursion to The Curragh.
  • Farm visit in County Kildare.
  • Full-day excursion to County Tipperary with visit to Coolmore Stud and the Rock of Cashel.
  • Sightseeing excursion through County Wicklow including Glendalough and Powerscourt Estate.
  • Lunch on four(4) days: in Kildare (June 24), in County Tipperary (June 26), and at The Curragh (June 27 and 28).
  • Dinner on two(2) nights: at Naas Racecourse (June 24) and Leopardstown Racecourse (June 25).
  • 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 itinerary 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 does not include:
  • 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.
The Cost of the Trip Is:

    $2,955 per person, based on double occupancy (thirteen or more travelers).
    $3,055 per person, based on double occupancy (ten to twelve travelers).
    $3,145 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers).

    $300 single supplement.

    The estimated cost for the optional dinner at either Rathsallagh House or the Kildare Club is $125-$150 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 $ = 0.806 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.24 US $

    OPTIONS:

    • Additional Nights at Killashee House Hotel, if available: Will vary according to nights selected. Please inquire with us.

    GENERAL INFORMATION:

    *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 Killashee House, Ashley Adum,
    Horse Racing Ireland, Powerscourt Estate, and Kay Minton


    View the Itinerary for our other 2015 trips:

    For June (England), click here

    For September-October (France), click here

     

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