Dundalk has a long history of racing, over 200 years on this site alone. We at Dundalk Stadium are very proud to be continuing this tradition in a unique way combining horse and greyhound racing with top class restaurant and facilities.
The Dundalk Race Track originally located at this site from 1889 to 2001 was a part of local life for many years. Nearly every household in Dundalk has some connection to it’s long history. The track is now in a different position but the old original stable block can be seen at the entrance gates. The new 10 furlong track was accompanied by an extensive stable block to house up to 130 horses.
Greyhound racing had taken place at the old track on The Ramparts for almost 70years, and following its closure on November 20th, 2000, there was mild concern that the sport might be lost to the town forever.
No-one need have worried. Within three short years, racing was back! In place of the Ramparts track, which was showing the signs of decay long before its closure, was our spanking new stadium, complete with an ultra-modern grandstand, elevated viewing area, restaurant, bars and offices.
The greyhounds were kennelled in a renovated building that had housed the Tote in the old racecourse, but only for a while. In due course a new spacious hall was built, with enough space to house upwards on eighty runners. The track, 550 yards in circumference with wide bends and long straights, had been planned with the galloping greyhound in mind.
It is now ten years since Dundalk Stadium staged its first greyhound meeting. The first greyhound meeting took place on Saturday, November 29th, with the Minister responsible for sport, John O’Donoghue, TD, unveiling the commemorative plaque in the presence of Paschal Taggart, who was lauded by stadium CEO, Jim Martin, in a message carried in the programme.
“The number of people who have helped in getting the stadium built and opened are too numerous to mention, but a special word of thanks goes to Paschal Taggart, chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board, whose support and encouragement over the past five years has been crucial to the success of the project,” Jim wrote.
Since that opening night upwards of fifteen thousand races have been run at the Racecourse Road venue, the more important among them contested by some of the country’s fastest greyhounds. When up and running less than a year, the track played host to the Classic, Bar-One Irish Sprint Cup, and the Boylesports International, a one-off race that had been first staged in the Ramparts in 1968.
Each of these annual events is still prominent on the calendar, and they continue to attract the very best in this country and Britain along with record attendances each year.
Dundalk Stadium has also been home to a number of events outside of racing such as The Louth Agricultural Show, Extreme Stunt Show, Charity Family Fundays, Dog Shows, Special Olympics Cycle, The Great Orchestra of Christmas Polish Charity, corporate events and concerts; the list goes on! We are also looking forward to hosting next year’s Relay for Life which will take place during the Bank Holiday weekend in June to allow for a brighter and warmer evening for those staying for the full 24 hour event.
Many clubs, schools and charities run very successful fundraisers throughout the year, we are now taking bookings for 2014. All of this has helped the local economy by providing employment and encouraging tourism into the area on an on-going basis.
Jim Martin CEO Dundalk Stadium said ‘It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since we opened our doors for the first time. There have been many great days and nights at the stadium in those 10 years and our celebrations on the 29th is the perfect way to kick off our next 10 years.’
Looking to the future we are now in the process of submitting plans to Dundalk Town Council to incorporate National Hunt jumps to the track. We are in the early stages but are very excited about the prospect of this unique venture which will consist of revolutionary underground heated turf straights where all of the jumping will take place.