In the 225 years following the establishment of the first Limerick racecourse in 1790, seven different local venues were used to stage various forms of horse racing. Its predecessors included locations in Bruff, Rathkeale, Newcastle, Lemonfield, Ballinacurra and Greenpark. In fact, the last venue at Green Park, which closed in 1999, had successfully staged horse racing for one hundred and thirty years. The march of time finally caught up with the city track as it became enveloped in the city’s urban sprawl and a new location was sought. Limerick Racecourse found a new home at Greenmount Park when it was purchased in 1996. Six kilometres from the city boundaries near the village of Patrickswell, with the nearly 400 acres of prime greenbelt farmland, Greenmount was a natural choice, with a panoramic setting at which local point-to-point meetings had been held for as long as local memory served.
While the site topography was ideal for unobstructed views across the racetrack, the site posed challenges for the civil works of the project due to a fall of 27.5m across the site and dealing with the requirement for a 12.0m drop over only 70.0m. Significant cut and fill was required across the site to prepare the ground for the specialist surfaces for this Category 1 racetrack, in addition to all associated roads, 2000 car spaces and substantial drainage infrastructure, including a precast concrete underpass.
The Grandstand is the main feature structure on the site and includes a cantilevered truss roof providing shelter over the spectator terraces. Other site structures include an entrance building with office and bar facilities and the essential stable facilities, located ideally beside the central parade ring, all completed to the highest of specifications.
The development of the racecourse at Greenmount has provided the opportunity for Limerick to have one of the best facilities in the country for horse racing. The complete racecourse layout was designed from scratch. This is the first new racecourse in Ireland in over 60 years and it provided the full design team a challenge to achieve the full possibilities that this rare opportunity offered.
Opening in October 2001, the inaugural meeting attracted a crowd of over 18,000 race goers. Having recently celebrated its 13th Anniversary, Limerick Racecourse goes from strength to strength as one of the country’s premier horse racing destinations.
Did you know??
1963 US President John F. Kennedy visited Greenpark Racecourse and addressed an audience of 6,000 people.
1979 John Treacy won the 1979 World Cross Country Championships at Limerick Racecourse
1979 Pope John Paul 2 celebrates mass at Limerick Racecourse with over 400,000 people in attendance.
1999 Limerick Racecourse closes at Greenpark in the city centre.
2001 Limerick Racecourse opens to a record crowd of 18,000 at its new location in Patrickswell, Co. Limerick