From patron saints to world-renowned golf courses, County Kildare is synonymous with many things. But arguably, as the Thoroughbred County, it is most famous for its equestrian roots. With a lengthy history in horsemanship that spans centuries, it’s no surprise that Kildare is home to one of the world’s most well-known racing festivals – The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
Taking place at the Curragh Racecourse from the 25th to the 27th of June, this year’s festival promises to be a weekend to remember, showcasing three days of quality racing at a time when the country is finally beginning to return to some semblance of normality. A very small number of people will be permitted into the grounds for festival (in line with Government advice), for many racing will be held behind closed doors for the second year in a row. Even still, race fans will have plenty reason to unite (at a safe distance, mind) and celebrate, thanks to the annual Kildare Derby Festival. An offshoot of the Curragh Derby, the Derby Festival attracts people of all ages through live entertainment, inclusive sporting events, exhibitions, workshops and much more.
Although this year’s event will be a smaller affair than usual, for the second year in a row, we take look at some of the top reasons why the Kildare Derby will still be a thoroughly enjoyable festival this summer.
It’s got something for everyone, including history buffs!
History and race lovers alike will be suitably impressed by the exhibition at the Racing Legends Museum, which will be launched during the Kildare Derby Festival. Located in the old Court House in Kildare Town, it will be open to the public throughout the festival week. With racing colours, race cards, saddles, video footage and much more on show, the exhibition will provide visitors with an exclusive opportunity to view rarely seen memorabilia of great trainers, owners, jockeys and racing families from The Curragh.
It’s even got something for those that don’t want to leave the house!
If you love the thought of soaking up the Derby action from the comfort of your own home, you can do so by listening into the ‘Kildare Derby Chats’; a series of podcasts featuring Jonny Murtagh, Jim Kavanagh, Willie McCreery, Dessie Scahill and others. Organised by Hive Youth Radio and hosted by television presenter Kevin O’ Ryan, you can keep up with all the latest Derby updates from June 20th to 27th while being entertained along the way.
There’s lots to enjoy for the younger members of the family.
One of the highlights of this year’s itinerary for kids and teens is a kite making workshop, run in conjunction with Cruinniú na nÓg. Open to 15-17-year-olds, the workshop itself will take place on 12th June with renowned international artist Lia Laimböck. If you are unable to attend the workshop, you can follow along at home. The finished kites will then be flown on the Curragh as part of the Kildare Derby Festival, promising a memorable spectacular for all in attendance.
For more information on the complete Kildare Derby Festival line-up and for inspiration on hotel stays and things to do in Kildare during the festival, visit www.intokildare.ie. Stay tuned for event updates or follow the hashtag #IntoKildare and #KildareDerbyFestival on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.