: Fairyhouse celebrates 150 years of the Irish Grand National at this Year’s Easter Festival

Fairyhouse celebrates 150 years of the Irish Grand National at this Year’s Easter Festival

Date: 05/04/2022

It has been 2 years in the making. The Covid 19 pandemic forced organisers of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival to abandon plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Irish Grand National in 2020 and 2021. 2022 is the year when the crowds will congregate again in Ratoath in the Boyne Valley to celebrate this iconic race. 
In 1870, the first Irish Grand National steeplechase took place at Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath. Over the past century and a half this famous race in the Boyne Valley has become the premiere event on the Irish horse racing calendar. For the first Grand National the prize fund was 167 gold sovereigns, and the winner was a horse named after the late prime minister Sir Robert Peel. 

Fairyhouse Racecourse 4
Over the years winners of the Irish Grand National have included many legendary racehorses such as the 1964 winner Arkle, trained by Tom Dreaper. Brown Lad, a three-time winner for trainer Jim Dreaper. The legendary British-trained steeplechaser Dessert Orchid, Bobbyjo, trained by Tommy Carberry and ridden by his son Paul. Commanche Court, which was ridden for trainer Ted Walsh by his son Ruby. Organised Confusion, trained by Arthur Moore and ridden by his niece, Nina Carberry, one of the greatest amateur riders Ireland has ever produced.
The festival has grown year on year and now attracts over 30,000 spectators from across the world. The festival is filled with glamour, festivities, music, entertainment, and of course top-class National Hunt Racing. This year there is over €1.25million in prize money up for grabs. There is something for everyone to enjoy over the three-day event.

Saturday 16th of April

Fairyhouse Racecourse
The opening day of this years Easter festival at Fairyhouse is on Saturday the 16th of April. The feature race on the day is the €100,000 RYBO Handicap Hurdle and Saturday also plays host to the Ladies Chase. Easter Saturday is the perfect day to gather a group for a fantastic day of top-class racing followed by live music. Hospitality packages are available and there is also a direct transfer from Dublin with Marathon Coaches. Gates are open at 12pm with the first race at 2.10pm and the last race at 5.45pm.

Sunday the 17th of April

Easter Hat at Fairyhouse
The Fairyhouse Gold Cup is the feature race on Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is also Family Day and attendees can expect a fun filled day with a host of free entertainment and activities for children of all ages. There will be face painters, balloon modelling and bubble fun for everyone. Roll-up with the family for the children’s theatre shows with interactive pantomime puppets and a magic ventriloquism show, with a grand finale starring the Easter Bunny. Kids are free to attend the race day on Easter Sunday too! 
Easter Sunday also features the Easter Bonnet competition, a fantastic opportunity for the kids to show their creative side by making the most colourful and exciting bonnet hats. The day will be brought to a close with live music from Pilgrim Street in the Festival Marquee. Gates are open at 11.30am with the first race at 2.05pm and the last race at 5.45pm. 

Monday the 18th of April
The Boylesports Irish Grand National Day! This is the richest chase in the Irish calendar, standing at a whopping €500,000. The substantial prize fund, coupled with the reputation of the race attracts the game’s best runners and riders to Fairyhouse to take on this demanding course. Freewheelin Dylan won the 2021 Irish Grand National at odds of 150/1 for local trainer Dermot McLoughlin and jockey Ricky Doyle. 
Easter Monday is also a popular day at Fairyhouse as it is Ladies Day! The Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Most Stylish Lady competition takes centre stage with 2011 Irish Grand National winning jockey and Dancing with the Stars champion Nina Carberry. She will join style sponsor Gráinne Ross, Managing Director of Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa, to choose the most stylish lady on the day. This year’s theme is Vintage Sparkle! 
The festival will finish up with Pilgrim Street in the festival marquee. This promises to be an amazing day! Gates open at 11am with the first race at 2.05pm and the last race at 6.10pm.
Why not be part of history and join in the festivities this year at Fairyhouse. Check out a list of accommodation providers right here in the Boyne Valley so you can attend all three days!

Keep an eye on our “Whats on” page for more great events happening in the Boyne Valley soon. Better yet- why not sign up to our newsletter here and be the first to hear about special offers, events, and news in the Boyne Valley.