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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 17th June 1752
Final meeting: Tuesday 4th April 1899
Armagh, the County town of County Armagh, was made a city in 1994. However, back in the mid-1700s Armagh was a large town and had its own racecourse. The earliest mention of racing taking place in the city was in the Racing Calendar of June 1752, and meetings were staged annually for over 100 years. In the 1800s meetings were organised by the Armagh Hunt Committee and took place on Kennedy’s Plain. They were social affairs with Ordinaries served at the Beresford Arms and often finished with a Ball after racing. The principal race was the Ulster Grand National Steeplechase run over 3 miles, often with large fields. In the final years of the 19th century Armagh and Tynan Hunt Clubs had joined forces and staged meetings on a new course at Manooney, some 5 miles from Armagh. The final record of a meeting was on Tuesday 4th April 1899.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Lurgan, Lieutenant Colonel Stronge
Principal Races Armagh Challenge Cup, Ulster Grand National Steeplechase

17th June 1752

Armagh £20 Plate
1. Hawkey, horse owned by Thomas Smith

18th June 1752

Armagh £20 Hunters Plate
1. Unnamed bay hunter owned by Mr Bromley
2. Turk, gelding owned by Mr Caster
3. Unnamed grey gelding owned by Mr Robinson
4. Favourite, horse owned by Mr Jones

Thursday 8th November 1860
The Ulster Grand National Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Fair Play, owned by Mr Milley and ridden by Noonan
2. Little Bob, owned by Mr Scott and ridden by Hanlon
3. Black Jack, owned by Mr Denis Hughes and ridden by J. Wynne
Betting: 3/1 Little Bob, 4/1 New Broom, 6/1 Vagrant, 6/1 Black Jack, 8/1 Bar

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 4th April 1899.
Course today

On the outskirts of the town on Kennedy’s Plain.

If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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