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Earliest meeting: Monday 14th May 1770
Final meeting: Tuesday 2nd October 1900
The County of Carlow is the second smallest county in Ireland, and its county town is Carlow which is situated 51 miles from Dublin. Records indicate that a six day race meeting first took place from Monday 14th to Saturday 19th May 1770 when the opening two mile Stakes was won by Mr Kirwan’s Smirking Nan. Mr Lambert enjoyed a very good meeting winning the 3 mile race on Tuesday with Primrose, the Weight for Age on Wednesday with Favourite, and the feature race on Thursday with Aimwell.  At a famous meeting, extending from Monday 29th June to Saturday 4th July 1812, the 100 Guineas Gold Cup, donated by the Carlow Stewards and in particular Nicholas Vigors, was contested for the first time over Carlow’s New course.  The course benefitted significantly from the expansion of the railway, and at the races on Tuesday 4th August 1846 the Stewards welcomed a 50 sovereign sponsorship from the Dublin and Carlow Railway Company, with crowds swelled by the arrival of trains for the first time to the town. Meetings lapsed for a number of years, but due to the efforts of Captain D W Beresford the races were revived on Saturday 14th September 1861. The final meeting took place on Tuesday 2nd October 1900 when the Bagnalstown Plate was won by Mr J Whelan’s Vassar Miss, while the Carlow County Plate over a mile went to Mr W P Cullen’s Clan Graham.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.

Local Patrons Nicholas Vigors, Captain Wilson, Captain Loftus
Principal Races Carlow Gold Cup, Bagnalstown Plate, Carlow County Plate, Carlow Hunters Plate

Saturday 19th May 1770
Carlow Weight for Inches Handicap over 4 miles
1. Favourite, bay horse owned by Mr Lambert
2. Spanker, grey horse owned by Mr Bowerman
3. Little Irish Hero, bay horse owned by Mr Murphy
4. Daniel, bay mare owned by Mr Yelverton
5. Skim, grey horse owned by Mr Dawson

Monday 1st May 1899

The Bagnalstown Plate over 2 miles
1. Tamarind owned by Mr M Foley
2. Winsome owned by Mr W Ward
3. Unnamed mare by King John owned by Mr L M’Laughlin

The Carlow County Plate over a mile
1. Tigris Lily owned by Mr F F Cullen
2. The Beloved Roman owned by Mr T F Ryan
3. Patron owned by Mr M Foley

Carlow Hunters Plate over 2 and a half miles
1. The Robber owned by Captain C Wilson
2. Semaphore owned by Captain Loftus
3. Unnamed gelding by Ballinafad owned by Mr W V Slocock

Tuesday 2nd October 1900

The Bagnalstown Plate over 1 ½ miles
1. Vassar Miss owned by Mr J Whelan
2. Sunlight owned by Mr T Hughes
3. Whitebait owned by Mr J R Cooper

The Carlow County Plate over a mile
1. Clan Graham owned by Mr W P Cullen
2. Unnamed colt by Torpedo owned by Mr W J Doyle
3. Rhodine owned by Mr T M Reddy

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 2nd October 1900 with the results shown above.
Course today On the Ballybar course.
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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