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Earliest meeting: April 1858
Final meeting: April 1876
The Irish racecourse at the town of Castleisland, in County Kerry, with its uniquely wide street, could call on a population of approximately 2000 inhabitants when it organised a series of race meetings in the middle of the 19th century. The first record of a meeting was in April 1858 when locals helped to develop a course about 1 ½ miles from town. The reporter at the time of the development commented ‘the fences are no fribbles and the jumps will be things worth remembering’.  The meeting held on Monday 20th March 1865 was the one best remembered for all the wrong reasons. The day started well with a match in which Mr Connell’s Maid of Gurtheen beat Bonnie Lass. However, the feature race involved 4 runners, Lily owned by Mr Sheehan, Maid of Cork owned by Mr Lynch, Annie and Rufus. Thomas Casey, a 70 year old local, was watching the race at the final fence and saw that his son-in-law was leading on Lily and ran out to greet him, but was struck by Maid of Cork who was finishing in second place. He was killed instantly and the remainder of the meeting was abandoned, although an Ordinary was still held at the Crown Hotel. On Tuesday 23rd March 1869 the racecourse was situated a quarter of a mile from town, and the opening Hunt Sweepstake was won by Mr Thompson’s Rambler, defeating Orphan and Darby. The principal race which followed went to Miss Nightingale owned by Mr O’Leary. There was then a lull in racing, although the racecourse benefitted hugely from the extension of the rail network, holding a meeting in April 1876 for which it received sponsorship for its Railway Plates to the tune of £30.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Dr Harrold, Mr S Reidy and Mr R S Roche (Stewards)
Principal Races Castleisland Hunt Sweepstake, Castleisland Handicap Stakes

Tuesday 23rd March 1869
Castleisland Handicap Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Miss Nightingale, aged mare owned by Mr O’Leary
2. Maid of Honour, aged mare owned by Mr Lyons
3. Nabocklish, aged horse owned by Mr Marsh

The final meeting took place in April 1876.
Course today Initially a mile and a half from town and later a more accessible course just a quarter of a mile from town.
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

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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