The Curragh racecourse gets its season underway this weekend, in the midst of what is one of the biggest redevelopment projects in Irish sport at the moment.
The decision to stay racing and to retain the Curragh as the home of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby was a brave one but the plans on how customers will be accommodated have proceeded well and tomorrow will be the first test of the temporary structures, two weeks out from the first classics of the year,
“It’s not what we were expecting,” said Bernard Caldwell, part of a group that were shown the new temporary facilities during the week. “It’s a lot better.”
With the O’Brien’s Champagne & Wine Bar as the only permanent facility remaining in place this season, the final touches are being put to impressive high quality marquee structures which will be place until the development project is completed by the end of 2018.
The structures will feature the Grand Hall with Tote, Paddy Power Betting Shop, Sports Lounge and food and beverage area and an Owners and Trainers facility which will be available for connections of runners on the day to enjoy a complimentary meal, together with an imposing Hospitality Marquee over two levels with views across the racecourse to feature two restaurants with capacity for 250 people each, a Premier Members Lounge and an exclusive area for feature race sponsors.
In addition, this weekend, there will be an Artisan Food Village featuring some of Kildare’s leading food producers and a Race Track Viewing Stand with a capacity for 1500 people, together with numerous screens which will be located throughout the enclosure for additional viewing.
The Weigh Room has been relocated to what was previously the main entrance building, while the pre parade and parade ring will remain in place for the 2017 season.
Here is a look behind the scenes with CEO Derek McGrath guiding us through how the development has been progressing…