The Galway races get underway out west this evening and crowds are on track to set new highs. An estimated 150,000 will pass through the gates over the next seven days.
There is a new facility opened up up the first time in the Wilson Lynch building and sponsorship and prize money are also at new levels.
“The Guinness Galway Hurdle is worth €300,000, the richest race of its kind in Ireland and the Tote Galway Plate is worth €250,000,” said Michael Moloney, Racecourse general manager in our interview with him last month.
“The feature races on all of our Festival days are now worth a minimum of €100,000 and we are working our way towards a minimum race value for all the races of €15,000.”
There have been a number of advertising campaigns running on social media as well as on TV in order to keep the Festival front and centre stage in a busy summer schedule.
Much of the social noise has been generated by the enthusiasm of Sales Manager Sinead Cassidy, whose excitement at promoting what she passionately believes to be such a special occasion shines brightly.
For Galway people, Race week has always been a real gathering of the Tribes. They return from America, from Europe, from Manchester and from Dublin because they know that their friends from days gone by and doing likewise and they will get to renew old friendships.
The racing is the centrepiece but it’s also about so much more from fashion to food, music to the occasional bit of madness and plenty of late night revelry.
The races get underway straight off the back of the Galway International Arts Festival with barely time to breathe before the next event.
It’s an event that everyone should experience at least once in your lifetime, preferably many more. If you are from Galway you already know that. If you are heading this year for perhaps the first time, you will wonder how it has passed you by until now.
Now what time does the Zorb racing start…
Image Credit: Galway Races and Inpho Photography