Greyhound racing in Ireland

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Greyhound racing is a popular sport in Ireland and is also mainly responsible for breeding the greyhounds that are sold to UK racing.

There are 19 current stadiums in Ireland (2 in Northern Ireland) of which ten are operated by the Bord na gCon (Irish Greyhound Board)[1] with the remaining seven owned and operated by private enterprise but licensed by the Bord na gCon.[2]

Most have modern facilities including grandstand restaurant's and Parimutuel betting tote system with on-course and off-course betting available.

The Bord na gCon is a commercial semi-state body and reports to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


Greyhound racing as it is seen today evolved from a sport called coursing. In 1926 the oval form of racing arrived in Britain at Belle Vue Stadium in Manchester which resulted in the creation of hundreds of tracks all over the United Kingdom and Ireland in the following ten years.[3]

The sport of greyhound racing in Ireland mainly takes place in the Republic of Ireland but also in Northern Ireland. However the tracks in Northern Ireland have always been in a state of limbo due to the fact that they are licensed neither by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) nor the Bord na gCon.[4]

To confuse matters even more the industry regards racing as either UK or Irish, the latter including Northern Ireland.[5] The Irish Greyhound Board do provide all of the results from Northern Ireland.

The vast majority of greyhounds running in the UK are bred in Ireland.[6]



There are many types of competitions in Ireland[7] but the primary race is the Irish Greyhound Derby held at Shelbourne Park. Along with the English Greyhound Derby and Scottish Greyhound Derby they are considered the big three in greyhound racing.

The Irish Greyhound Board publish an annual list of feature events.[8] Leading events include the Easter Cup, Champion Stakes, Cesarewitch, Oaks, Laurels and St Leger.

General information[edit]

Graded racing[edit]

This is any minor race staged at a track, and prize money is varied. This kind of racing is the most common and the core of most stadiums.

Racing jacket colours[edit]

Greyhound racing in Ireland has a standard colour scheme (the same as the UK).

  • Trap 1 = Red with White numeral
  • Trap 2 = Blue with White numeral
  • Trap 3 = White with Black numeral
  • Trap 4 = Black with White numeral
  • Trap 5 = Orange with Black numeral
  • Trap 6 = Black & White Stripes with Red numeral

A racing jacket worn by a reserve bears an additional letter 'R' prominently on each side.


  1. ^ "Our Stadiums". Irish Greyhound Board. 
  2. ^ "2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Irish Greyhound Board. 
  3. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1. 
  4. ^ "John McCollum, Drumbo Park". Belfast Telegraph. 
  5. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5. 
  6. ^ "Ireland". Greyhound Racing History. 
  7. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1. 
  8. ^ "Feature Events" (PDF). Irish Greyhound Board. 

External links[edit]