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Wednesday, 19 June 2019 at 10:21AM


The Inaugural Boyne Valley Racing Weekend in July Starts with a Concert by Paddy Casey  

Ireland’s newest racing festival, The Boyne Valley Racing Weekend, has been created to celebrate County Meath’s lavish and historic relationship with the horse which has been an intricate part of the county’s culture for thousands of years. Evidence of 2,000 year old carbon dated horse bones from the Boyne Valley Iron Age excavations at Newgrange and Tara in the county show the country’s earliest evidence of the domestication of horses for draught work or indeed racing as horse teeth analysed from the site showed evidence of wearing consistent with the usage of a horse ‘bit’ to control the animals which are still in use today on bridles. The new festival to be held in July will also celebrate ‘all things Meath’ including the county’s rich culture in sport from the surrounding historic Boyne Valley hinterland with horse racing being one of the county’s most popular spectator sports with just over 107,000 people attending race meetings in the county last year.  

The long history and heritage of the horse in the county has led to Co Meath having the second highest number of horses in training in the country after Kildare with 787 who battled out for just over €7.7m in prizemoney last year. Festivities start in Navan Racecourse on Saturday 13th July with great entertainment off track with live music by well known Irish artist Paddy Casey after racing. There will also be delicious hospitality options on offer with perfect summer food from the region being served. The festival of racing continues the next day in with a special family day at Fairyhouse Racecourse on Sunday 14th July with specific emphasis placed on making the day enjoyable for all the family with great flat racing featuring the Group 3 Brownstown Stakes and ample free entertainment laid on for the kids so the parents are sure to be able to relax and enjoy some family time with a great day at the races.  

Kate O’Sullivan Marketing Manager for Fairyhouse and Navan Racecourses said “Co Meath has arguably more equine history than any other county woven into its amazing heritage over thousands of years and we felt that we should celebrate it’s relationship with the Boyne Valley in the ‘Royal Country’ within our new racing festival in July. Navan is perfectly placed in the middle of the county by the River Boyne where we’ll have the well known singer Paddy Casey to help us celebrate after racing. Next day in Fairyhouse, the home of Ireland’s favourite race the Irish Grand National, will be a special day for families situated near the village of Ratoath which is the gateway into the county.”  

“What we can say overall is that horses were an intrinsic part of life in Meath and the Boyne Valley for over 2,000 years. They formed part of the rituals and ceremonies of Celtic Ireland, and feature heavily in the great Irish myths centred in the Boyne Valley. Horses continued to be important for work and warfare with the Vikings and English knights and gradually, as Ireland stabilised politically and socially, they began to be used for sport more frequently, especially from the 18th century onward,” she continued.

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