If you’re planning to visit Ireland, it’s a good idea to schedule your trip in time to experience the Punchestown festival. The long name is the Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival, but everyone who has been there knows it is the sporting and social celebration of the year. The trainers, jockeys, and horses involved are the best of the best.
The schedules for each day include Champion Chases and Hurdles, the Guinness Gold Cup, the Champion four-year-old Hurdles, and much more. The sponsors of the various events are as excited as the entrants and the attendees. You won’t want to miss watching great contenders attempt to hold onto their titles, or new battles as others seek revenge.
The racing action is quite exciting on its own, however the time-slots in between are also filled with wonderful distractions. There are fashion shows and best-dressed competitions for the women, as well as entertainment for children. Everyone will enjoy the live music and street theater performers.
The street performers include jugglers and mimes, and everywhere you go, you’ll hear the after-racing music. The lively songs are played throughout public areas and bars, tempting the listeners to dance. If you think you’re not able to dance, you may change your mind.
Dublin is not far from the festivities, but it’s a good idea to stay in Co. Kildare, which is closer. The Punchestown website offers a link to accommodation options, as well as their partner hotels. They also recommend restaurants, and describe options for travel from your accommodations to the events. Coaches and buses are available from Kildare or Dublin.
It’s a great idea to explore the website before attending, because you’ll also find ticket information. General admission, party packs, reserved enclosures, and dining packages are available. General admission will gain you access to the general enclosure, grandstand, public bars, and more. Party packs include vouchers for a beverage and betting. The reserved enclosure is for those who wish to be at the social center of events.
The 2011 Punchestown festival has passed, but keep a lookout for the 2012 schedule. There is so much to see and do that if you plan to attend, it would be best to rest well before your trip. The website will list all the scheduled events, and there are also links to articles that describe more details about the festivities. This is something you don’t want to miss, and it’s best to start looking forward to it now.