The Emerald Isle

years later. Needless to say, Ireland has its own Grand National and Derby, both of which were first run in the 19th century. Among the highlights of the Irish racing calendar are the National Festival of Steeplechasing at Punchestown, 20 miles (32km) from Dublin, in April; the Irish Grand National, run on Easter Monday at Fairyhouse in County Meath; the Irish Derby at the Curragh, County Kildare, in June/July; and the uniquely Irish Laytown races, run on the beach at Laytown, south of the Boyne estuary, in July or August, depending on the state of the tide. Then there is a whole string of important race meetings during the year at Leopardstown, a racecourse in Dublin’s southern suburbs, and at three summer festivals of racing in County Kerry, at Killarney, Tralee, and Listowel. The Thoroughbred industry in Ireland is centered on the Curragh, a grassy plain in County Kildare, where many of the country’s studs and training yards are situated. The South & Southeast ABOVE: There are 25 racetracks in Ireland. The racing industry contributes significantly to the Irish economy. 148