Greyhound racing in Ireland

Greyhound racing is a popular sport in Ireland. There are 17 stadiums operating in Ireland (two in Northern Ireland) of which nine are fully operated by Rásaíocht Con Éireann / Greyhound Racing Ireland (formerly named Irish Greyhound Board IGB, Bord na gCon)[1] with the remaining six owned and operated by private enterprise but licensed by GRI.[2]

Greyhound racing in Ireland
Ringsend view from Montevetro building (cropped).jpg
View of Shelbourne Park
Start date18 April 1927 at Celtic Park
NationsRepublic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

Most have modern facilities including grandstand restaurants and parimutuel betting tote system with on-course and off-course betting available.


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, any tracks in Northern Ireland have always been in a regulatory limbo due to the fact that they are licensed neither by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) nor Greyhound Racing Ireland (named Bord na gCon until 2020).[4]

To confuse matters still further, the industry regards racing as either UK or Irish, the latter including Northern Ireland.[5] Greyhound Racing Ireland provides all of the results from Northern Ireland. The vast majority of greyhounds running in the UK are bred in Ireland (95% in 2017).[6]

In recent years, the industry has come under scrutiny regarding the welfare of greyhounds, multiple newspaper articles have reported various stories primarily about the greyhounds that are bred and not used in racing and racing greyhounds after they retire from racing. This led to new legislation and the Irish government creating the Greyhound Racing Act 2019. The Rásaíocht Con Éireann are required to conduct a range of inspections under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act including a traceability system.[7][8]



There are many types of competitions in Ireland[9] 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.

Greyhound Racing Ireland publishes an annual list of feature events.[10] Leading events include the Easter Cup, Champion Stakes, Cesarewitch, Oaks, Laurels and St Leger.

General informationEdit

Graded racingEdit

This is any minor race staged at a track, with prize money varying widely. This kind of racing is the most common at the various stadia.[11]

Racing jacket coloursEdit

Greyhound racing in Ireland has a standard colour scheme (the same as in the UK).[12]

  • 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' shown prominently on each side.


  1. ^ "Our Stadiums". Greyhound Racing Ireland.
  2. ^ "2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Greyhound Racing Ireland.
  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. ^ "RTE Prepare Sensationalist Bull". Greyhound Star.
  7. ^ "Minister McConalogue announces the commencement of certain sections of the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 on 1 October 2020". Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Traceability help". Greyhound Racing Ireland. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  9. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  10. ^ "Feature Events" (PDF). Greyhound Racing Ireland.
  11. ^ "National Grading System Rules & Tables". Greyhound Racing Ireland. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  12. ^ "S.I. No. 302/2007 - Greyhound Industry (Racing) Regulations, 2007". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 30 November 2020.

External linksEdit