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​Punchestown Festival returns to Kildare

For many Naas locals, Punchestown Festival is welcomed as the first sign of summer. As the town is decked out in red bunting, visitors arrive in the thousands to enjoy one of the biggest Irish sporting events of the year.

This year the five-day Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival returns on Tuesday 25 April with a myriad of events and attractions to suit all interests. Punchestown Racecourse, situated just 10 minutes from Naas, Co. Kildare, has welcomed jockeys and spectators since 1875. The acclaimed festival marks the end of the National Hunt season in the UK and Ireland, and is attracting more and more horses from overseas each year. For racing fans, Punchestown Festival is an essential. With 12 Grade 1 contests taking place over the five days, it’s the perfect way to round-off the season. The Champion Hurdle, one of the week’s highlights, falls on Friday 28 April, also the festival’s Ladies’ Day, and always attracts an enormous crowd.

Racing aside, many visitors attend the festival for the social aspect alone. With live music booming from the main stage and bars serving into the evening, the atmosphere is unrivalled. Meanwhile, shopaholics can enjoy some retail therapy at the many stands in the Festival Shopping Village which opens 2 hours before the first race of the day. After Friday’s climactic race, the festival culminates in Saturday’s Family Day which is packed with attractions especially for the kids including pony-rides, bouncy castles, face painting and more, all part of the Junior Jockey Fun Club.

After a day at the races, why not continue to explore Kildare’s equestrian culture and pop into Jolly Restaurant, just 10 minutes from the racecourse. Located in the heart of Naas, you’ll spot us by our large horseshoe front, which we sport especially for the festival! With specially-produced artwork depicting aerial views of Kildare’s most prominent racecourses, The Curragh, Naas, and Punchestown; to our sunshine logo inspired by the symbols on jockey’s silks - our décor holds many references to this popular sport. Even our name, Jolly, comes from the horse racing term the ‘jolly’ meaning the favourite of the race, or the safest bet. Our new seasonal menu, a collection of Irish craft beers, and sophisticated cocktails are the perfect treat to wrap up a great day at the races.

Pop in at your leisure, or for the ‘safest bet’ book a table online here or by phone on 045 898465.

Image credit -  Punchestown.ie