KILDARE OPINION: Punchestown brings economic prosperity

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KILDARE OPINION: Punchestown brings economic prosperity

Ready for the off at Punchestown

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Punchestown Festival is on the horizon.

It is, without a doubt, the sporting and social highlight of many people’s calendar.

The five-day event boasts racing, fashion, and fun for the family. This year’s festival is expected to attract a record crowd of 130,000 people.

The buzz around Punchestown is something else. If you haven’t been, put it on your bucket list.

County Kildare has long been associated with the racing industry, from Punchestown, to Naas racecourse to the fantastic new state-of-the-art redeveloped Curragh, which will open its doors to the public on May 6 next.

Not only is Punchestown a fantastic facility to have on our doorstep, but the benefit to the local economy is phenomenal.

According to Punchestown, independent research carried out a number of years ago indicates that around €60 million is generated within the local economy during the Festival.

Just think about that, €60 MILLION. Eateries, hotels, nightclubs, clothes shops, hairdressers, buses and taxis, all make money off the back of the festival. Not to mention the amount of employment created.

Week in week out, we hear of local business closing down, particularly in Naas. But Punchestown is a good news story, it gives businness an opportunity to capitalise on the droves of festival goers. We are always encouraged to shop and support local, and Punchestown are all about promoting that.

Paint the Town Red, run by Bank of Ireland in association with Punchestown, is a great form of friendly competition.

The initiative asks businesses in Naas, Clane, Kilcullen, Ballymore Eustace and Blessington to get festive and decorate their shopfronts in racing-related themes, with prizes up for grabs for the most creative.

Punchestown CEO Conor O’Neill gave some background to the venture at its launch a few weeks ago:

“Punchestown expects over 125,000 people to walk through the gates for five days of brilliant sport and atmosphere.

“Of that number plenty travel from afar and will race, stay and play within the locality.

“Most local hotels are fully booked so these racegoers will be looking locally for restaurants, pubs, hair and beauty salons, boutiques, golf clubs, transport solutions and all the various service providers that go with a few days at a major sporting event.

“Paint The Town Red gives a visual and physical link between the business and the event itself. It’s a visual affiliation,” he said.

Punchestown and our racing culture is something our county can be very proud of.