The old Curragh Racecourse stand
The massive €65m Curragh racecourse revamp is underway, and is expected to be completed by Christmas 2018 in time for racing in March 2019.
Curragh CEO Derek McGrath told last Wednesday's Kildare Newbridge Municipal District meeting this long awaited project was very significant for the area.
Matthew Lyons gave a presentation detailing the various levels of the grandstand building.
The top floor will contain suites and a panoramic restaurant. Level two will have public suites, members' bar, restaurants and social facilities, while level one will house a museum.
The ground floor plan provides tote hall facilities, kitchen and food preparation facilities, jockey's changing room, weigh room, stewards room, press room and offices. The “great hall” will have a glass roof to let light into the atrium.
Mr Lyons said the historic Queen's Room, which dates back to the 1850s, will be deconstructed carefully and rebuilt into an area near the main entrance.
He said Purcell Construction and Murphy International are currently working on the enabling works.
“We have a traffic management plan in place to try and minimise impacts on the environment around us,” said Mr Lyons.
He explained the racecourse would continue to operate from temporary facilities for the next two years. He said they would be keeping to the noise limits and ensuring the roads are kept clean.
Temporary marquees will be set up to service the racecourse as well as the Tote.
A temporary stand will be built, which will accommodate 6,000. The gallops will remain in use during the project.
Mr Lyons said the racecourse was aware there were people living and working in close vicinity such as Dermot Weld, the Turf Club and TRI. He said they would be keeping them informed throughout the build.
Mr McGrath emphasised the museum would be part of a visitor centre, which would operate tours of the facility. Cllr Joanne Pender (Ind) asked about family facilities. She was informed a playground was included, which was overlooked by a nearby bistro. Cllr Mark Stafford (FG) acknowledged the racecourse wanted to encourage new people to go racing, but he urged them not to forget about the badgeholders, who go racing all the time.
All the councillors praised the project and wished it well.
An artist's impression of what the redeveloped Curragh Racecourse will look like