World class Curragh Racecourse facility is finally taking shape

Curragh redevelopment on course to be completed by next spring

Niamh O'Donoghue

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Niamh O'Donoghue

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niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

World class Curragh Racecourse facility is finally taking shape

The Curragh Racecourse

Since the landmark Curragh grandstand was dismantled, the skyline has seemed bare over the green plains. However, over the past number of months, a new sleek structure has emerged in its wake.

Progress on the €72m project has been swift and racecourse management say it is on track to be finished by Christmas, ready in time for next year’s racing season.

Curragh chief executive, Derek McGrath said Derby weekend racegoers will get a glimpse of what the finished project will look like.

“Everything is on track, I’m delighted to say. We are exactly where want to be, we were hit by the snow earlier in the year but with all the good recent weather, we are back on track.”

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He said it was great to see the roof structure going on the new stand.

The main work left to be completed concerns the stand. Mr McGrath said the stand, which covers four levels, will be built in five stages. Once each stage is finished, subcontractors can then move into that sector to work on the finishes.

This year, unlike last year, there will be no crowd capacity restrictions for the Irish Derby festival.

The main enclosure boasts a new parade ring, beside the future new entrance. It will also be home to a bistro and media centre for this year.

The temporary stand is in place close to where the grandstand is currently being constructed, which holds a capacity of 400 people, and looks right out onto the track.

There are also high-quality marquee structures to facilitate visitors until the end of 2018.

The Queen’s Room, which dates back to 1850s, has been preserved. This is where Queen Victoria was entertained during her visit to the Curragh. Mr McGrath said it looks like it has always been in its new location, nestled into the surrounding trees.

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Once finished, the redevelopment will be able to cater for approximately 30,000 people.

With over 300 employed on site at its peak, John Sisk and Sons are the main contractors on site.

Newbridge-based Murphy International was in charge of the relocation of the Queen’s Room and the demolition of the old grandstand and weigh room, while Purcell Construction worked on the new building and stable yard refurbishment.

Funding for the revamp stands at €30m from Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and the rest from investors.

Designed by Grimshaw Architects, in association with Newenham Mulligan & Associates and design and engineering partner Aecom, the Curragh Racecourse Ltd has said the new Curragh will see the creation of world class multi-purpose facilities on a par with the best anywhere in the world.

When completed, the centrepiece will be the grandstand which will incorporate five star corporate facilities, restaurants, bars and viewing facilities for the public. A new arrivals and reception area will incorporate a brand new visitor attraction incorporating a museum to celebrate the history of racing in Ireland and the contribution Ireland has made to the sport worldwide.

There is also the addition of a children’s playground fronting onto a bistro which will be open during the week. The playground will be open during the Derby festival.

See more pictures below:

The Queen's room was painstakingly relocated in its new location at the Curragh Racecourse

A view of the new children's playground and bistro at the Curragh Racecourse