One of Ireland’s favourite social and sporting events, the Punchestown Festival, gets underway tomorrow Tuesday 30th April and runs until Saturday 4th May. Over 125,000 people are expected to attend the action packed event to enjoy top class racing, vibrant social scene and soak up the unique atmosphere at the famous Kildare venue.
The star of the Punchestown show is of course the brilliant racing with 39 thrilling contests including 12 grade 1’s for a record breaking €3,222,500 prize fund. Household names like Ruby Walsh, Nicky Henderson, Davy Russell, Willie Mullins and the trail blazing Rachel Blackmore will be in action as the best of Irish and British talent battle it out at the home of Irish jump racing.
Whilst the competition on the turf is gripping the entertainment throughout the recently refurbished bars, restaurants, cafes and enclosures is electric. New additions to the Punchestown experience for 2019 are the introduction of Osprey Avenue, a boutique shopping venue showcasing art, millinery, clothing and accessories and The Style Quarter for all things festival fashion. Located at the Bollinger Lounge in the reserved enclosure, the Style Quarter is the place to see and be seen for the prestigious Bollinger Best Dressed Lady award that runs from Tuesday through to the grand final on Ladies day, Friday 3rd May. The message to all potential best dressed ladies is to arrive early as scouting will commence from 1pm.
The Punchestown Festival means big business with 17,000 corporate hospitality clients making it one of the most popular events of its kind in Ireland. Over 870 companies are involved as clients, sponsors, suppliers or corporate partners. Of this number 157 British based companies are engaged as corporate clients making up some of the 20,000 overseas visitors in attendance. Research shows that the five day Punchestown Festival generates an estimated €60 million towards the local economy with the sponsorship folio at Punchestown involving 43 companies of which 25 are Kildare based.
Festival Family Saturday includes a full entertainment programme in the designated Junior Jockey Fun Zone where 60,000 square feet is dedicated to bouncy castles, face painting, craft corner, disco zone, pony rides, fun fair and so much more. All children under 14 years of age race for free throughout Punchestown. There will be a full selection of casual dining options in The Feedroom, Hay Café, Fox Den Café and variety of food concessions throughout the week with 14 bar venues, a majority of which will host live music each evening after racing.
The message from Punchestown CEO Conor O’Neill is positive ahead of the 2019 renewal “We’re in really good shape as we prepare to open this year’s Punchestown Festival. Hospitality wise there isn’t a seat in the house Tuesday to Friday but we have waiting lists in operation whilst there is limited availability on Saturday. Our ticket pre-sales are where we would like to see them also. We’ve had super support from trainers and owners and thanks to our sponsors we have record breaking levels of prize money which is all integral in getting the best horses to Punchestown. However, it is the people that make the Festival. Whether you like to dress up and book a table or dress down and buy a ticket on the gate everyone is there for the same reason to enjoy the sport, craic, music and brilliant atmosphere and that’s what makes Punchestown so special”.
Gates open at 12 noon each day (11am Saturday) with the first race going to post at 3.40 (2.30 Saturday). A shuttle bus service is available from Dublin city and Naas town centres. Tickets start from €30pp with special group, senior, student and teen discounts available.
For full event and ticket purchase information please visit www.punchestown.com