Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium - what's so special? 8 years ago

Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium - what's so special?

It’s been around for a little over a decade but Curraheen Park in Cork has quickly emerged as one of the best entertainment venues in the country.

By Shane Breslin

Curraheen Park – where the hell’s Curraheen Park?

Now, now, you should get your skates out of Dublin every once in a while. Curraheen Park is in Cork, and it’s emblematic of the new wave of finely-tuned greyhound stadiums which have emerged across Ireland over the past decade or so.

Hold on, though. Why Curraheen Park? Why not just Cork Greyhound Stadium? That would at least mean people know exactly where it is...

Typical jackeen. By that rationale we should rename Shelbourne Park or Harold’s Cross as Dublin Greyhound Stadium 1 and Dublin Greyhound Stadium 2.

Okay, I take your point. So what’s the story anyway? It’s a fairly new spot?

Yep, it opened its doors for the first time in April 2000 and it’s already well established not only as one of the premier entertainment venues in the country, but one of the finest greyhound stadiums in the world. Ireland is at the forefront of things on a global scale when it comes to greyhound racing, and Curraheen Park is one of the reasons why.

You’re whetting my appetite - when can I go?

Well, when it comes to greyhound racing at Curraheen Park, virtually every weekend is a long weekend. There’s live racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights almost every week of the year, the stadium opens at 6.45pm with the first race usually off at around 7.45pm. And when you get inside you’ll be struck by just how spectacular the place is – you can watch the track from within a purpose-built, glass-encased stadium which provides an exceptional viewing experience.

Any big races I should watch out for?

The Pat Hennerty Sales Irish Laurels takes place at Curraheen Park each year – this year it even had a celebrity winner, with Micheal O Muircheartaigh’s Razdazl Rioga, which had been a gift from the Irish Greyhound Board on the legendary broadcaster’s retirement last year, coming out on top in thrilling circumstances.

Well, the racing sounds great, but presumably there’s lots more on offer too?

Look who’s a quick learner! Yep, as is customary around Ireland’s top class greyhound racing facilities, complimenting the great racing is the exceptional hospitality and catering services. The restaurant can accommodate over 200 people, with three hospitality suites providing room for a further 114 people.

If you’d prefer to keep things a bit more informal, the 1000-capacity ground floor boasts a carvery, a fast food outlet and a full bar every night of racing. And when the last race is run, your night might just be getting started because there is live music from a DJ or band in the bar after racing, which keeps things ticking over well past midnight.

What’s the best way to get there?

If you’re driving – and why wouldn’t you, because there’s 900 parking spaces at the stadium – the best bet is to take the N25 South Ring Road from the city. Follow the signs for Killarney Head and head west, straight through the Sarsfield Road and Bandon Road Roundabouts. Keep an eye out for signs indicating Curraheen or Curraheen Park which should be signposted to a slip road on the left. Once you exit you will come to a roundabout, take the second exit across the fly-over and Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium is at the end of the road on the left hand side.

But that’s only one option. You could always find your way there by taxi or public transport – the No 8 bus, which leaves from outside Merchants Quay Shopping Centre, drops off about five minutes walk from the stadium. And after racing is over you can then take the stadium Shuttle Bus, which runs from the stadium to Cork city centre on race-nights. This service starts as soon as racing has finished and is available approximately every 20 minutes after that for just €2. It drops off near the Courthouse on Washington St, smack bang in the middle of Cork's nightlife. And this is a city that’s been voted as one of the Top 10 Cities in the World by Lonely Planet, don’t forget.

Right, I’m off!