|Address:||Punchestown Naas Co. Kildare|
Punchestown Racecourse is located in the parish of Eadestown, between the R410 and R411 regional roads near Naas, County Kildare, in Ireland. It is known as the home of Irish Jumps Racing and plays host to the annual Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival. The racecourse itself is right-handed with an undulating hurdle and steeplechase track. The hurdle course is one mile six furlongs in distance while the chase course is 2 miles. Punchestown Racecourse also has the only cross country banks course in Ireland.
As well as horse racing, Punchestown has hosted several music events, including the annual Oxegen festival which ran from 2004-2011 and then again in 2013, while AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Eminem are among the artists to have played sold out concerts on the racecourse. In 1982 Rory Gallagher played to over 16,000 people supported by U2, Phil Lynott, and Simple Minds. this was part of Hot Press fifth Anniversary. Dick O’Sullivan has been General Manager since 2003.
The Punchestown Festival is the major horse racing festival of the Irish National Hunt Season and is usually held annually in April. The Punchestown Festival is held over five days, between Tuesday and Saturday inclusive. It is seen by many as the Irish version of the Cheltenham Festival and is run in a very similar format.
The major races at the Festival are the Champion Chase, Ryanair Novice Chase, Champion Hurdle, World Series Hurdle, Herald Champion Novice Hurdle, Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle, Growise Champion Novice Chase, Champion Four Year Old Hurdle, Champion INH Flat Race and the Punchestown Gold Cup.
Punchestown is also the home of Ireland’s best known International Three Day Event. Run under the title of “Punchestown International Three Day Event and Horse Show,” the annual event incorporates a CCI*** Three Day Event, National Showjumping and Showing as well as a Young Event Horse Class. Punchestown hosted the European Eventing Championships in 1991 and 2003. The 2008 event was cancelled at an early stage due to problems with the ground.
As well as horse racing, Punchestown is a noted venue for its music festivals. These include Creamfields – held in 2000, 2001 and 2002; the Ozzfest – a few times; Witnness – held in 2003 (from 2000 to 2002, Witnness was at Fairyhouse Racecourse); and the annual Oxegen festival which was held there from 2004 to 2011 and then again in 2013 before being cancelled. Maximum capacity for concerts is usually 80,000 people.
Eminem played two dates there in 2003, selling out both. They included his first ever Irish concert on 26 June 2003. He did not return to Ireland again until 2010 when he topped the bill at Oxegen 2010, also held at Punchestown Racecourse.
Australian rock band AC/DC played there on 28 June 2009, in front of 69,354 people. The concert was controversial, with long queues, lack of lighting at exits and too few stewards reported, barriers being pushed over and fans, forced into walking 10 kilometres to the concert, later expressing their rage against organisers MCD Productions for failing to ensure roads were clear.
The First Biggest disco festival was hosted in Navan racecourse. Punchestown venue facilities allows organizers to create even bigger festival, for the bigger audience