It couldn’t be more different from any other racetrack in the country – the Laytown Races – this annual meeting, not held on turf or an artificial surface….. but on the beach! This provides the most unique scenery one can imagine for a horse race: dunes, sand and of course the wild Irish Sea! Hosted for the first time in 1868 at Laytown beach, only a half an hour drive from Dublin City.
Once a year when the tide is low, they build this temporary track on the beach. It doesn’t take much: a rail, a winning post – and there you go – bring on the horses!
Now, I finally made it to Laytown myself. Took me only four years living on the green island to get a Thursday off! The place was rocking when I arrived. No doubt helped by the Irish weather god who was kind enough and sent the sun as the guardian for the afternoon.
Crowds were enormous around the parade ring. It almost felt “Cheltenham like” – no joke! Down on the beach things where a bit more quit and relaxed. Someone sunbathing here, kids playing in the mud there… the horses thundering past only a couple of meters away! Where else do you get that close to these magnificent creatures in full flight?!
And that’s the reason why Laytown proves to be enormously popular with racing fans – locally and internationally. You’ll be hearing plenty of foreign accents…. and cameras! SO many people with cameras! And I mean, not the cheap ones. No, the really good DSLR’s, with some extremely expensive glass attached to it! I looked like an amateur with my D7100 and Tameron telephoto lens. But hey, I’am, after all….
So, what’s the conclusion? Well, Laytown is awesome! It really is. If you ever get the chance – go! You won’t be disappointed. It’s such a unique place… a really beautiful one….. a really special one.
Find some more of my shots from the day below. Open full size through click on the pic. Feel free to share as well of you like them.