We have nearly reached the final week of July and for Galway it is the peace and calm before the storm of buzz and excitement that is engendered by the world renowned Galway Summer Races Festival.
Can you believe that it has already been a year? Yes Race Week is nearly upon us once again and people from far and near will descend on the city and Ballybrit racecourse to experience the thrills, spills, glitz, and glamour over seven fun filled days of racing. But for those who have not sampled the delights of Galway on Race Week, the question may be asked, 'What is one to expect?'
G is for giddy-up
If ever a term was to be associated with horse racing this is it. Listening to William Tell's Overture while pruning your beard or figuring out which one of the 20 pairs of high heels will go best with the dress, is one sure way to get you in the mood for the upcoming horse racing. Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-up-up; giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-up-up. Excited yet?A is for accumulator
Not what's on the betting slip but how to enjoy the day. Make sure to go out and sample as much of the city as possible. Do not take forever to get ready or spend your time in one place; there are plenty of things to do. Then, catch the bus to the Ballybrit racecourse and soak up the atmosphere from the bookies shouting out the odds, watching the fine specimen of animals on parade, to the actual racing. This is one accumulator that you have the control to determine the outcome.
L is for Ladies' Day
Ladies' Days are an integral part of any race festival and Galway is no different. The women are dressed up to the nines for all seven days but Ladies' Day is the biggest and best of the lot with the vast numbers of competitions run by the Racecourse and the many fine establishments around Galway to find the most stylish lady. For anyone with an inkling of an interest in fashion, Thursday July 28 is not to be missed.
W is for winners
What many come to do and what many achieve. Why? Because it is not about how many horses you back that are successful [although it does lift the mood], it is about how much the person enjoys the day out and when you come to Galway during Race Week it is guaranteed you will do that.
A is for atmosphere
The atmosphere around Galway is electric for the week as the festival attracts huge crowds of people to the city all in search of good fun. With many of the hotels, bars, and restaurants buying into the fun, it is difficult not to appreciate the day.
Y is for youth
Not something associated with many other race festivals is the activities for young children. Family Days take place on Saturday and Sunday and children are admitted free for these two days. The emphasis at the Ballybrit Racecourse is on fun and colour for these days. There is plenty to keep the children entertained with bouncy castles, slides, face painting, and crazy characters throughout the enclosure.
R is for races
Not the ones on the horse track but the race to the bar for food and beverages. With the huge number of people present in Galway there is extra pressure to satisfy the belly. However, not to worry as Galway has a plethora of top quality bars and restaurants prepared for the invasion of people. A tip would be to book ahead and avail of some of the great offers from hotels, bars, and restaurants. Rest assured you will not go hungry or thirsty on Race Week.
A is for animals
It would be a remiss not to mention the magnificent animals that play such a huge part in the week. These horses are some of the finest in the world and you can get up close and personal with them as they are paraded before the start of each race.
C is for craic
Take it as a given; you will enjoy Race Week whatever day for which a ticket is purchased.
E is for entertainment
After the racing has concluded for the day, make your way back to the city when the town comes alive. Many hotels and bars will have a vast array of entertainment lined up for the week, so you will not be disappointed. Some establishments require pre-booking so make sure to plan the night out before you go out.
S is for sun
When the sun is beating down on Ballybrit Racecourse on a lazy July afternoon, there are not many events that will supercede a day out at the Galway Races.
That is all the advice that there is to offer on the Galway Races. It will not be long until Monday July 25 comes around. Let's go racing.