Starter’s flag is raised on later than usual Béal Bán Races
THE thunder of hooves will echo around Smerwick Harbour on Sunday, September 24, when the golden sand of Béal Bán hosts what is probably the most scenic race meeting in the country.
The races are being held later than usual this year, having been originally scheduled for July. However, a difficulty with insurance arose in advance of the meeting and the committee had no option but to postpone the event.
Postponing a summer fixture in West Kerry is always a problem because it can mean going to the back of the long list of festivals, regattas and other events that fill every available weekend from June to September. However, the committee got great local support and encouragement to keep the tradition alive and the delay meant they had ample time to sort out the insurance issue, which has now been resolved satisfactorily.
There was great support also from horse owners and trainers across Munster who bring their animals to race at Beál Bán, and regard the meeting as one of the best of its kind in the country.
The races will start at 1pm and, with the incoming tide demanding a tight schedule, the nine races on the card will be complete by 5pm. The feature race of the day is the appropriately named Béal Bán Derby with a value of €700, while off-track entertainment will include a competition for the best dressed man and woman at the meeting.
People going to the races can get to Béal Bán strand via Árd na Caithne, Gorta Dúbha or the Cloonties road, on the Dingle side of Baile an Fheirtéaraigh. Race Committee Secretary Diarmuid Mac a’ tSaoir advises spectators to use the Cloonties route where there is ample car parking space and far less chance of getting caught in traffic.
There is a €5 entrance fee and any profits from the meeting will be donated to Cumann Caide na mBan Chorca Dhuibhne.
Action for last year’s Béal Bán Races.