Laytown racing emerged 140 years ago when it was held in conjunction with a rowing competition. Today, the races are organized when the tide is low, allowing a wide expanse of sandy beach to be converted to a makeshift racecourse. I, along with the rest of the Flying Starters, quickly learned that the Laytown meeting is a popular social event for Irish racing enthusiasts.
When we arrived at Laytown, we were met by a jovial atmosphere that included a large crowd, numerous food and beverage tents, and Irish music. When the rain cleared after the second race we were allowed to walk right on to the beach, and it was certainly something spectacular.
While the boys preferred to stay close to the action, us girls walked as far as could toward the water. We enjoyed taking photos and collecting Irish seashells. When a rainbow appeared in the sky above, we knew for sure we had struck gold.
The highlight of the day was watching a race trackside at the furlong pole. The compact sand made for a hoof-rattling surface, and I felt excitement race through my body as the horses charged past, close enough to reach out and touch.
I think it’s safe to say that a great day was had by all. My day at Laytown was certainly a day I’ll cherish for a long time. Check out these photos to understand why: