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The Curragh ( /( )/ KURR-ə(kh); Irish : An Currach [ənˠ ˈkʊɾˠəx] ) is a flat open plain of almost 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of common land in Newbridge, County Kildare. This area is well known for Irish horse breeding and training. The Irish National Stud is located on the edge of Kildare town, beside the famous Japanese Gardens. Also located here is Pollardstown Fen, the largest fen in Ireland. This area is of particular interest to botanists and ecologists because of the numerous bird species that nest and visit there. There are also many rare plants that grow there.
It is composed of a sandy soil formed after an esker deposited a sand load and as a result it has excellent drainage characteristics. This makes it a popular location for training racehorses.
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Used as a meeting site during Pre-Christian societies, the Curragh is shrouded in a mist of mythology. The hill north of the Curragh is called the Hill of Allen (Almhain) and is the meeting place of the mythical Fianna. Legend has it that in about 480 AD, when St Brigid became intent on founding a monastery in Kildare town, she asked the High King of Leinster for the land on which to build it. When he granted her as much land as her cloak would cover, she then placed her cloak on the ground to cover the entire Curragh plain.
On 1 April 1234, The 3rd Earl of Pembroke lost a battle at the Curragh against a group of men loyal to King Henry III of England. Lord Pembroke was wounded in the battle, and died at his castle at Kilkenny on 16 April.
It was a common site for mustering the armies of the Pale (see Essex in Ireland). During the 1798 Rebellion there was a massacre in the Curragh at Gibbet Rath. The Curragh Camp is now located there, where the Irish Defence Forces undergo training.
At a natural bowl-shaped amphitheatre on the Curragh known locally as Donnelly's Hollow the Irish champion boxer Dan Donnelly defeated the English champion George Cooper in 1815, before a large crowd. Donnelly had a famed reach and the remains of his arm were on show until recently in the Hideout Pub in the nearby town of Kilcullen.
In 1866, a commission was appointed by the British Treasury to report into the use made of the Curragh and make recommendations on legislation.It reported in 1868, and led to the Curragh of Kildare Act, 1868.
On 2 January 1941 the Curragh was bombed by the Luftwaffe, the air force of the Third Reich, causing slight damage. One SC250 bomb remains unaccounted for.
The earliest mention of the Curragh in legal documents was 1299, when an Act was passed, to prevent swine feeding on the Curragh plains to the detriment of the sward.
In 1865 the houses of parliament set up a commission to examine the Curragh. The findings of this led to the enactment of the Curragh of Kildare Act 1868. This created the honorary position of a Ranger tasked with the care, management and preservation of the Curragh for the purpose of horseracing and training of horses.
The 1868 act also provided for a second commission to report on the use of the Curragh for common pasture. This report is detailed in the 1870 Curragh of Kildare act. This act specifies sheep grazing rights for the Curragh.
After the Anglo Irish treaty of 1921 the lands of the Curragh passed from the Crown to the Minister for Finance of the Irish State.
In 1961 a new Curragh of Kildare Act repealed the 1868 act and sections of the 1870 act. It also abolished the office of the Ranger and transferred its duties to the department of Defence.
There has been a permanent military presence in the curragh since 1856.The Curragh Camp is now home to the Defence Forces Training Centre of the Irish Defence Forces.
Records of women, known as Wrens of the Curragh, who were paid for sex work by soldiers at the camp, go back to the 1840s.They lived in 'nests' half-hollowed out of banks and ditches, which were covered in furze bushes; their lifestyle was communal - money and resources were shared amongst the (up to 60) women who lived there. Whilst many women were sex workers, others had common-law marriages to soldiers but were barred from living within the camp itself. The women's presence is no longer reported after the 1880s.
The Curragh Racecourse on the plain is Ireland's Premier Flat Racecourse. Every year, it hosts all five classic races in the racing calendar: the Irish Derby Stakes, the Irish Oaks, the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the St. Leger.
On 2 July 1903, the Gordon Bennett Cup ran through the Curragh. It was the first international motor race to be held in what was then the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland wanted the race to be hosted in the United Kingdom (as it existed then), and Ireland was suggested as the venue because racing was illegal on British public roads. Following a lobbying campaign, local laws were adjusted, and Kildare was chosen on the basis of the straightness its roads. As a compliment to Ireland, the British team chose to race in Shamrock green [a] which later became known as British racing green. 528 km (328 mi) race was won by the Belgian racer Camille Jenatzy, driving a Mercedes.The route consisted of several loops of a circuit that passed-through Kilcullen, the Curragh, Kildare, Monasterevin, Stradbally, Castledermot, Carlow, and Athy. The
After The Emergency both motor cars and motorcycle racing took place on occasions drawing crowds up to 30,000. For eight years from 1947 until 1954 cars competed, while motorcycle racing continued until 1967. 2.69 km (1.67 mi) course known as the "Short circuit" but eight years later the death of Don Beauman during at a different Irish venue plus other fatal racing accidents in 1955 brought an end to motor car racing at the Curragh. The 1951 Wakefield Trophy was won by the then 22-year-old Stirling Moss.The first race was run by the Leinster Motor Club on 12 July 1947 over a
The Curragh Camp has two primary schools (national schools); Curragh Girls' National School, Curragh Boys' National School. It has one secondary school, the Curragh Post Primary School (PPS), which has been situated beside the parade ground since 1933. Curragh Girls' School and Curragh PPS have approximately 200 pupils with a population of 191 as of 2015/16 school year. The Curragh Boys' School has 112 pupils.[ citation needed ]
a. ^ According to Leinster Leader, 11 April 1903, Britain had to choose a different colour to its usual national colours of red, white and blue, as these had already been taken by Italy, Germany and France respectively. It also stated red as the colour for American cars in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup.
County Kildare is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the town of Kildare. Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county, which has a population of 222,504.
Kildare is a town in County Kildare, Ireland. As of 2016, its population was 8,634 making it the 7th largest town in County Kildare. The town lies on the R445, some 50 km (31 mi) west of Dublin – near enough for it to have become, despite being a regional centre in its own right, a commuter town for the capital. Although Kildare gives its name to the county, Naas is the county town.
Athy is a market town at the meeting of the River Barrow and the Grand Canal in south-west County Kildare, Ireland, 72 kilometres southwest of Dublin. A population of 9,677 makes it the sixth largest town in Kildare and the 50th largest in the Republic of Ireland, with a growth rate of approximately 60% since the 2002 census.
Naas is the county town of County Kildare in Ireland. In 2016, it had a population of 21,393, making it the second largest town in County Kildare after Newbridge.
As one of three Gordon Bennett Cups established by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., millionaire owner of the New York Herald, the automobile racing award was first given in 1900 in France.
Stradbally is a town in County Laois, Ireland, located in the midlands of Ireland along the N80 road, a National Secondary Route, about 12 km (7 mi) from Portlaoise. It is a townland, a civil parish and historic barony. It is known for its "Steam Rally" and the Electric Picnic.
Newbridge, officially known by its Irish name Droichead Nua, is a town in County Kildare, Ireland. While the nearby Great Connell Priory was founded in the 13th century, the town itself formed from the 18th century onwards, and grew rapidly alongside a military barracks which opened in the early 19th century. Taking on the name Newbridge in the 20th century, the town expanded to support the local catchment, and also as a commuter town for Dublin. Doubling in population during the 20 years between 1991 and 2011, its population of 22,742 in 2016 makes it the largest town in Kildare and the fifteenth-largest in Ireland.
British racing green, or BRG, is a colour similar to Brunswick green, hunter green, forest green or moss green. It takes its name from the green international motor racing colour of the United Kingdom. This originated with the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup, held in Ireland, as motor-racing on public roads was illegal in Great Britain. As a mark of respect, the British cars were painted shamrock green.
Monasterevin, also Monasterevan, is a town in County Kildare, Ireland. The town lies on the River Barrow and the Barrowline, a canal branch of the Grand Canal. The population was 4,246 at the 2016 Census.
Mondello Park is Ireland's only international motorsport venue and is located in Caragh, County Kildare off the R409 regional road, approximately 30 miles (48 km) from Dublin city centre.
The Curragh Camp is an army base and military college in The Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland. It is the main training centre for the Irish Defence Forces and is home to 2,000 military personnel.
Kilcullen, formally Kilcullen Bridge, is a small town on the River Liffey in County Kildare, Ireland. Its population of 3,473 (2011 Census makes it the 12th largest settlement in County Kildare and the fastest growing in the county, having doubled in population from 1,483 in the census of 2002. It is situated primarily in the Barony of Kilcullen, with part in the Barony of Naas South, and subsidiary areas include Logstown, Harristown, Carnalway and Brannockstown, Gilltown, Nicholastown, and Castlemartin.
Carlow is the county town of County Carlow, in the south-east of Ireland, 84 km (52 mi) from Dublin. At the 2016 census, it had a combined urban and rural population of 24,272.
The Curragh Racecourse -- usually referred to as simply the Curragh -- is one of Ireland's most important Thoroughbred racecourses. It is situated on the Curragh plain in County Kildare, between the towns of Newbridge and Kildare.
Calverstown is a small village in County Kildare, Ireland. It lies 6 km (3.7 mi) south of the town of Kilcullen and about 16 km (9.9 mi) from each of the towns of Athy, Kildare, Naas and Newbridge. It is an old settlement located close to the archaeological sites of Dún Ailinne and Old Kilcullen. The village has a stream running through it with another to the south. As of the 2016 census, Calverstown had a population of 699.
The Curragh is a plain in County Kildare, Ireland.
The 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup, formally titled the IV Coupe Internationale, was a motor race held on 2 July 1903, on the Athy Circuit consisting of closed roads in Ireland. The race consisted of seven laps - alternating for six laps over a shorter circuit to the west of Athy and longer circuit to the East, before a final lap on the longer circuit to make the total distance 527 km. A British entry had won the previous edition of the race, which meant that the rights to host the race fell to the Automobile Club of Britain and Ireland. Legislation was passed to allow the race to take place on roads in Ireland, then a part of the United Kingdom. Britain were to attempt to defend the Gordon Bennett Cup against France, Germany and the USA, and each country was represented by three entries, with the car that finished the race in the shortest time winning the race on behalf of his country.
The Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE) is a jockey training school at the Irish National Stud near Kildare, Ireland. Its Trainee Jockey Course is a foundation course in race riding and stable work, taught in a 42-week residential program. Students typically go on to either jockey apprenticeships or stable work after completing the course. Johnny Murtagh and Cathy Gannon are among those who have gone on to success as racing jockeys after taking the Trainee Jockey Course. RACE also offers other training and certification in race riding, the care of horses and racehorse training, including riding courses for international students. The Irish School of Farriery run by the Irish Farriery Authority is located in a purpose-built building on the RACE campus, and several other organisations involved in the equine sector are also located here.
Maurice Dunne is a racing driver, active in years 1975-1989.
Horse racing in Ireland is intricately linked with Irish culture and society. The racing of horses has a long history on the island, being mentioned in some of the earliest texts. Domestically, racing is one of Ireland's most popular spectator sports, while on the international scene, Ireland is one of the strongest producers and trainers of Thoroughbred horses. The Irish horse racing industry is closely linked with that of Great Britain, with Irish horses regularly competing and winning on the British racing circuit.