The racing of horses in Ireland is as old as the nation itself. In the pre-Christian era we have evidence that the Red Branch Knights raced among themselves, matching their horses against each other, as did the Fianna warriors in the third century A.D. Racing today is huge in the country for our employment and for our economy. Racing in the early days struggled without a governing body and without a proper structure. This all seemed to change once the Jockey Club was formed on the idea of the English Jockey in Newmarket. However, the Jockey failed as money issues and other problems led to its demise. This essay aims to examine firstly the impact of the English Jockey Club in Ireland, secondly why the Jockey Club failed, and third the
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In 1752, The Jockey Club leased a plot of land in Newmarket where a Coffee House was constructed in the High Street as a meeting place for its members. Soon The Jockey Club purchased the freehold, which became known as the Jockey Club Rooms, as it is today. The Jockey Club established rules to ensure races on Newmarket heath were run fairly. These proved so successful that they were gradually adopted by racecourses around the country and soon, internationally. From setting the Rules of Racing, over time, The Jockey Club took on the responsibility of becoming the official governing body for horseracing in Britain.
The Jockey Club in Ireland was formed at a rather unusual time. The nineteenth century was rather turmoil for the foundation of clubs and sports; however the eighteenth century was “strikingly modest” for the cultivation and organisation of sporting activities. The result of urbanisation must contribute towards the creation of clubs in the in the eighteenth century. For example the population of Kildare town, where the Jockey Club in Ireland was formed, grew from 900 in 1750 to 1800 in 1800. Sporting occasions in the eighteenth century were more important form “conviviality and sociability, as well as political bonding”.
The word “Curragh” means place of the running horse. As early as the third century there was chariot racing on the Curragh. This is