The Cheltenham Festival and the Irish

We’re sharing this short video not because we endorse gambling or one betting company over another. But because it’s a funny and very true representation of what the Cheltenham Festival means to the Irish.

‘It is said the land level of Ireland rises a few feet every March because so many people have left for the National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham,’ wrote former amateur rider Anne Holland in her book ‘Festival fever. The Irish at Cheltenham.’

The Cheltenham Festival runs over four days from March 10 to 13 and the overall Irishness of the event is no doubt assisted by the fact St Patrick’s Day falls on the second to last day – the last day being the staging of the showpiece Gold Cup.

Little known fact: Ireland has 50 thoroughbred horses per 10,000 people - ten times more than Britain. That makes Ireland certifiably the most horse-mad country in the world and the reason that Irish carrier Ryanair will put on at least an additional 30 charter flights just to handle the vast mass of people travelling to the normally reserved Cotswold market town.

That’s why another tradition is the sign at Dublin airport just ahead of the Festival asking the last person out of Ireland to ‘please turn off the lights.’

Paddy Power: Legendary Irish actor Colm Meaney leads a star Paddy Power cast into battle against the ‘auld enemy’ ahead of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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