Killanin Stand, Galway Racecourse

Killanin Stand



Structural Engineer


Steelwork Contractor


Main Contractor




Galway Racecourse plays host to one of Ireland’s most popular and historic race meetings. With attendees increasing year on year, the Course’s old west stand was deemed to be too small and the only feasible option was to construct a new grandstand to satisfy this growing demand.

The Killanin Stand was built at a total cost of €22 million and has a capacity of 6000 people. The two lower levels offer 700 free seats, bar facilities, snack areas, restaurants, tote hall and toilets, while the top two levels consist of corporate hospitality.

Work on site began in August 2006 with an 11 month window effectively in place as the new stand had to be ready for the 2007 festival which began on 31 July 2007. This timetable was one of the biggest challenges associated with the project. Including ground level, the new steel framed grandstand is a four storey structure, topped with a 14m cantilever roof with pre-cast concrete terracing.

Once the foundations had been completed in autumn 2006 erection of the structural steelwork began and was predominately finished within a 12 week programme – this included the application of intumescent paint which was applied in the workshop and also approximately 4,000m2 of metal decking.

A lot of pre planning was necessary because of the tight schedule. Each party to the design team had to liaise closely with other trades working on the project. For instance, as the majority of the steelwork had intumescent paint, elements such as glazing support brackets had to be welded in place in the workshop as site welding would not have been possible. The grandstand roof had a total of 67 trusses, most of them different sizes and very labour intensive to produce.

Column and beam steelwork for the first, second and third levels was erected in predominantly 7m x 4.5m grids, being replaced with double space 14m x 9m grids at the front of the grandstand on the upper two storeys. This design was to ensure better views of the racecourse from the upper floors by erecting fewer columns. To support these floors 10 large trusses on two levels had to be installed. These 1.6m deep floor trusses were erected parallel to the course and had to match the profile of the glass elevation. A similar approach was adopted for the curved glass drum where a 4.5 m cantilever was utilised at second and third floors in order to eliminate the need for columns, thus providing unobstructed views of the course.

On the plan the roof is not symmetrical. The roof structure itself is a very complex and irregular shape being 92.5m long, 31.25m wide and 20.5m high curving longitudinally and transversely with a 14m cantilever to the front elevation. It is this curvature that made the detailing/fabrication and construction time consuming due to the individual variations of each truss.

Judges’ Comment


This elegant new stand provides an excellent addition to this popular racecourse.

The swooping doubly-curved roof cantilevers over the terracing, and the steelwork is extensively exposed to view. The geometry required intricate fabrication and erection, and the numerous cladding fixings are neatly expressed. The full construction process was completed within the closed season, over a very wet and windy winter.

Altogether this is a fine example of intelligent cooperation between the design team and the contractors.