Norah Casey jets back from Spain to make it to Galway for Ladies Day
The annual exodus to the west has begun as the social event of the year, the Galway Races, gets under way.
Up to 150,000 spectators are expected to flock to the Ballybrit racecourse this week for six days of mouth-watering racing and fashion rivalry.
The massive crowds will once again put a smile on the faces of the bookmakers who rely on Galway for their busiest -- and most lucrative -- meeting of the year, with more than €10m in revenue expected to be generated from betting slips across the week.
Ladies Day on Thursday will be the week's biggest crowed-puller as thousands of fashionistas compete for the coveted best-dressed title which is worth €12,000 in prizes.
There will be plenty of familiar faces in the crowd, with stylish presenters Kathryn Thomas, Norah Casey and Maura Derrane looking forward to the event as well as models Michelle McGrath and Layla Flaherty.
"I return from Spain on Tuesday and will head down to Galway on Thursday," Norah Casey said.
Known for her love of all things designer, the 49-year-old will arrive just in time for Ladies Day.
Norah will be in good company on the day as she will be joined at the racecourse by the 2013 VIP Most Stylish Lady Kathryn Thomas.
Jockey Katie Walsh and her new husband, Ross, went to Barcelona to relax after their wedding but is all geared up for the races.
"Galway is just unique in itself and one that every trainer tries to have a runner at and then of course a winner.
"You'd want have your wits about you if you are trying to burn the candle at both ends by going racing and into town afterwards," Katie said.
One fashionable lady who has her eyes on the prize is former Desperate Scousewives star Layla Flaherty.
"I didn't know the prize was worth ¿12,000. I will be camping outside if that's the case," she said.
"I never miss it and I always think Thursday is the best day to go because of the fashion and the style," explained the 28-year-old who will be joined by model pals Emily McKeogh and Leah O'Reilly.
* Eimear Rabbitte will be reporting on all the fun, successes and talking points from the Galway Races in the Herald throughout the week.