Exploring Ireland’s equine obsession in County Kildare
One of Ireland’s most beloved institutions is horse racing and the Irish National Stud & Gardens is a sprawling complex of fields, paddocks and offices devoted to breeding and raising the next generation of great thoroughbreds. The property outside the town of Kildare in County Kildare has long been a popular attraction.
Among the faces that greet visitors is of Col. William Hall-Walker, a sportsman and gambler who founded the complex on farmland he bought in the 1890s.
Where there are horses — especially a lot of horses — there is hay. This barn was stacked to the rafters with bales that weigh 1,000-1,2000 pounds each.
Guided tours of the Irish National Stud & Gardens grounds are available throughout the day for free. Visitors can also wander the property on their own.
Among the more popular areas are the pastures set aside for mares and foals. Although avoid attracting the attention of the youngsters. The mothers are quick to protect their offspring.
The Mares and Foals pastures are a great opportunity to see the next generation of Ireland’s top thoroughbreds.
The grounds are immaculately groomed, and flowers line pathways through the property’s central areas.
Sun Chariot Yard
Also on the National Stud grounds is the Black Abbey, built in the early 13th century as a preceptors for the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The abbey and surrounding graves are fenced off, but still offer a peek of the ancient past to go with the modern day.
IF YOU GO
Learn more about the Irish National Stud &Gardens at www.irishnationalstud.ie Join me on other trips at: SpudHilton.com Or follow me at @spudhilton on Instagram or Twitter. #loveireland #digitalireland