The horse is synonymous with Ireland and especially County Kildare which is known as the Thoroughbred County. County Kildare has The Irish National Stud & Gardens, three racecourses, the Curragh Plains, RACE Academy and the Bloodstock Agency.
Based at Tully, Kildare Town, The Irish National Stud and Gardens is one of the top attraction of County Kildare and also one of the top visitor attractions in Ireland. It is one of the only thoroughbred breeding farms open to the public. Its unique history and beauty are admired by visitors from around the globe. It welcomes almost 140,000 visitors each year. The Irish National Stud was honoured with a visit by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.
The farm at Tully was purchased from the Fay family in 1900 by Colonel William Hall Walker (later Lord Wavertree), a wealthy Scotsman from a famous brewing family. Hall Walker became the most successful breeder of the age. Between 1906 and 1910 Japanese Gardens were created, devised by Colonel William Hall-Walker and were laid out by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru.
Beginning in the early 1900s, the stud has produced some of the finest racehorses in Europe and to this day, it is still one of the top breeding farms.
In 1915, Colonel Hall-Walker departed to England, presenting his entire Tully property to “The Nation.” Irish National Stud was formally established by incorporation on 11 April 1946 under the National Stud Act, 1945 and is owned by the Irish Government.
The Irish National Stud venue is vast, spanning over 800 acres of Kildare’s finest land.
Today in The Irish National Stud and Gardens visitors can explore Stallion-breeding Stud farm, formal Eastern the world-famous gardens – Japanese Gardens and rugged Irish-style gardens – St. Fiachra’s Garden. Visitors can see mares and foals, stallions and retired equine stars like Faugheen & Beef or Salmon on the stud’s ‘Living Legend’s’ home. Other attractions on-site include lakeside walks, a ‘fairy trail’ for kids and the Irish Horse Museum, a celebration of championship horses and the history of horse racing. There is also a play area, located near St. Fiachra’s Garden and caters for children of all ages.
The Irish National Stud and Gardens is great place for visit and spend few hours. And a great day out deserves a great meal, which you can enjoying in The Japanese Gardens Restaurant. The bright restaurant is pleasantly decorated with oil table cloths, cream chairs and large windows overlooking the Japanese gardens.
The Irish National Stud and Gardens are open Monday to Sunday (including Bank Holidays) 10.00am to 18.00pm. from February until November.
The entry ticket price for Irish National Stud & Gardens is: Adults, €11.00 ; Children (Under 16), €6.00 ; Children (Under 3), Free ; Seniors, €9.00 ; Students, €9.00. (includes entry to the Japanese Gardens, the Horse Museum, St. Fiachra’s Garden and a tour of the Stud). Daily guided tours of the stud last approximately 45 minutes. Free Car Parking.
For more information visit: irishnationalstud.ie
On the grounds of the Irish National Stud are also located the riuns of Black Abbey. The Black Abbey was founded in 1212 in Tully by the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem – now known as the Knights of Malta.
The famous Kildare Village is only 5 minutes drive from The Irish National Stud and Gardens. The design of Kildare Village, as individual boutique stores facing an open-air, landscaped pedestrianised boulevard, is inspired by the ambience and scale of the region’s stables and stud farms.
Location of The Irish National Stud and Gardens:
Below my photos taken in April 2022.