Irish National Stud and Gardens, Kildare
The Irish National Stud and Gardens can be found in Tully, Co. Kildare. Open all year round, seven days a week, visitors have the option to purchase Admission Only tickets, Season tickets or Tour tickets, with children under three years old free. The farm also hosts a number of seasonal events throughout the year too – so be sure to connect with them via their social accounts to keep up to date – details further on.
Known worldwide for over a century for its champion horses, today the Irish National Stud is so much more than an award-winning stud farm. For a family-friendly day out, along with its beautiful stallions, mares and foals – it’s home to the Japanese Gardens, St Fiachra’s Gardens, a Kids Zone, Living Legends and the brand new Irish Racehorse Experience.
And here to give you a taste of what to expect when you visit is our latest experience:
The Fairy Trail
From hidden fairy doors to fairy bbq’s, the boys had a wonderful time running in and out of the grounds dedicated to the little people. And when the last door was found, we were greeted with more magic – in the shape of St. Fiachra’s Gardens.
Note: Also on site is the Kids Zone – a dedicated play area for small children that includes swings, slides and climbing platforms. You’ll also find that the play area looks out over the Irish National Stud’s very own fallabella family – we met Homer and Marge on our visit, and the Living Legends paddocks – you can read about them further on.
For those with very small children you’ll be happy to know that the grounds are pram friendly, with baby changing facilities on site. And if you and your littles are feeling peckish – when the coffee shop isn’t open for business in off season, the restaurant is open seven days a week.
St Fiachra’s Garden
St. Fiachra’s Gardens is a magical nature reserve, with flourishing greenery, red squirrels, ducks and birds. Designed in 1999 by award-winning landscape architect Professor Martin Hallinan, the gardens have truly come into themselves over the past twenty years.
Named after the Patron Saint of Gardeners, you’ll even spot a statue of Fiachra looking out over the lake – the perfect spot for some meditation. Next to the lake you’ll find the Monastic Cells, replicas of the those found at Skellig Michael, but just as beautiful as their influencers. Take a walk inside and the glittering magic of the Waterford Crystal rocks in the floor will have you doubt for a second if the fairies at the Irish National Stud are real.
Mares & Stallions
If you decide to take the guided tour of the Irish National Stud, like we did with the wonderful Ellen, you’ll learn all about the farms mares, stallions and foals. Visit from January to May and early June and you might even get the opportunity to witness a newly born foal or two. This photo below was taken on one of our previous visits.
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Known as ‘The Thoroughbred County’, Kildare is home to over one hundred stud farms but none more famous and well-known than the Irish National Stud in Tully. With a history spanning over a century, the farm has produced winners of all the most important racing events in Ireland and England alike – from all five English Classics; the Derby to the Two Thousand Guineas, to Cheltenham, the Royal Ascot, and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
You don’t have to be a racing guru to know that ‘Beef or Salmon’, ‘Hardy Eustace’, ‘Hurricane Fly’ and ‘Rite of Passage’ are racing legends and along with their championship history the important factor that ties them together is that today they all call the Irish National Stud their home. And isn’t it the perfect retirement home for living legends! Photographed below is Hurricane Fly with Hardy Eustace in the background, again a photo taken from a previous family day out.
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And when it comes to the Stallions of nowadays – you’ll get the opportunity to see a number of champions from ‘Invincible Spirit’ to ‘Phoenix of Spain’ – prized for their performances on and off the race track!
Irish Racehorse Experience
The newest addition to the Irish National Stud is the Irish Racehorse Experience. This purpose built attraction will soon be lighting up the eyes of visitors of all ages. Fully interactive, the Irish Racehorse Experience is just that – it brings you, as a virtual horse owner and jockey through every aspect of horse racing, from the birth of a foal, to the health of a race horse, the history and biology. From racing fashion and racing commentary, to how a flutter on the horses actually works. And at the end of it all, you even get the chance to mount your horse and race across the final hurdle.
The Japanese Gardens
The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens have been attracting guests for over 100 years, ever since they were born in the early 1900’s under the instructions of then owner Colonel William Hall Walker, and the creative control of Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. Known worldwide as one of the finest examples of Japanese Gardens in Europe, today the Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens welcomes more than 120,000 visitors each year. And it isn’t hard to understand why!
From stepping stones over water, and rocks up high through trees, plants and flowers, the gardens take us over lawns and bridges, on a path that symbolises the ‘Life of Man’, or woman. And we love it.
Our most recent visit to the Irish National Stud and Gardens was part of a family press trip with #IntoKildare to explore our home county of Kildare. For more on our trip visit:
- Get Into Kildare – A Fun Family Weekend Experience
- Adventure at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park, Kildare
We love where we live, and this Island of Ireland, and always encourage others to explore where they live too. For more inspiration – we have over one hundred Travel the Island of Ireland articles on our Travel the Island of Ireland page. For further afield visit our Travel the World page.
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