In the mood for a day trip outside of Dublin? The National stud might be just the place. Made up of a series of attractions in one setting, the National Stud consists of the stud farm, Horse museum, Living legends, Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s gardens.
The stud farm found in Kildare was established at the beginning of the 20th century by Colonel William Hall Walker. It has since given rise to many racing champions. The Living Legends housed at the stud include six of the most successful racehorses who have now retired and can be visited at the stud. The Horse Museum consists of a skeleton of a previous steeplechasing champion, Arkel, and memorabilia from other great champions.
The Japanese Gardens are another aspect of the stud, designed by horticulturist Tassa Edia between 1906 and 1910. The gardens represent the journey a person takes in their life. It is a place of serenity, an opportunity to meditate and relax.
St. Fiachra’s garden is a commemoration to St. Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners. It was designed by landscape architect Professor Martin Hallinan in 1999. This garden aims to mirror the natural Irish landscape, while complementing the surrounding stud.
There are guided tours at 10:30, 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00. There are also multilingual self tours available in 8 languages.
There is a restaurant at the National Stud serving a selection of sandwiches, wraps and lunch dishes including vegetarian and gluten free options. The also serve tea, coffee and freshly baked pastries and desserts. Open 9-5 everyday.
There is a Dublin Coach service which will bring you to Kildare Village for 5 euro (one way). The bus leaves Burgh Quay twice an hour. There is a connecting shuttle bus which will bring you from Kildare Village Outlet to the National Stud.
Alternatively the Bus Eireann 126 service runs during the week and at weekends. On Saturdays, a bus leaves beside Connolly Luas stop at 9:30 and 13:30. It has a return service at 11:20 and 15:50.
There is a train to Kildare town from Heuston station. There, a shuttle bus can transport you to the National stud.
More information at http://irishnationalstud.ie/home