04 Feb 2020
Feel the long history of the Irish people and their horses in the lush green landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East.
The Irish are known all over the world for their unique understanding, bond and expertise with horses. It’s in their genes, part of their ancient history, ingrained in an internationally celebrated thoroughbred industry and expressed in everyday culture.
The legendary passion for the thunder of hooves runs especially deep in Ireland’s Ancient East.
It’s the ideal destination for those who love the sport of kings, home to the Curragh, the epicentre of Irish flat racing and the largest horse training centre in the country, as well as over a dozen racecourses, the Irish National Stud and numerous other equestrian activities and attractions.
For pure horse-racing action, head to the likes of the Curragh’s first meeting of the year on 29 March, which will feature entertainment for all the family, or to the Fairyhouse Easter Festival in County Meath from 11–13 April. This much anticipated fixture on the annual racing calendar includes the Irish Grand National.
Irish National Stud, County Kildare
If you prefer to soak up the area’s equine history and heritage, the National Stud in County Kildare will be well worth a visit and a tour. The beating heart of Ireland's bloodstock industry, it houses some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world.
A horse museum presents artefacts, illustrations and texts telling the history of the horse in Ireland, and includes a display of the skeleton of iconic Irish steeplechaser Arkle, a three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
The stud’s Japanese Gardens, renowned as the finest of their kind in Europe, will provide more treats for the eye, while St Fiachra’s Garden captures the Irish landscape in its rawest and most beautiful state.
For those who relish three-day eventing, Ireland’s Ancient East will be buzzing from 27 May–2 June to the sights and sounds of the Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair. Taking place in a 100-acre farm in County Meath, this top-class Irish equestrian event features the best in dressage, cross country and showjumping.
The Country Fair will suit everyone from toddlers to great-grandparents, with plenty of good food, bars, entertainment, fun and a three-acre shopping village.
Or look further ahead to the Dublin Horse Show (15–19 July), regarded not just as a summer celebration of Ireland's affinity with the horse, but as one of the best equestrian shows in the world.
This potent mix of showjumping, style and socialising is one of the best places to soak up Ireland’s outstanding equestrian action.
Dublin Horse Show, County Dublin
Tattersalls International Horse Trials & County Fair, County Meath
National Stud & Gardens, County Kildare
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