Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens

Discover the beauty of the Japanese Gardens and enjoy a guided tour of the Stud

Irish National Stud and Gardens

Discover the beauty of the Japanese Gardens and enjoy a guided tour of the National Stud.

Do the magical surroundings of the Irish Stud improve the well-being of the horses? Many think so and maybe Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Five of the Queens winners were trained here. Visit and enjoy the fabulous gardens too. The limestone-filtered water, world-class training and well-managed breeding is the answer to their success.  

Take a day tour from Dublin or book a Private Tour of Ireland with a driver-guide. Alternatively explore Ireland in-depth and make the Irish National Stud part of your trip. 

The Finest Japanese Gardens in Europe

Overview and a brief history of the Irish National Stud and Gardens

The Japanese Gardens
National Stud and the Japanese gardens owe their existence to Colonel William Hall-Walker to become Lord Wavertree. In 1906, he employed a Japanese gardener, Eida, and his son Minora, to lay out a garden next door to his stud in Kildare. The gardens have achieved international acclaim as the finest Japanese gardens in Europe. 

The Japanese gardens representing the marriage of Eastern and Western cultures, the gardens have deep symbolism. They are a living representation of the journey taken by a soul from Oblivion to Eternity.  You start your trip from a cavern in a rock. The stages include the Cave of Birth featuring a Cherry tree, progressing through a dark tunnel of ignorance to the Hill of Learning topped with a tall pine tree, to The Parting of the Ways. From darkness, the path leads to the light of unfolding knowledge. The journey continues to symbols of success, failures and the Well of Wisdom and, ultimately, to the garden of peace and contentment.   

Interpreting the symbolism is naturally a subjective process. However, undeniable is the quality of thought and care lavished on the gardens that abound vast collections of unusual shrubs and trees. Also featured are items shipped from Japan that include stone lanterns, and a miniature village carved out of rock from Mount Fuji.

The National Stud
Situated in the deep green pasturelands surrounding Kildare and amongst ancient towns and villages, ruined monasteries, and Round Towers is the National Stud.
Founded in 1902 and is today run by the Irish Government. Its primary purpose is to provide expertise and breeding services to Ireland's famous bloodstock and racing industries.

They have a large stable of stallions housed in 'lantern' boxes, so-called because they have skylights. Colonel Hall-Walker introduced these, a firm believer in the moon's effect and stars on racehorses' performance. The astrological time of each foal born in the stud was analysed, and those found to be unfavourable would be sold. His methods proved surprisingly successful.

Touring and accommodation
Guided tours of the stud include the stallion boxes, the foaling unit, and the museum, which is fascinating and portrays the story of the horse's evolution from the earliest times to the present day. It includes an unusual exhibit: the skeleton of Arkle, one of the greatest steeplechasers of all time who had to be put to sleep after cracking a bone in his leg. A visit to the National Stud and Japanese gardens is featured in our Classic Ireland Tour.

However, we can always customise our tours to reflect any specific interests or requirements you may have. A day trip from Dublin for a few days our Tour Designers can arrange a driver-guided day tour to the National Stud. You may wish to add-on a stop in the Wicklow Mountains before returning to Dublin. Alternatively, we can tailor a driver-guided tour and continue your trip further south to Waterford and-or Kilkenny. We would then recommend a one or two night stop at Mount Juliet Hotel and Estate to enjoy the various facilities before moving on to the next region.

Pride of Ireland

Famous Japanese gardens, wonderful landscapes and tour the Stud

  • Private Guided Tours Available
  • Explore the World Famous Gardens
  • Kids Zone
  • One Hour from Dublin

Help us make your trip exceptional

Our UK and EU office based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.

Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.

We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.

We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.

Contact information

From the UK: +44(0)20 8669 3666

FREE from Canada or the USA: 1-888-472-1799

Email: [email protected]

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