The Irish National Stud , Kildare.

On the way up from South to North Ireland Luxury Tours avail of a fantastic stopping point. On your tour of Ireland it is worth cosidering the love that the Irish have of horses. To that end this is a magnificent attraction.

Established in 1946, the Irish National Stud combines an active role in the development and promotion of Irish bloodstock with its role as one of the country’s major tourist attractions.

The Museum is now a state of the art modern exhibition where the Sport of Kings comes to life.

When you step into this state of the art exhibition area it’s hard to believe that the building was once the home of a groom and was later converted to stallion boxes to house such famous horses as Tulyar and Royal Charger.

The exhibition tells the story of man and horse uniting for sporting competition.

More specifically, the story is of Ireland’s long love affair with horse racing, and horse racing’s love affair with Ireland.

The lands of the Irish National Stud include the world-famous Japanese Gardens.

The Japanese Gardens at Tully were created between the years 1906-1910. Devised by Colonel William Hall-Walker (later Lord Wavertree), a wealthy Scotsman of a famous brewery family and laid out by the Japanese Eida and his son Minoru.

The Gardens, planned to symbolise the ‘Life of Man’, are now of international renown and are acclaimed as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe.

The gardens at Tully are a living monument to the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures in a Western setting. The symbolism of life the garden portrays traces the journey of a soul from Oblivion to Eternity and the human experience of its embodiment as it journeys by paths of its own choice through life. Typical ambitions toward education, marriage, or a contemplative or carefree life, achievement, happy 

old age and a gateway to Eternity are portrayed. Furthermore as an example of Japanese Gardening of its period, it is perfect – a Japanese Garden with a hint of Anglicisation about it, was precisely the type of garden being made in Japan at that time.

Eida remained at Tully until 1912. He and his wife and two sons, Minoru and Kaiji, lived at Curragh House, which is now the Racing Apprentice Centre of Education. The name Minoru which means ‘light of my eye’ or the ‘favourite one’ was chosen by Colonel Hall-Walker for his favourite Tully-bred colt.

When leased to King Edward VII for his racing career the colt Minoru carried the royal colours to victory in the Derby of 1909 to joyous cheers of “Good Old Teddy”! Eida died in 1912 on his intended return journey to Japan and no more was heard of him or his family until Brian Eida, a son of Minoru, turned up as a tourist in the late 1980’s to admire the work of his grandfather Tassa.

In 1915, Colonel Hall-Walker departed to England, presenting his entire Tully property to ‘The Nation’. His Stud Farm became the British National Stud and the Japanese Gardens entered a period of relative obscurity until 1945. In that year (Tully properties having returned to the Irish Government in 1943) the Irish National Stud Company was formed. In the following year, 1946, after a gap of 34 years, the Japanese Gardens got a horticultural supervisor.

The significance of the Japanese Gardens is not only artistic and horticultural but also philosophical, religious and historical. Now of international renown and acclaimed as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe, they are a living monument to the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures in a Western setting.

There is no doubt that the Japanese Gardens at Tully are on a very short list of most loved gardens in Ireland and the tremendous appreciation from almost 150,000 or so visitors each year tells its own story.