Racing legends meet Camilla at Kildare's National Stud

Royal visit to the Lilywhite county

Sarah Peppard

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Sarah Peppard

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sarah.peppard@leinsterleader.ie

Racing legends meet Camilla at Kildare's National Stud

Duchess of Cornwall presented with Irish Birch Tree from (l) John Osbourne, outgoing CEO of Irish National Stud, and (r) Matt Demspey, Chairman

There were some familiar names in Irish horse racing greeting the Duchess of Cornwall in Kildare this afternoon.

Fianna Fáil Deputy for Kildare South, Fiona O'Loughlin was delighted the visit was brought to Kildare: "The fact that Kildare was picked out, along with Kilkenny being the only two visits outside of Dublin, I think really goes to show that our county is wonderful, and is home to so much."

Prince Charles and Camilla started off their morning in Kilkenny, where they were shown the art of hurling by legend Henry Shefllin.

Prince Charles was then taken to the United Nations Training School Ireland at the Curragh Camp for a tour while Camilla was escorted to the stunning Irish National Stud grounds.

SEE MORE: WATCH: Prince Charles inspects Irish army helicopter at Curragh during Kildare royal visit

Sinead Hyland, member of staff at the stud was delighted to be welcoming Royalty, of which they'd be no stranger to. 

In 2011, the Queen famously visited the landmark tourist Irish National Stud during her historic visit to Ireland.

"County Kildare is the thoroughbred county of Ireland. This is a nice place for the retired geldings to live out but still meet their fans", said Sinead.

Her Highness arrived at the National Stud shortly before 4pm, wearing a stunning mint green tweed jacket made in Donegal, which she received as a gift on her last visit to Ireland.

Greeted by Matt Dempsey, Chairman of the Irish National Stud and outgoing CEO John Osborne, Jessica Harrington and local Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon.

Kildare based horse trainer Jessica Harrington has had a phenomenal year so far, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March and followed up by the recent Punchestown Gold Cup. Jessica was also behind the Irish Grand National winner ‘Our Duke’. She was in high spirits at the visit today.

The Duchess speaking to Kildare Horse Trainer Jessica Harrington

The Duchess started off her visit with a tour of the Sun Chariot Yard, named after legendary racemare Sun Chariot.

There she was greeted by some familiar names in horse racing, retirees like Kicking King, Beef or Salmon and Hardy Eustace.

She stroked and handed some carrots to the legendary Hurricane Fly, and joked: "I won't be eating carrots again soon!".

Her Highness was then brought to meet the famous thoroughbred racehorse Invincible Spirit, the most significant stallion the stud has ever had.

SEE MORE: WATCH: Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, meets Invincible Spirit at Kildare's National Stud

The Duchess was extremely inquisitive about the horses, and appeared to have a strong interest.

She then met students from the equine unit in the National Stud, from all around the world, and spoke to each of them one-by-one.

She continued to meet and greet, including local Councillors such as Fine Gael Cllr Mark Stafford, Fianna Fáil Deputy for Kildare South, Fiona O'Loughlin and Fianna Fáil' TD for Kildare North James Lawless.

The Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a native Irish Birch Tree by Chairman of the National Stud, Matt Dempsey, to conclude the visit.

Speaking after, Cllr Fiona O'Loughlin said it was a wonderful event. "The Duchess herself was incredibly charming.

"I think the Prince's visit to the Curragh was really significant, because when you think of Kildare it's the home to the Defence Forces, the home to the horses and the home to many other gems."

The Royal couple visited the Lilywhite county as part of an Irish tour.

They started their four-day trip in the north on Tuesday (May 9), visiting the hometown of the late poet Séamus Heaney in Co. Derry.

Yesterday (May 10), they were greeted by President Higgins and his wife Sabina at Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin.

The Royals are now making their way back to Dublin where they will visit the historic Glasnevin Cemetery tomorrow.

Camilla with the famous Hurricane Fly