A “jewel” and a “must-see for visiting dignatries” were just two of the phrases used by President Higgins to describe the Irish National Stud during his visit to the county’s premier attraction last week.
A lot of hard work was done by the staff at the establishment outside Kildare town, in preparation for his arrival.
“On Monday February 3, all of the team here at the Irish National Stud were delighted to welcome His Excellency, The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina,” said a spokesperson.
Ireland’s first couple were greeted by CEO, John Osborne and introduced to the tourism staff and a selection of distinguished guests including the board members.
“The group were then given a tour of the Japanese Gardens by John Osborne and through the mist and the rain, the beauty of the surroundings still shone through. During the tour of the Japanese Gardens, The President and his wife were pleasantly surprised by a performance from the Mikado by Irene Kavanagh and Philip Scott, with music from Audrey O’Reilly,” added the spokesperson.
The tour then moved on to the Foaling Unit where President Higgins got better acquainted with a newborn Lord Shanakill filly foal out of mare Fantastic Anna. The staff reported the president was delighted with the calm demeanor of mother and daughter and from there the tour moved on to the Farriery unit, where resident farrier Richard Lawlor crafted a horseshoe for Ireland’s first citizen.
The tour included a visit to the Horse Museum as well as meeting stallions, Dragon Pulse and Invincible Spirit; and living legends, Vintage Crop, Moscow Flyer, Beef or Salmon and Kicking King.
“The President was impressed by the great condition of our resident retirees and also by the Stud Management Course Students he met in the Kildare Yard. The group then travelled to St Fiachra’s Garden and were treated to a raw recital of the John O’ Donohue poem “To Learn from Animal Being” by Mary Linehan with musical accompaniment from Conor Mahony,” he added.
Following in the footsteps of the Queen, staff reported the President spoke with great fondness of his visit to the Irish National Stud atTully, which he hopes to visit again very soon.