When Colonel William Hall Walker set up his stud farm at Tully in 1900, he employed rather eccentric techniques: drawing up a horoscope for each newborn foal and, if he didn’t like the stars, immediately selling it irrespective of lineage or physique. Results proved interesting – he became the most successful racehorse breeder of the age!
Memorial statue of Colonel William Hall Walker at the Irish National Stud
Rustic wooden horses at the Irish National Stud
Left: Memorial statue of Colonel William Hall Walker at the Irish National Stud Right: Rustic wooden horses at the Irish National Stud
Today, what is now the Irish National Stud Farm takes a somewhat different approach to producing champion thoroughbreds but still excels in breeding global stars of the turf. In the heart of racing country in County Kildare, it is the third-largest breeder of thoroughbreds in the world.

Touring with a guide you hear the behind-the-scenes story: stealing the show are the stallions whose racing track records enable them to command gigantic fees to cover mares. Maybe the hours-old foal you see (most are born between February and May) is destined to win the Epsom or Irish Derby.
Horses grazing at the Irish National Stud
Horses grazing at the Irish National Stud
Through yards and paddocks where equine Living Legends bask in sunny retirement, reminders of the Colonel pop up, including a sculpture featuring zodiac signs unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 – Tully-produced horses have won five Classics for the British Royal Family. In the museum, Ireland’s epic love affair with horses, in history, folklore and sporting life unfolds and there’s even the skeleton of Arkle, the greatest steeplechaser of all time.
Legendary Irish thoroughbred racehorse Arkle
Legendary Irish thoroughbred racehorse Arkle
Afterwards, you find yourself in the richly coloured Japanese Gardens that were first created under the watchful eye of Hall Walker: following paths that symbolise the passage of the soul from birth to death and beyond.
And you wander St Fiachra’s Garden, a reflection in woodland, rock and water of Ireland’s natural beauty. Still wondering the while which of today’s frolicking foals you’ve seen are tomorrow’s racing stars.
360 tour of the Irish National Stud & Gardens
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Visit The Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens

Tully, Kildare Town, Kildare