A journey into horse country

Route:

Kildare


Features:

The Curragh, Kildare Village, Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens, Kildare Town, Berney Brothers Saddlery, Goffs, Naas, Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park, Kildare Grand Canal

Journey Overview:

This two-day adventure takes the horse as its central theme, and explores the legendary role this majestic beast has played in Irish history. Visit the flat plains of the Curragh to imagine the thrill of the race day, and intersperse your journey through Kildare with some well-timed retail therapy. Moving on through Kilcullen and Lullymore, you'll finish at the Kildare Grand Canal to follow its picturesque pathways.
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Day

Day 1
The Curragh Racecourse

Day 1

  • 0 hrs
  • 18 mins
  • 14 km
  • 9 miles

Route:

Kildare


Points Of Interest:

The Curragh, Kildare Village, Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens, Kildare Town

Journey Overview:

For this journey into Ireland’s horse country in County Kildare, start at its heart: the flat pastures of The Curragh. World-famous for its thoroughbreds, it’s one of the finest racing tracks in Europe – tour it early in the morning to witness the spectacle of long lines of thoroughbreds training across miles of rich plains. When you’ve explored this Irish landmark, head for some retail therapy at nearby Kildare Village, Ireland’s largest designer retail outlet. Refuel with some croissants in Le Pain Quotidien, the first venue in Ireland for the top boulangerie chain.

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After lunch, there’s plenty more equestrian-related enjoyment to be had nearby at the Irish National Stud, where the winners of five Classics were produced and the tale of Colonel William Walker is revealed. A true character, he used astrological charts to determine the futures of his foals – any born under an undesirable chart were sold. Move from horses to horticulture next at the Japanese Gardens. Designed to represent the “Life of Man”, the gardens were created by Japanese master horticulturalist Tassa Eida, and force you to adjust and adapt to a slower, more peaceful pace. 


Your next and final stop for the day is the heritage town of Kildare, where you’ll find plenty of great guesthouses and B&Bs for the night. Lots of great restaurants and pubs await, and a stroll around the beautifully restored 18th century market house will nicely round off your day. 

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Day 2
A barge trip on the Grand Canal, Kildare

Day 2

  • 1 hr
  • 36 mins
  • 75 km
  • 47 miles

Route:

Kildare


Points Of Interest:

Berney Brothers Saddlery, Goffs, Naas, Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park, Kildare Grand Canal

Engage With The Stories:

Ger Loughlin

Ger Loughlin

Sail away with Ger from Bargetrip.ie in Sallins, County Kildare, as he reveals how life was lived along the Grand Canal.

Journey Overview:

For horse enthusiasts, a post-breakfast visit to nearby Kilcullen for the Berney Brothers Saddlery is essential. Founded in 1880, it’s a showcase of unique craftsmanship, expertise and equestrian knowledge. Taking the road past Naas will lead you to Goffs, Ireland’s leading bloodstock sales company. Eight bloodstock sales are held a year – thrilling events full of fast-paced action and incredible stallions – so try and time your visit for maximum excitement. Take the road back towards Naas afterwards for some great lunch options.

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In the afternoon, a family visit to Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park will liven things up. Open only on weekends in the autumn season, it’s a vibrant outdoor park with a Famine Cottage, Biodiversity Walk and Fairy Village and was once an idyllic monastic retreat. Crazy golf is available, as is a café serving light refreshments. 


Finally, continue on your route to get within sight of the historic Kildare Grand Canal. Between 1834 and 1852 fast “fly boat” services worked these waters, with two horses towing boats at speeds of around 7mph (it took 13 hours to travel from Dublin to Athy!) Take a walk along part of its picturesque trail to complete your two-day tour of Ireland’s equestrian heartlands. 

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