The future and the past entwine beautifully at the Irish National Stud, whose museum is a legacy to not only the horses in Ireland but also the greatest and most famous of all Irish horses.
Mares with heaving stomachs and wide-eyed foals standing close to their mothers are the tomorrow of Irish racing. Its yesterday will forever be associated with the mighty and incomparable Arkle, to whose legion of fans was far more than just mere flesh and blood. He was iconic, an animal worthy of worship and reverence. And now, more than 40 years after his death, he reigns supreme in the stud's museum, where his skeleton holds pride of place.
Three times the winner of jumping's ultimate prize, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Arkle remains the greatest steeplechaser to have lived anywhere and at any time. Like many Irishmen, he was partial to a pint of Guinness, and such was his fame that fan mail addressed simply to "Arkle, Ireland" invariably found its way to his stable.
While Arkle's time here has come only since his passing, one of Flat racing's modern day legends, Sea The Stars, was bred and raised at the Irish National Stud. Those visiting the museum can see memorabilia connected to County Kildare's champion, while also on display are the silks carried to success in Australia's signature race, the Melbourne Cup, by another Kildare superstar, Vintage Crop.
Elsewhere in the Sun Chariot Yard, visitors are told the history of the horse in Ireland through artifacts, illustrations and texts while the start of an equine life is presented in an emotional and uplifting video showing the birth of a foal - just possibly, the next Arkle.