5th Feb 2014
On Monday 3rd February, 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. On arrival, President Higgins and his wife were greeted at the Japanese Gardens Entrance by our CEO, John Osborne. President Higgins was introduced to the tourism staff and a selection of distinguished guests including our 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.
Following the performance, the tour moved on to the Foaling Unit where President Higgins got better acquainted with a newborn Lord Shanakill filly foal out of INS mare Fantastic Anna. His Excellency 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 President Higgins.
We then strolled through the Sun Chariot yard to the Stallion Boxes taking in a visit to the Horse Museum along our way. Our stallion men showed Dragon Pulse and Invincible Spirit with John Osborne on hand to impart his knowledge of our prized stallions. From the stallion boxes, President Higgins was then brought to our Kildare Yard to meet the 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. The natural elements described in the piece were evident in the natural beauty of St. Fiachra’s Garden as although at this point the rain had stopped, the waterfall was in full flow and all the visiting group were enchanted by the beauty of our indigenous garden
The President spoke with great fondness of his visit to the Irish National Stud, describing it as a jewel which he hopes to visit again very soon. His Excellency mentioned the Stud as a must-see for visiting dignitaries and we would be delighted to welcome the President, his wife and guests to visit us at the Irish National Stud again soon