2nd Jun 2021
A new world-leading, interactive experiential attraction, the Irish Racehorse Experience, which combines cutting-edge gaming technology with live video, audio and graphics, opens tomorrow (Thursday, June 03) at The Irish National Stud & Gardens in Co. Kildare. The €3.2m Irish Racehorse Experience offers visitors the chance to own, train and ride their own thoroughbred racehorse, culminating in a thrilling real-time race, guaranteed to set pulses racing.
Visitors can expect to be taken on a journey through the rich history and heritage of the Irish thoroughbred sector, which sees Ireland as a world leader in breeding, training and racing the best racehorses in the world; employing nearly 30,000 people in Ireland; and with a worth of almost €2bn to the Irish economy. From the moment the visitor starts on their journey, their decisions (and riding skills) decide the result in the big race. Along the way they will learn about Ireland’s rich racing past, from the world’s very first steeplechase in Cork to Irish racing legends – equine and human – that breed, train and race all over the world.
Custom-built and beautifully designed rooms lead visitors through an educational and exciting journey from watching a foal being born to the thrill of buying a future racehorse in the sales ring. They will learn tips from top trainer Jessica Harrington before choosing a training yard for their own horse and learning about a horse’s anatomy and physiology. Then it’s time to pick your racing colours before race day. At the track, visitors will hear old tales of gambling wins and woes and admire the fashion before testing their vigorous commentary skills in the commentary box. Then it’s onto the big race, where visitors will ride an innovative simulator for the chance to take home the glory of a big win.
After the race, visitors can watch and analyse their performance, while overlooking a paddock where racing legends such as Beef or Salmon, Hurricane Fly and Kicking King graze. Not only does this room explain life after racing, but it also offers insight into the wide diaspora of Ireland’s racing greats – human and equine – through an interactive display.
Chief Executive of the Irish National Stud and Gardens, Cathal Beale, said: “The story of Ireland’s success in the world of thoroughbred racing is everyone’s story – it is part of our heritage and DNA. The Irish Racehorse Experience allows the Irish racehorse to be showcased to the world in a new and exciting way.”
He continued: “Ireland is unique in its ability to provide the perfect environment of skilled people and highly fertile land to raise the best horses. This experience will allow our visitors to understand how this is done and to try it for themselves. This attraction is the first of its kind in Ireland and we are very thankful for the support of Fáilte Ireland and the Ireland’s Ancient East team in helping us to bring this incredibly exciting project to life.”
Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland said: “Fáilte Ireland was extremely pleased to provide funding of just under €2 million to the Irish Racehorse Experience at the National Stud as part of our large grants scheme in 2019. This new immersive experience will greatly enhance the Irish National Stud and position it as a flagship experience in County Kildare that will attract national and international visitors. After an incredibly challenging year for tourism, it is wonderful to see this unique, must visit attraction officially open to welcome visitors and showcase Ireland’s world-renowned racing heritage.”
Located in the beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred county, the Irish National Stud and Gardens welcomes almost 140,000 visitors each year. Beginning in the early 1900s, the stud has produced some of the best racehorses in Europe and today it is one of the top breeding farms in the world. It is also home to the finest Japanese Garden in Europe that was designed outside Japan.
Owned by the Irish people, the Irish National Stud and Gardens is one of the only working thoroughbred breeding farms in the world that is open to the public. Its unique history and beauty are admired by visitors from around the globe. The Irish National Stud and Gardens prides itself on allowing the visitor to get as close as possible to these magnificent animals and to experience over 400 acres of maintained walkways, as well as St Fiachra’s Garden and a fairy trail.
The Irish Racehorse Experience is now open to the public. The cost of admission is €5 in addition to the admission to the Irish National Stud & Gardens.
The experience must be pre-booked online.