Irish National Stud Video Tour

Take an insider's tour of the Irish National Stud in Kildare in Ireland to see how some of Ireland's top Thoroughbreds are raised.

by Darley Newman

Learn about Invincible Spirit and other great Irish race horses and Thoroughbreds are raised amid the lush green countryside of Kildare, Ireland in this equestrian travel video clip. 

Transcript Below


Travel Video Transcript

Darley Newman, Host & Producer: Kildare is sort of the Lexington, Kentucky of Ireland. Horse racing and breeding are huge here and we’re at the Irish National Stud, getting an insider’s tour.

Darley: (VO) The Irish National Stud is home to some of Ireland’s top racehorses and it’s open to the public. Believe it or not, you can get up close to these sleek, million dollar racehorses. And we did, and the foals were so cute.

Darley: You are so sweet!

Darley: (VO) The stud dates back to the early 1900’s when Colonel William Hall Walker, a wealthy Scotsman and equestrian purchased the farm and began to breed thoroughbreds.

Darley: Many people thought that Hall-Walker’s breeding style was a bit eccentric. He installed skylights in the horse’s stalls, so that the horses could look up at the moon and stars. He used astrology and horoscopes to dictate which foals were sold and which were kept. No matter how bizarre his methods may have seemed at the time, they worked.

Darley: (VO) Though the stud is still producing top thoroughbreds, today the breeding methods are a bit different. We’re meeting up with Jonathan Clarke, who grew up on the stud farm, to get the inside scoop.

Jonathan: This year he’ll probably cover somewhere in the region of about 200 mares.
Darley: Wow
Jonathan: Alright, so he’d be our most popular stallion. This is his box we’re just coming to now.
Darley: OK. Great
Jonathan: He’s a stud fee of $35, 000 Euro, so he’s our most expensive, but you’ll see here now he’s only ten years of age. He’s quite young. Basically the reason he’s so expensive this year is that last year was the first year that we saw his offspring on the racetrack as two year olds. OK that’s when they first start racing here in Ireland. Invincible Spirit actually broke the world record for most two-year-old winners in a sire’s first season. He’d be one of the most popular stallions in Ireland at the moment, so... 
Darley: And so did you name Invincible Spirit “invincible” before you knew all this, because that’s
Jonathan: Quite aptly named alright. He’s our number one boy this year so he’ll be well looked after.

Darley: Jonathan what would breeders be looking for in a stallion.
Jonathan: Well, apart from the obvious, they’re looking for a stallion that’s had success with their offspring, ok. So be looking for a stallion whose offspring have maybe won some of the big races as two and three year olds. Ok. Now you look for a horse with a good conformation. OK now the confirmation is kind of you know, the beauty pageant side of the industry. How a horse a horse looks. How a horse walks would be a very good indication of basically how fast you’re going to be able to run.

Darley: Well I want Invincible Spirit.
Jonathan: laughs
Darley: He’s the tops.
Jonathan: Well he’s popular so you’d want to get in early that’s for sure.
Darley: I’ll be on the waiting list.

Darley: To contemplate this hefty investment, I head over to find solitude and a bit of Zen at the Japanese Gardens. Located at the stud, the gardens were devised by Colonel Hall-Walker and his famous Japanese gardener and are yet another example of Hall-Walkers eccentricity.

The gardens were laid out over a four-year period in the early 20th century and are still some of the finest Japanese gardens in Europe.

Learn more about Equitrekking's two Ireland episodes and purchase Equitrekking DVDs. Learn more about horseback riding vacations in Ireland through equestrian vacations at