Sunday, July 30, 2017

Irish National Stud & Japanese Garden, Co. Kildare ♥

This week we went on a little family adventure up the country, where we stayed in the beautiful Killashee Hotel and took a trip to the Irish National Stud and Japanese Garden for the first time.

The Japanese Gardens are somewhere I've been wanting to go for years now (ever since I saw that little red bridge symbol on Winning Streak!) and I'm so glad I finally got to visit and with my boys in tow too. I think it's lovely that we're able to visit all these sites together, our trips will make for great memories in years to come.

To be honest, we weren't too bothered about the National Stud and as it turns out, I only spotted two horses when I was there - not that I was openly looking for them though.

Our main attraction to the place was getting to see the Japanese Garden, so once we had paid to get in that was the first place we went.

The garden itself is gorgeous and has a very calming atmosphere to it - even though I was trying to run after my four year old most of the time!

There are many stops along the paths where you can pause and take a minute to take in the beauty surrounding you. The garden is laid out in such a thoughtful way and it really is such a lovely place to be in - I'd gladly return one day in the future just for the atmosphere of the place alone.

There are two paths you can take, one is the easy path which is suitable for buggies, wheelchair users, etc. I firstly went along the easy path as I had Beau in his buggy, whilst Jacek and Tyler headed off through the rocky path.

The other (and more adventurous!) path, the rocky path, leads you through flowers, trees, shrubs and up and down rocky alcoves. It was actually a lot of fun discovering all the different areas of the garden by this path, but you definitely need to have your wits about you going around it as there are so slanty stones to be careful of along the way.

The most iconic part of the garden is of course the red bridge and thankfully we were able to take a few pictures here whilst there was a lull in the crowds coming into the garden.

The garden also boasts a lovely tea house, the veranda of which you can walk around and a little waterfall, which you walk across the front of on stepping stones.

Tyler and I walked across the stepping stones together and we both got through okay. Then he decided to go back along again and ended up stepping into the water - the joys of exploring with young children, we feet for the day!

It's a beautiful spot and I'm so glad I finally got to visit. The rocky path is a real treat and there's lots of look out points along the way to take in the beauty of the garden.

I was worried that the Japanese Garden might not be a suitable place to bring children, after all, I'd associate the place with quiet, tranquility and zen - the total opposite to my children, but it was fine and they actually really enjoyed their time there.

Tyler had a great time going up and down the rocky path - faster than any of the rest of us too I may add, the boy has no fear. He thought it was a great adventure! My heart is never in my mouth with him anymore because he's well able and he loves venturing off in front of us, eager to explore.

The grounds of the National Stud are beautiful, boasting a lake surrounded by willow trees with ducks and swans in it, lots of flower adorned buildings and there's also St. Fiachra's Garden, monastic cells and black abbey - all of which we didn't get to see as we were tight for time before having to drive back home to Cork, but this only gives us an excuse to visit again.


As I said, we weren't actually to bothered about seeing the horses, but for horse lovers you can walk around the stud farm, passing the paddocks to view the stallions, mares and foals.

In the Sun Chariot Yard - where the foaling unit is also located, there was face painting and pony rides for kids, which are in included in the price of the entry ticket - this is great as days out with the kids can get quite costly if you have to pay for all the 'add ons'. The line for the face painting was significantly shorter than the pony ride one so we opted for that. Tyler loved getting his face painted as a tiger. It was a shame we couldn't wait in the pony ride line, but I'm sure he'll get a chance to ride one again at another time. He absolutely loved his pony ride in Leahy's Open Farm.

There's also an Irish Fairy Door Company fair trail around the National Stud, which is great for little ones who love fairies and all things magical. Tyler had great fun spotting the colourful little doors along the way.

He was most impressed though by the playground, which as playgrounds go, really was fantastic. Beau also had a great time on the swings there and there were chairs for parents to sit on outside a little cafe, which was sadly closed.

Before we left we stopped by the restaurant before we headed off home in the car. The prices were okay in there, €25 fed and watered us all and left us ready for the long drive ahead.

I wish we had had more time to spend at the Irish National Stud and Japanese Garden, it really is such a lovely place and we all enjoyed it. Next time we find ourselves in Co. Kildare we'll definitely pay the place a visit again.
 
The Irish National Stud and Japanese Garden are open for 9 months of the year - they close in the winter. Tickets are €12.50 for adults and €6.50 for children - children under 4 go free. If you book online tickets are €1 cheaper. I'd highly recommend a visit!

 *This is not a collaborative post. We paid for our own entry into the Irish National Stud and Japanese Garden.

1 comment

  1. I was looking for the bridge everywhere when we visited recently but couldn't find it anywhere. Hubby paid for the tickets so I wasn't sure how much it was for the kids but looks like Matthew got in for free too. ;)

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