A front-runner for tourism: Fáilte Ireland announces €2m investment in Irish Racehorse Experience

A front-runner for tourism: Fáilte Ireland announces €2m investment in Irish Racehorse Experience

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin T.D. has today announced Fáilte Ireland funding of almost €2million for the Irish Racehorse Experience in Kildare, the first of its kind in Ireland.

The Fáilte Ireland Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects 2016-2020 will deliver a new indoor attraction at the Irish National Stud and Gardens in Ireland’s Ancient East, to celebrate Ireland’s horse racing industry and heritage.

Central to the attraction will be an immersive experience which takes the visitor through what it is like to train and race a thoroughbred from foal to finish. Visitors will also have the opportunity to ‘race’ their horse through state-of-art simulation technology which has never been used in Ireland before.

Fáilte Ireland has worked closely with the Irish National Stud and Gardens to shape and develop the project since its conception. The Irish Racehorse Experience is set to open in spring 2020 and will cost a total of €3.2million, which includes an investment from the Irish National Stud and Gardens. This will become a must-visit destination in Kildare and significantly enhance The Irish National Stud and Garden’s standing within Ireland’s Ancient East as part of its ‘The Sport of Kings’ theme.

During a visit to the site of the new attraction at the Irish National Stud and Gardens in Kildare today, Minister of State Brendan Griffin T.D. said:
“I’m delighted to announce Fáilte Ireland funding for this fantastic visitor experience. The new Irish Racehorse Experience is not only a tourism attraction – it is a hands-on showcase of culture, sport and heritage, which is testament to what a compelling and innovative project this is. There’s no doubt it will build upon the already strong tourism offering in Ireland’s Ancient East. Projects like this demonstrate the importance of Fáilte Ireland’s capital investment programme, not only in terms of funding, but also in developing world-class visitor experiences which have the capacity to drive more tourists across the regions, generating revenue and jobs.”

Fáilte Ireland’s CEO Paul Kelly today outlined the significant importance of capital investment in developing tourism across the country and attracting visitors from overseas markets. He said:
“The tourism sector is an integral part of our economy, providing 260,000 jobs and generating an estimated €7.8billion in revenue. At Fáilte Ireland we are focused on driving tourism growth across the regions, and top-class visitor attractions are an integral part of this. To achieve this, we actively look for every opportunity to stimulate the development of new experiences throughout the country which are inventive and have real capacity to stand out in the international marketplace.

“Our core overseas markets actively look for attractions and activities which are immersive - central components of the new Irish Racehorse Experience. Fáilte Ireland has worked closely with the Irish National Stud for almost two years to develop this state-of-the-art attraction which will be a real gem in Ireland’s Ancient East, and a big draw for international tourists and horse-racing enthusiasts from around the world. Projects like this, and the many others in our capital investment programme, are vital not only for regional growth but for reinforcing Ireland’s reputation as a high-quality visitor destination.” 

The Irish Racehorse Experience storyline will also sign-post visitors to other nearby attractions within Ireland’s Ancient East including The Curragh Racecourse, Kildare Village Outlet and Newbridge Museum of Style Icons.

Chief Executive of the Irish National Stud and Gardens, Cathal Beale, said:
“The Irish Racehorse Experience will provide a much-needed stage for the Irish racehorse to be showcased to the world. Ireland is unique in its ability to provide the perfect environment of skilled people and highly fertile land to raise the best horses. The experience will allow our visitors to understand how this is done and to try it for themselves. 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.” 

The Irish National Stud and Gardens welcomed over 127,000 visitors in 2018 and is Kildare’s most visited fee-paying attraction. It is the only stud farm in Ireland open to the public and offers daily guided tours. To find out more, visit www.irishnationalstud.ie.

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