Ireland’s iconic equine heritage at the heart of new Fáilte Ireland Thoroughbred Country Development

Ireland’s iconic equine heritage at the heart of new Fáilte Ireland Thoroughbred Country Development

Counties Kildare and Tipperary are set to benefit from a new Destination Experience Development Plan that will bring to life the extraordinary thoroughbred horse tradition, the world-renowned horse people, their crafts and the breeding heritage that is synonymous with Ireland.

Fáilte Ireland and Kildare and Tipperary County Councils have today (Wednesday 10th November) launched the Thoroughbred Country Destination Experience Development Plan (DEDP) to drive and sustain tourism in Kildare and Tipperary by developing new and enhanced visitor experiences across both counties. 

The five-year Plan has been developed in collaboration with Kildare and Tipperary County Councils, and the Thoroughbred Country Steering Group, which comprises representatives from The Irish National Stud, Horse Racing Ireland, The Curragh Racecourse, Punchestown Racecourse, Coolmore Stud, Kildare Village, Hotel Minella, Into Kildare and Tipperary Tourism.

Ireland’s global reputation as a leader in the breeding and racing of the Thoroughbred will be central to the plan, which will create a dynamic destination to attract domestic and international visitors and establish the region as the world’s leading thoroughbred experience. 

The Plan includes a number of innovative and ambitious initiatives to be developed in the region over the course of the plan including:  

·  The new International Thoroughbred Trail 

·  The Irish National Stud Experience 

·  Fethard Horse Country Experience 

·  Coolmore Experience 

·  Mingle with the Stars Stallion Trail 

·  The Curragh Behind the Scenes Tour  

·  Trainers’ Yards Visits  

The diversity and range of attractions and unique experiences across the counties will be highlighted and the plan will also develop a range of behind-the-scenes exclusive activities for tourists and visitors to the region.  

Announcing the Plan at the National Stud, Paul Kelly, CEO Fáilte Ireland, said: “The heritage and legacy of the Thoroughbred is a hugely significant part of the tourism offering for Kildare and Tipperary. The Thoroughbred Country Destination Development Plan aims to connect Ireland’s world class reputation in the equestrian and thoroughbred industry to cultural tourism, both domestically and internationally. The plan will be implemented across key strategic development areas and increase the visitor numbers, dwell time and visitor revenue to both Kildare and Tipperary.”

Sonya Kavanagh, CEO Kildare County Council added: “County Kildare has long been synonymous with the horse and, in particular, the Thoroughbred. Kildare County Council and Kildare Fáilte are delighted to work with our colleagues in Tipperary County Council, Fáilte Ireland, and key stakeholders in the Equine industry to develop the Thoroughbred Country Experience.  The launch of this plan is a significant milestone, and we very much look forward to the realisation of the Thoroughbred Country Destination Development Plan”

Commenting on the plan, Joe McGrath, CEO Tipperary County Council said: “Tipperary County Council welcomes this opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues in Kildare County Council, the Thoroughbred Industry, Fáilte Ireland and others by playing our part in bringing this new visitor experience to the market. We have recognised for some time that much more can be achieved and that our collective ambitions can be realised by collaborating and working together. Tipperary is world famous for horse breeding, home to the internally renowned Coolmore Stud and boasts in excess of 80 further trainers across the county. The economic impact of breeding and racing in County Tipperary is worth almost €400 million, employing over 1050 people across the county. This makes it perfectly rational that we would work together with our colleagues in Kildare to tell the thoroughbred story, share our thoroughbred heritage and make this experience available to visitors to both counties.”

Cathal Beale, Chairperson of the Thoroughbred Country Steering Group concluded, “The launch of the Thoroughbred Country 5 Year Development Plan marks the beginning of a unique collaboration between two pillars of Irish society; the tourism and thoroughbred sectors. The Plan will leverage existing thoroughbred attractions and assist in the development of new ones to create a world-class selection of behind-the-scenes experiences.”  

For more information on the Thoroughbred Country Development Plan for Kildare and Tipperary, visit  

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