This review of the Fethard Horse Country Experience in Tipperary is part of a series of posts from my Munster Vales travel guide.
Fethard in County Tipperary in Ireland is known worldwide for its association with horses, hence the nickname, Horse Country.
Fethard is also the nearest town to the world-famous Coolmore Stud.
There are over 2,000 years of equine history in the area. If you want to learn all about this history, the Fethard Horse Country Experience is a fantastic place to start.
If you read my previous blog post on the Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail, you’ll know that Fethard is Ireland’s most important small medieval walled town and it is steeped in history and heritage. One of the most important buildings in Fethard is the town hall. This grand old building dates from about 1600. It was built by the Everard family as an almshouse for men and was one of the largest in Ireland. The building was also a courthouse, fire station, scout den, and dance hall. However, today the Fethard Town Hall is home to the wonderful Fethard Horse Country Experience.
The Fethard Horse Country Experience cost €1.6 million to build and the Magnier family (synonymous with Coolmore Stud) are among the private donors to the Experience.
It is one of the top things to do in Tipperary and a must do when in Fethard.
I know nothing about horse racing. Well, I knew nothing before entering the refurbished doors of the 17th century Fethard Town Hall. By the time I left the Fethard Horse County Experience, I knew more than I ever needed to know about horse racing, breeding and the history of horses in Fethard and County Tipperary.
After a lovely stroll around the Fethard Town Walls, we hoofed it to the Fethard Horse Country Experience.
Knowledgeable guides greeted me as I entered the building and gave me plenty of useful leaflets. I then trotted into a little room to watch a short but informative film about the history of Fethard.
Then, the guild took us to each floor of the Experience and told us a bit about the building and the exhibits before telling us to take our time and enjoy the experience.
We started on the first floor and worked our way along each learning area. There are big, bright easy to read displays. Loads of interactive screens and plenty of wonderful historic photos of Ireland gone by. There are video displays too and more short films. You’ll also find the skeleton of multiple horseracing champion sire Sadler’s Wells.
But it’s not just horses. You learn so much about the history of Ireland, the landscape, its people and the culture.
There was also a really lovely exhibit showing the old Town Hall through the ages. I loved looking at the photos of the discos that used to be held there.
Event Communications is the company that developed the Fethard Horse Country Experience.
This is the same group that has the Titanic Belfast, the Guinness Storehouse and EPIC at the CHQ building in Dublin in their portfolio. If you have been to any of those places, you’ll know how the experiences really are state-of-the-art. The Fethard Horse Country Experience is no different. It is slick, modern and very interactive. It is absorbing and you could spend hours in here learning all about Fethard’s local history and the evolution of Ireland’s world-class bloodstock industry.
I don’t know how many hours we whiled away in here. The historic building has big windows that let in loads of sunlight and the place is just so warm and inviting. I didn’t want to leave. The super helpful staff were so engaging that I could have spent hours just chatting away to them about all things Fethard and horses.
If you look out those wonderful windows, you’ll see the Holy Trinity Church, the main part of which dates from the 13th century. If you want to visit the church, just asked the guides in the Fethard Horse Country Experience for the key.
You can get to the Holy Trinity Church from the Fethard Horse Country Experience building.
Overall, I think that the Fethard Horse Country Experience is a real treat and well worth a visit. It’s brilliantly informative for adults and teenagers and has plenty of cool features to keep younger kids entertained too. Hopefully, it will help attract visitors to this beautiful and historically-rich part of Ireland as Fethard is an Irish town that everybody needs to visit.
Thanks to Tríona O’Mahony of Munster Vales for organising our trip and proving some of the photos.
The following are the other blog posts in this Munster Vales series:
“Thanks for reading”
Have you visited the Fethard Horse Country Experience? Let me know how you got on and I’d love to see any photos you took.
If you liked this Fethard Horse Country Experience review, you might also like my review of the Finn Lough Bubble Domes in Northern Ireland.
Additionally, you might enjoy reading my review of the Pullman Restaurant in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway, Ireland.
Another blog you might like is my review of the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Galway, Ireland.
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