In KILDARE’s quiet moments, of which there are many, you are keenly aware that the pre-eminent local business all takes place outside of town. For the Curragh, which stretches east from the town to the River Liffey, is Ireland’s horse-racing centre. The underlying limestone of this huge plain, the largest area of semi-natural grassland in Europe, is good for a horse’s bone formation, and the grass is said to be especially sweet. Consequently, the Curragh is home not only to a famous racecourse, but also to dozens of stud farms and stables, engaged in the multimillion-euro pursuit of breeding and training racehorses, one of the country’s biggest sources of income – as vividly illustrated at the National Stud.

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