The county of Kildare is regarded as the Home of the Horse because of the reputation it has earned over the years for being a renowned centre for horse racing and horse breeding. Located on the western border of Dublin, Kildare is considered a fertile county of expansive grasslands and emerald green pastures. It is also known as the Shortgrass County because of its location near the edge of Ireland’s central plain. Kildare’s county town is called Naas, which means “meeting place of Kings” in Irish. It is also the sport of kings that has made Kildare quite famous in all of Ireland. Kildare is acknowledged as the racing centre for Irish horse racing. It is also home to two of the main race courses in Ireland – The Curragh and Punchestown. These hold the most important racing events in the Irish Horse Raciong calendar. This also includes the Irish Derby that is held in June. The Irish National Stud also calls Kildare home. Located outside Kildare town, the 387-hectare site has gained world renown for breeding and developing some of the finest stock in Irish horse racing. The National Stud was established in 1900 by Colonel William Hall-Walker – the owner of the Johnnie Walker whiskey. Beside it, Hall-Walker also built the Japanese Gardens. These two attractions have become popular among visitors to Kildare and a continuous flock of admirers go to these sites practically everyday. The population of Kildare has grown over the last 20 years. In fact, it has increased almost six fold, as certain parts of the county eventually become suburbs of the city of Dublin. Some of the famous sons and daughters of Kildare include the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, St. Brigid, Singer Christy Moore and Shergar. It is recommended for visitors to Kildare to bring their own cars. It is a pleasant drive and more areas and sites can be covered, especially for travellers. Renting a car is a great way of touring Ireland and its various counties.
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