The Fethard Horse Country Experience museum, located in County Tipperary, Ireland, was officially opened by Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD and Lord Lloyd Webber on Tuesday, May 30. A €1.6-million investment, the museum–developed by Event Communications in the town’s 400-year old Tholsel building (town hall)–will allow the town to be a key destination in Ireland’s Ancient East, the tourism initiative launched last year by Failte Ireland, while exposing visitors to the rich culture and heritage of the region with an interactive exhibition bringing to life the local history and evolution of Ireland’s world-class bloodstock industry. In conjunction with the Fethard Business and Tourism Group, the community led project will create a tourist attraction that will increase tourism in the Fethard region.
Nearby Coolmore Stud, currently producing top-shelf bloodstock and home–during his life–of Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer), a 14-time champion sire in Great Britain and Ireland, has also been a contributor to the museum, with that stallion’s skeleton on display in one of the exhibits. Supported by Failte Ireland and receiving €198,000 in funding, from the ‘New ideas in Ancient Spaces’ Capital Grants Scheme for attractions within Ireland’s Ancient East Initiative, the project also received funding from the Tipperary County Council, Leader Programme, the Magnier family and private donors. The trustees of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation awarded a one off grant towards the employment of a curator for the museum, who will manage the contents of the Fethard Horse Country Experience.
“We are absolutely delighted to officially open the Fethard Horse Country Experience,” said Jimmy O’Sullivan, Chairman, Fethard Business and Tourism Group. “The museum is the culmination of a number of years of hard work from both the local community and our supporters and funders, for which we are extremely grateful. Fethard is the most important medieval small walled town in Ireland and this state-of-the-art visitor attraction enhances Fethard’s wonderful tapestry, making it an unmissable stop on Ireland’s Ancient East.”
Added Lord Lloyd Webber, “The museum is an extremely welcome addition to Fethard. Through Kiltinan Castle Stud, my wife and I feel a close affinity to the horse culture which is an intrinsic part of this area and we hope that the museum will play a key role in attracting more people to this beautiful and historically-rich part of Ireland.”
The hours of operation for the Fethard Horse Country Experience will be Wednesday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time. Addmission will start at €5.00 until Aug. 31, before rising to €7.50 thereafter.