Today began early with the start of our journey back to where we started - Dublin. The sleepy morning bus ride has become part of our daily routine, and this was no different, except both teams were excited to be leaving the countryside and returning to a major city.
Along the way, we made a few stops; first we breaked in Adare. We arrived in the late morning, and most of what I saw was en route to the nearest coffee shop. It appeared to be a picturesque Irish town, inland and surrounded by woods and farmland.
Our next stop brought us to the National Stud Farm, a hot spot for the global horse racing industry. The farm holds the country's best racers, both flat racing horses and cross country, and is an enormous source of national pride. During cross country events, the horses race over a set of fences along an outdoor grass course, as opposed to around the circular track stadiums. It requires a slightly different horse conformation, or body type, and warrants different training. All of the race horses on the farm, however, were thoroughbreds. We started our tour in the pastures and saw the colts and fillies that had been born in January. These horses sell for over $100,000, with price being determined based on bloodline, gait, and appearance. The most prestigious and expensive bloodlines are those with the best history of winning, and a good pick being a horse with "a face like a model, a rear end like a chef, and a walk like a hooker", as said by our tour guide. We then walked to see the stallions, broodmares, and the remaining facilities, and were schooled on the regulations and procedures regarding horse breeding.
After lunch we went on our way, driving the remaining hour into Dublin. The sight of the city was a relief; finally arriving where we had set out for hours before, to be out of the sleepy towns and into an international gathering point brought a lot of anticipation of all of the adventures to come. But today, like the whole trip, was about the journey and not the destination.
- Kate Casaday (Class of 2014)