Irish National Stud Japanese Gardens – Tully, Co. Kildare – Ireland

DAY 9 – After our introductory lesson on stud breeding, we had time to visit the Japanese Gardens, which was part of the National Stud grounds.  The Japanese Gardens were also created by Colonel William Hall-Walker between 1906-1910, and laid out by the Japanese Eida and his son Minoru.

Gate of OblivionThe Gardens, designed to symbolise the ‘Life of Man’, are now of international renown and are acclaimed as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe.  The gardens are a living monument to the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures in a Western setting. The symbolism of life the garden portrays traces the journey of a soul from Oblivion to Eternity and the human experience of its embodiment as it journeys by paths of its own choice through life.  This picture to the right shows the pilgrim soul entering the garden through the Gate of Oblivion. 

Stone LanternThe stone lantern (picture on the right) symbolises life’s beginning and it overlooks the Cave of Birth.  From the cave the first steps of life leads along the path of childhood.  Typical ambitions toward education, marriage, or a contemplative or care-free life, achievement, happy old age and a gateway to Eternity are portrayed. 

Engagement BridgeThis picture to the left symbolises the wanderer meeting his future wife and joins her at the Engagement Bridge.  The bridge symbolizes the decisive break in his life.  The couple then come together at the symbolic table of prenuptial feast before crossing the marriage bridge.  Once across the bridge they come to the Honeymoon Path. 

Subsequently, they reach an obstruction which represents a difference in opinion.  They part company for a while but are soon re-united.  They begin to climb the Hill of Ambition.  More Resting place obstacles come in the way and they go through a roller coaster of positive and negative experiences.  When they finally conquer the Hill of Ambition they reflect on their joys, successes and failures.  At the Well of Wisdom, they pause to wish for enlightenment.  They cross the Bridge of Life to the Garden of Peace and Contentment.  As old age creeps on, the path is smoother and easier.  The traveller seats his wife in the Chair of Old Age and then traces his faltering steps to the Hill of Mourning.  His soul is laid to rest, surrounded by weeping trees.  His soul passes through the Gate of Eternity…..and so the Story ends!

Eida remained at Tully until 1912. He and his wife and two sons, Minoru and Kaiji, lived at Curragh House, which is now the Racing Apprentice Centre of Education. The name Minoru which means ‘light of my eye’ or the ‘favourite one’ was chosen by Colonel Hall-Walker for his favourite Tully-bred colt.


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