IRELAND’s elite showjumpers will enjoy world-class facilities at a new equestrian training facility officially opened in Dublin this morning.
The National Horse Sports Arena at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown is the first publicly-owned facility of its type in Ireland.
And it also includes high-performance training facilities for the modern pentathlon and diving.
The arena is located in the Walled Garden of Abbotstown House, a protected structure.
“This is the next major milestone in the development of the National Sports Campus. The National Horse Sport Arena is the first public facility of its kind in Ireland and will provide world-class facilities for 25 different equestrian sports,” Transport, Tourism and Sports Minister Leo Varadkar said.
“I am confident that this investment will result in more medals and trophies for Ireland in the near future.”
Horse Sport Ireland Chairman, Professor Patrick Wall, said the new National Horse Sport Arena was an exciting development for equestrian sport and should help secure more medals at international level.
"This new facility will be extremely helpful in providing a world class surface for our top rider/horse partnerships to train on,” he said. “In addition it will be great for our riders, who are also athletes, to have the opportunity to avail of all the other facilities on the National Sports Campus and to have the opportunity to use the coaching and rehabilitation services available to the other human athletes.
"Our senior and young riders are on a roll at the moment and the facilities on the campus will help to build on this success and tee us up for medals in the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics in Rio.”
Other developments at the campus include the completion of vital infrastructure works and an access roadway which open up the entire site for development. Sites have been allocated for development by the GAA, FAI, Irish Hockey and the IRFU.
New synthetic pitches are nearing completion, while a new National Diving Training Centre is also ready for use.
The National Sports Campus was first mooted in 1999, and works began in 2005 with a masterplan for the entire 500-acre site drawn up in April 2008.
As part of the overall development of the campus on a phased basis, major field sports including gaelic games, rugby, soccer and hockey have been granted permission to develop their own part of the campus, with limited matching funding from the National Sports Campus Development Authority.