The Office of Public Works (OPW) is delighted to host “Horse Traditions“, a month long exhibition displaying horse tack and memorabilia from the past to present as used by the three horse organisations located in the Phoenix Park.

The exhibition of horse traditions in Ireland will take place at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre. Horses have played an important role in the development of society over the centuries and this exhibition looks to link the past with the present. The exhibition will showcase how horses are used in a modern context and will feature the Garda Mounted Unit which is based in Áras an Uachtaráin, the Equitation School of the Defence Forces based in McKee Barracks and the All Ireland Polo Club which are all located in the Phoenix Park.

Items on display will include the different helmets, saddles, stirrups, bridles, rains, bits, and shoes used by each horse organisation along with the history and special items associated with each organisation.

A focus of the exhibition is a Family Day Event which will be held on Sunday, 1st of July 2018 from 2pm to 4pm. This event will bring to life the exhibition by showcasing the different horse breeds in their full regalia used by the Garda Mounted Unit, McKee Barracks Equitation School and the All Ireland Polo Club.


For further information please contact OPW Client Services and Communications

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THE GARDA MOUNTED UNIT, based in the Phoenix Park, was established in 1998 to provide support to Garda Districts in many counties on a regular basis. The Unit’s facilities include stables, tack rooms, stores, paddocks and an all-weather training arena. Policing on horseback is ideal for high-visibility crime prevention. Mounted Gardaí sit several feet above the height of a crowd with the result that they have a good vantage point and can be easily recognised by members of the public. The Mounted Support Unit are used in

  • Crime prevention and detection patrols – supporting mainstream policing
  • Searches for missing persons over rough terrain that is inaccessible to vehicles
  • Community policing including school and community project visits
  • Major event policing e.g. matches, concerts and festivals
  • Public order and crowd control

MCKEE BARRACKS EQUITATION SCHOOL was founded in 1926 to promote Ireland and the Irish horse. Since then the Equitation School riders have been the backbone of Irish show-jumping and event teams.  Army riders have represented Ireland at the Olympics, World and European Championships in both show-jumping and three day eventing. Further information is available from Equitation School

THE ALL IRELAND POLO CLUB was established in 1873 by Mr. Horace Rochford on the “Nine Acres” site in the Phoenix Park. The club has carried out its tradition of this great sport for decades from the fantastic and unique location in the Phoenix Park within the centre of Dublin.

  • The All Ireland Polo Club is regarded as the oldest club in Europe.
  • At one time Polo was played at 30 locations throughout Ireland.
  • Today there are many clubs throughout Ireland from Tyrone to Waterford and Wicklow to Limerick.
  • Polo Ireland is the overarching body which represents the interests of Polo in Ireland and which promotes the sport at home and abroad.


Exhibition:                 Horse Traditions

Location:                   Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8

Dates:                       Tuesday, 19 June 2018 – Sunday, 15 July 2018

Times:                       Monday to Sunday 9.30am – 5pm


Admission:                 Free