President Higgins adds ponies to animals living at Áras an Uachtaráin

President Higgins Adds Ponies To Animals Living At Áras An Uachtaráin
The President is already known for his relationship with his dogs. Photo: PA Images.
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Two new ponies are set to be the latest additions to the animals living at the home of President Michael D Higgins.

The ponies will live in the grounds surrounding Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the Irish President in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, as part of a plan to enhance the biodiversity of the 130-acre site.


President Higgins today launched a new partnership with Kylemore Abbey that will see two Connemara ponies owned by the abbey spend four months a year in the grounds of the Áras.

The first ponies to arrive are Gray Lass, affectionately known as “Snowy”, and her colt foal.

President Higgins was invited by Kylemore Abbey to name the foal and chose “Aimhirgin”, after Aimhirgin Gluingheal mac Mileadh — the Milesian warrior-poet of Irish mythology who is said to have defeated the Tuatha Dé Danann.

The President is known for his relationship with his dogs, who have been popular with the public for years and often accompany him at events at Áras an Uachtaráin.


New Bernese Mountain puppy Misneach arrived earlier this year to keep the President's other dog Bród company, some six months after the death of his former dog Síoda.


The addition of ponies follows recommendations in a recent biodiversity audit, commissioned by the OPW at the request of President Higgins, to develop a conservation management plan for the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.

One of the key recommendations of the audit, undertaken by scientists from Trinity College Dublin, was that a sustainable grazing regime be put in place to improve the biodiversity of the meadows within the Áras grounds.

It is hoped that low-intensity grazing by horses and cattle will help create the circumstances for more diverse plant life to take hold.


The audit classified 80 per cent of the 130-acre grounds around the Áras as “natural habitat”, with 14 distinct habitats.

It found 297 different species of plant, 247 species of invertebrates, 188 types of fungus, 51 bird species and 18 different species of mammal, from foxes and badgers to bats and pygmy shrews.

The addition of the ponies also builds on an earlier arrangement, dating back to former Irish president Erskine Childers, who presented a herd of pure-bred Connemara ponies to the State in 1974.

The current herd of ponies in the Connemara National Park are direct descendants of those presented by President Childers.

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