Aimhirgin, a six-week-old Connemara pony joins President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin

Petfix Club
1st June 2021 - 2 min read

The latest animal news to come from animal-lover Michael D Higgins, is the addition of six-week-old Connemara pony Aimhirgin and his Mother, Snowy, to the grounds.

The ponies were brought to Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday, as part of a programme to enhance biodiversity at the 130-acre site at the Áras.

President Michael D Higgins with new ponies
President Higgins welcomed Aimhirgin and Snowy to Áras an Uachtaráin (Source: @presidentirl Instagram)

The ponies were brought to President Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin from Kylemore Abbey, where they have been cared for since birth by Sr Karol and her fellow nuns.

Aimhirgin was born in the fields in front of the nun’s house on the evening of April 1st. It was an anxious time as Snowy was two weeks overdue, but the nun’s of Kylemore Abbey were overjoyed upon the arrival of her foal.

President Higgins named the foal and chose “Aimhirgin” after Aimhirgin Gluingheal mac Mileadh, the Milesian warrior-poet of Irish mythology believed to have defeated the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Partnership

The arrangement to graze these ponies came from the recommendations in a recent biodiversity audit commissioned by President Higgins, in an attempt to develop a conservation plan for the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.

The audit, carried out by scientists from Trinity College Dublin, found that 80% of the 130-acre grounds around the Áras is classified as a natural habitat. The scientists made a series of recommendations about the future sustainable management of the Áras grounds that included a sustainable grazing regime be put in place to improve the biodiversity of the meadows within the Áras grounds. This is where the wonderful work of the nuns from Kylemore Abbey came to light, and so the partnership commenced yesterday, May 31st.

nuns of kylemore abbey with ponies
Benedictine nuns of Kylemore Abbey, Sisters Jeanne Bot and Karol O’ Connell say goodbye to their Connemara mare Snowy
(Source: Ray Ryan)

Sr Karol warned President Higgins that Aimhirgin can be fussy when it comes to her dining habits. Sr Karol has been feeding her apple, carrot and potato peels. “Only fresh potato peels, not the second day” says Sr Karol, making sure Aimhirgin receives the freshest food possible. She also shaves the carrots “lovely and thin, and she likes them that way” Sr Karol explained.

This is the first year of Kylemore Abbey’s partnership with Áras an Uachtaráin, where a mare and foal will be placed at the Áras for the summer months. The overall aim of the programme is to promote a greater diversity of wildflowers and plants and increases in fauna dependent on such a diversity of flora. We look forward to seeing how Snowy and Aimhirgin get on over the coming months.