Riding in Ireland
The Irish love of horses is world renowned and nowhere is this more true than
in the west of Ireland, home of the legendary Connemara Pony. If your interest
is cross-country, trekking, hunting, showjumping or merely a wish to see the
Irish horse, Ireland can offer you all this and more. From riding on the sandy
beaches and galloping through the Atlantic waves as they come to shore, to the
rugged terrain of Connemara or to the trails in Killarney, the Irish are on
hand to bring to you the delights of the Irish horse, and it will be an
Trail Riding Connemara Horse Riding
Holidays in Connemara - Horseback Vacations in Ireland
Riding is readily available from April to October.
The country is renowned for its exceptional
atmosphere and strikingly rugged beauty, particularly around Connemara, with
its ancient stone-walled fields, golden beaches and breathtaking vistas.
Connemara, the very western tip of Ireland is a paradise for riders, who will
be inspired by the wild beauty and tranquillity that is to be found here. It is
a timeless and dramatic landscape of rugged, boggy mountains, rocky outcrops
adorned with shimmering silver lakes and fast flowing streams beneath the
mysterious and beautiful light of an enormous sky. Lunch is eaten on the
Participants must be able to:
- gather, catch, tack and untack the horses
- mount and dismount unassisted
- ride comfortably at a walk, long trots, canters and short gallops
- ride up and down rocky hills ride for 5-6 hours a day
- ride comfortably in a large group of riders
- be flexible; the outfitter does not run on a strict schedule
- be independent; there is little direction or instruction given while on the
Please note that there can be novice riders.
HORSES AND TACK
Your host maintains approximately 200 horses, each very
fit, willing to walk out and well suited for the terrain. These Irish
Hunters and Connemara ponies
of varying sizes are known the world over for
their fantastic jumping ability, gentleness, intelligence and stamina. There is
a horse to suit every riders needs whether a beginner or a rider with
years of experience. The outfitter knows his horses well and is adept at
matching horse and rider. English tack is utilized
. There are no saddle
bags available, but there are D-Rings on the front of the saddle providing
loops that a rain jacket or sweater can be tied to with leather thongs or
string. Water is not provided on the trail and it is suggested that a waist
pouch with a water bottle be worn. The horses are not groomed as they live
outside during the summer. However, riders are welcome to bring a small brush
if they wish to groom before riding.
Connemara and Coast Trails
bring riders right into the hidden heart
of this landscape. Your adventure through Connemara will be guided by Willie
Leahy, quintessential Irish horsemen. Willie is the largest breeder of
Connemara ponies in the world and is also the Field Master of the famous Galway
Blazers Hunt. For over 30 years the Leahy family have enjoyed introducing
visitors to this very special part of Ireland. Their friendly care ensures that
every rider goes home with special memories of a wonderful vacation.
Includes: Six days or more of exciting and relaxing holidays, where, after you
spending a day on horseback, you are accommodated in luxurious hotels or
guesthouses while the horses graze freely in a nearby field.. Your luggage is
brought by car from accommodation to accommodation, while the catering problems
are taken care of by the Connemara Trail's dynamic team.
Connemara Trail - May to October:
guides the trail ride through Connemara to the Atlantic Ocean. The Connemara
Trail began over 33 years ago. It is the oldest trail ride in the world. .The
trail crosses the most wild and beautiful scenery that Ireland has to offer.
Experienced or novice riders alike can enjoy this guided Trail Ride.
Monday Meet at 10.00am in Galway
at the Meyrick Hotel and drive to the
starting point of the long and impressive ride to Maam Cross. After meeting
your horse or Connemara pony we mount up and begin the ride on country lanes,
passing stone wall fences where sheep and cattle graze, enjoying the rolling
green hills in the distance before reaching the mountains. The scenery changes
dramatically as the horses climb into the hills. Watch for hidden stone houses
of the "Ferocious OFlahertys" while riding. These are the
houses where they lived after being banished from Aughanure Castle as they were
at constant odds with the forces of Galway. A long trot on a graveled road
brings you to the edge of Oughterard where riders follow the river out of town
for a rest and picnic lunch. After lunch ascend a long hill to reach the edge
of the bog that appears to be only a grassy meadow. After crossing the soggy
bogland, the route continues across the rocky hills with great views of the
colorful valleys and pristine lakes below. Riding out of the hills, onto the
abandoned Galway-Clifden railway line where there may be the opportunity for a
canter. Turn the horses loose by a beautiful lake near Maam Cross and return to
the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Today is a beautiful seven hours'
from Maam Cross to Ballynafad, a few miles from Ballynahinch. The ride
begins by crossing the bogland, on a small road that Willie had built. In the
middle of the bog is a small crop of limestone rock where a small copse of
hazel trees grow. Hidden amongst the trees is an old limekiln, where the stone
would have once been burnt to produce lime for whitewash and fertilizer. Enjoy
a picnic lunch on a small village green before riding through beautiful forests
and a mountain with the most glorious views over the Twelve Bens and mountain
lakes. Late in the afternoon stop for a refreshing cup of tea before a canter
along the old railway line. Leave the horses grazing in Ballynafad and drive to
Clifden for the night.
offers great variety in beautiful scenery. The morning begins by
crossing a winding stream and passing small fields filled with sheep and one of
the oldest cemeteries in Connemara. Ride through the grounds of Ballynahinch
Castle built in the 15th century, ancestral home of Humanity Dick; a local
landlord, MP and one of the chief forces behind the Royal Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. After long trots and canters on the old
railway line, stop for a picnic lunch near a small cottage. In the afternoon,
ride through Roundstone bog, where Alcock and Brown landed on the first flight
in a by-plane across the Atlantic. Pass extensive peat bogs and the harvested
piles of the dried peat that are stacked by the roadside awaiting collection.
In the early evening riders reach Ballyconneely and the sea. Turn the horses
loose for the evening and drive to Clifden for dinner and overnight.
Today is a full day on the fantastic Mannin Beach
day is free to canter along the wide white sand beaches and swim with the
if the conditions are right. Keep an eye out for the seals that are
usually found in these sheltered waters. Mannin Bay is a regular hauling out
and breeding site for common seals which can be seen with some difficulty lying
almost motionless as they wait for the tide to lift them away. Leave the horses
in a field nearby and drive back to Clifden for dinner and overnight.
FridayTodays route follows the coast
. Lunch is eaten in at
the foot of Errisbeg, the mountain that we ride over in the afternoon. The
horses graze loose close to where the riders eat lunch. After lunch the ride
climbs over the mountains above the village of Roundstone. The views in the
mountain are spectacular, overlooking the sea and the Connemara mountains.
After leaving the horses, return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Spend the day at
Willies Dartfield Horse museum
. Riders can trail ride around the
museum, or test their skill on the cross country course. The event course has
fences to suit all levels, from beginner to the advanced riders so everyone
will have fun and the chance to improve their riding and jumping skills. Riders
have the opportunity to look around the museum, which is dedicated to the Irish
horse and pony breeds and is the only one of its kind in the world. Riders stay
in Loughrea on last night and, if required, are returned to Galway City on
Sunday Morning.. .
Departure after breakfast.
- 6 days riding
- All meals (full Irish breakfast, picnic lunch and superb evening dinner)
- 6 nights accommodation (Mon-Sat. incl)
- Transfers during trail.
Pre and post accommodation, tours, etc. are also available.
|Connemara & Coast Trails: 2014
||6-Day Hotel Package
||6-Day Guesthouse Package
HORSES AND TACK The first day will take at least an hour to select horses and
get organized due to the size of the group. After gathering the horses, riders
are asked to select a bridle and spend a brief time speaking with the outfitter
about the size, temperament and preferences for a mount. Once a horse is chosen
for the rider, he is asked to lead the horse to the tack trailer, select a
saddle, saddle the horse and check the stirrup length and girth tightness. At
lunch stops, the horses are untacked and are released to graze. After lunch,
the horses are caught and tacked up. In the mountains riders are advised to
follow the guide rather their own path. The mountains can be quite boggy and
rocky and the guide has years of experience in seeking a trail through them.
The same applies on the beach, please stay behind the guide so that they can
set the pace and route.
CLIMATE Ireland is called the "Emerald Isle" for good reason;
although it is never really cold or hot, it does rain frequently in all
seasons. As the Irish say, "In the winter it is cool and damp and in the
summer it is warm and damp". This should not be a discouragement! The Gulf
Stream warms the island all year, resulting in a mild and pleasant temperature,
and the rain is usually a light drizzle of short duration which does not
interfere with your riding as long as you have raingear suitable for riding.
Please note, however, to bring either rain jackets and trousers, or long duster
coats - riding capes are not permitted
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Laundry facilities are available at some of the hotels.
An average price is 8 Euro per load. There are many things in the area for
non-riders to do. They include river fishing, deep-sea fishing, golf, cycling,
mountain climbing, walking, and swimming. There are also many interesting
castles and other sites to see in the area.
FINAL DETAILS The following information will be provided when the reservation
is confirmed: packing list contact information (names, addresses and telephone
numbers of guide and accommodations) helpful travel hints information about
documents and currency precise meeting time and location Please note that
gratuities are not included in your booking fee. Guides, hotel staff etc. will
very much appreciate being tipped.
*THE ITINERARY IS FLEXIBLE. CHANGES MAY OCCUR DUE TO TIDE TIMES*
Connemara Coast Trail - May to October:
Trail Ride along the Connemara Coast from Clifden to the area near Galway. The
Coast Trail began over 20 years ago to compliment the Connemara Trail. The
trail rides through the most wild and beautiful scenery that Ireland has to
offer. Enjoy the fresh salty breeze from the Atlantic Ocean as you trek through
the contrasting landscape of the Connemara region of Ireland. Connemara is a
wild and barren region west of the city of Galway. It is a stunning patchwork
of bogs, lonely valleys, pale grey mountains and small lakes that shimmer when
the sun shines. This ride explores the coast where the mountains meet the sea
in a maze of rocky islands, inlets and sparkling white beaches.
Monday Meet at ten AM
in Galway at the Meyrick Hotel (the old Great Southern). The ride begins again
at Shannadonnell. The horses are rounded up off the mountain and saddled. This
mornings ride is across Willies mountain, Shannadonnell. Lunch is
served beside a mountain lake while the horses are turned loose to graze. After
lunch the horses are caught again and the ride continues into the village of
Carna and onto Willies beach house. Leave the horses in a field near the
beach house and drive back to accommodation.
Tuesday Enjoy an unforgettable day riding on the beach. The day starts
with a ride along the shore on Mweenish Beach. Keep an eye out for the seals
that are usually found in these sheltered waters. Mweenish and Mannin Bays
regular hauling out and breeding sites for common seals and can be seen with
some difficulty lying almost motionless as they wait for the tide to lift them
away. Break for lunch after swimming the horses in the sea, before riding along
the beach on the other side of the island enjoying the fabulous view of the
Wednesday Today, tide permitting the trail goes through the wide strip
of sea that separates Finish island from the mainland. Finish island can only
be reached if the tide is low enough and at some times this may not be
possible. Riding on the island is a magical experience. The island was once
inhabited and the ruins of the houses still remain, along with stone walls that
the riders can jump. We return to the mainland for lunch before heading up into
the mountains for a relaxing afternoons ride in the rocky hills above Kikerrin
where the views have to be seen to be believed. The horses spend the night in a
pasture close to Kilkerrin.
Thursday The trail leaves the
pasture and heads over mountain and bogland above the coastline. Riders can see
small herds of Connemara ponies that graze on the mountain sides, past piles of
turf stored for the winter. Lunch is eaten beside an old mill where corn was
once milled for the village. After lunch the ride heads along the coastline
past the awesome Gowla mountain range, which has spectacularly steep slopes.
The ride ends at Derryrush where the horses are turned loose into a pasture
before the riders return to their accommodation.
Friday The horses are saddled in the morning and the trail follows the
coastline for the first half of the day. Once past Screebe Lodge, a traditional
hunting lodge now a luxurious hotel, the trail turns off into the mountains
where lunch is eaten while the horses graze. After lunch the ride heads up into
the mountains stopping for a look at a traditional farm cottage. The ride
continues over the mountains, through bogs and past abandoned cottages, amidst
spectacular scenery, before emerging into a forest at Shanafestin. There is
then a short ride to the pasture where the horses spend the night, first
fording the deep stream that borders the pasture. The riders then travel to
Oughterard and to their accommodation.
Saturday The final day of the ride. After
saddling the horses the riders head into the forest at Shanaphestin where they
gallop along forest tracks. This is a completely different landscape from the
rest of the week. Lunch is eaten in the forest before the horses are resaddled
and then the ride continues along the forest tracks before emerging above
Oughterard. The ride ends by crossing a short stretch of mountain above
Oughterard before reaching the pasture where the horses are unsaddled before
the riders head off for a well earned drink.
Sunday Depart after breakfast. Trains to Dublin, and transfers to
Shannon are available at added cost.
Ask about: Aille Cross Cross-Country Trail:
Add a day of riding to any self drive tour
We offer daily rides in the Killarney National Park for 1, 2 or 3 hours. The
trails go through the park alongside Lough Lein (the largest of the three lakes
in Killarney) taking in views of Ross Castle and Ross Island, panoramic views
of Innisfallen Island. The Kenmare Estate and the majestic mountains
surrounding Killarney will all be appreciated. All rides are supervised by
guides with special care taken of nervous or beginner riders, all levels of
riding experience are catered for, riders are grouped according to their
abilities. The stables can supply those who come unequipped with hard hats and
Horse riding in Ireland by the hour. Trail rides at scheduled intervals.
|When in Ireland..Chips=French fries
When in Ireland..Crisps=Potato chips. Usually available in two flavors: cheese
and onion or salt and vinegar.
Please Email Us For Information Call 1-800-221-2474 9AM - 6PM Mon-Fri Eastern Time
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