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Connemara Trails'–Ireland
One of the most beautiful places in the world

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from £1,660 or €1,950

Horse Riding Holidays Ireland–Connemara Trails

PRICES & DATES top

Connemara Trails: 2017

Connemara Short Breaks – £470/€550/$575 per person sharing
Includes 3 days of guided rides available throughout the year.
2 nights B&B at Renvyle House, Pub or Picnic lunch and 5 course gourmet meal on Saturday.

The Connemara Trail – £1,660/€1,950/$2,035 per person sharing
Includes 6 days of guided rides Sunday to Saturday available throughout the year.
6 nights B&B, lunches & dinners, cultural tours & entrance fees.

Getting There

International flight to Dublin or Shannon

Transfer

The meeting point is Galway city and includes a return pick up. From Dublin or Shannon, there are good bus links directly to Galway or we can arrange a private transfer.

All our horse riding holidays& adventures are price guaranteed giving our clients piece of mind. We will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

The west coast of Ireland and in particular Connemara is quite honestly one of the most beautiful places in the world. What strikes you most about the area is that it keeps giving at every turn from deserted beaches on the Atlantic ocean, green forest tracks up to the mountains, glass like lakes, the warmest of people, a huge amount of culture and history and of course the beautiful Connemara pony, of which I am personally a big fan, having owned and ridden one as a young adult. His name was Rosenaharley Lauris and he was and still is my all-time favourite horse to date.

As you can imagine, when I arranged a visit some years ago to see and ride in Connemara, I was very excited and I can honestly say, it did not disappoint.

We work with Cathriona Goaley, who has a beautiful farmhouse that sits on Lough Corrib along with her private yard and stables full of select Connemara and Connemara Cross ponies, some of which are homebred. There are a variety of trails across the region and date lengths to choose from to suit your needs and prices range.

There are some excellent set date departures too which you may want to consider, which follow in the ‘Itinerary’ section below and include a visit to the famous Dublin Horse Show and the best Connemara show in Ireland at Clifden.

One of the amazing trips I did and Cathriona very kindly arranged was an evening visit to the beach to see Henry O’Toole’s breeding mares (Castle Connemara Ponies Stud). He’s probably one of the most famous Connemara breeders in the world and it was a privilege to be out and seeing his mares in their natural habitat. They we roughed off, content in their harsh environment looking after their young and each other. They were absolutely beautiful, bright white shapes against the dark evening, shining bright ignoring the strong winds howling over the beach and up to the grasslands from the Atlantic – heaven!

THE RIDING top

Horses –Very good quality Connemara ponies and Connemara Crosses, 14.2hh to 16hh. They all have a great attitude and clearly cherished by Cathriona and her team and give forward going rides.DSC_0118

Level of Riding & Pace – Intermediate plus. The riding includes gallops and the horses are well behaved and forward going.

Tack – English Style.

Weight Restriction – 15 stones / 210lbs / 95kgs

Group Size – Minimum 4 riders, maximum 10 riders.

 

ACCOMMODATION top

There are in the main 4 different accommodations, Curra Farmhouse, which is stylish and welcoming and home to the horses, Cathriona and her team and sit on the edge of Lough Corrib.

The 2nd accommodation is Renvyle House, a beautiful estate home which sits right out on a peninsula, beside the beach.

The 3rd accommodation is Ballynahinch Castle, an outstanding Castle which boasts some of the finest salmon fishing in the world.

The 4th accommodation is Cashel House an eccentric and intriguing hotel  which overlooks Cashel Bay.

The food from start to finish is outstanding, fresh, local produce is served often and as much as possible. You can look forward to hearty Irish breakfasts with tasty local sausages, for lunch there is an abundance of some of the best seafood on offer, Killary muscles are outstanding. You can also expect some of the best meat of offer, fantastic local lamb and beef.

Of course no trip to Ireland would be worthwhile, without having a few pints of Guiness, here it tastes sweet and creamy and like nowhere else in the world!

Included – Check prices for what is included in each itinerary.

Excluded – Flights, tips & drinks – also check prices for what is excluded from the included section.

Please Ask About

In addition to riding in Connemara, we also have other rides in other parts of Ireland you may want to visit and experience and include Killarney, Castle Leslie, Flowerhill and Bel Air.

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

2 night / 3 day Short Break

DAY 1

Arrive as early as you like on Friday morning and enjoy the scenery at Renvyle House, which sits right on the beach. A local ride around the grounds of the hotel will give you a feel for the wonderful scenery which lies ahead of you over the course of the weekend. After checking in to your room, you can choose to either dine at the bar or splash out and go for the full 5 course option at the main restaurant.

DAY 2

On Saturday, after choosing from the very extensive breakfast menu, we head off from the hotel and ride around the Renvyle Peninsula. There you will have the opportunity to gallop along the strand at low tide. For lunch we will return to Renvyle House Hotel & Resort where you can use many of the facilities in the afternoon. Tonight we will dine together at the Roisin Dubh restaurant and indulge in five courses of Tim O'Sullivan's award winning cuisine.

DAY 3

Sunday lends itself to a ride in the Aughris Peninsula after breakfast, home to the famous Wild Atlantic Way treasure that is Omey Island. With a low tide, the strand is like a playground, which you can choose to cross at any pace you like. A sad farewell with the hope you will visit again soon, but next time stay for longer

Connemara Trail

DAY 1

You will be collected at the tourist office in Galway city to travel to Moycullen, at the gateway to Connemara, where you will stay in on the shore of Lough Corrib. Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland. It covers 176 sq metres and is famous for trout, salmon and coarse fishing. In the 12th century, the first canal on the island of Ireland was cut to allow boats to travel from Lough Corrib to the sea. It was once believed that there are 365 islands on Lough Corrib but more recent surveys have shown that there are 1327. One of the most famous of these, at the narrowest point of the lake, between Maam and Doon, is where Hen's Castle (Castlekirk) is located. This strategically placed castle played a very important role in Irish history and was one of Ireland’s female warriors Grace O’Malley (Grainnuaile) many homes in the area and the scene of several bloody battles. The lake is steeped in history. In April 2014 a 4,500-year-old log boat was among 12 early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft found on the bottom of Lough Corrib, along with several Viking-style battle axes and other weapons. Before your adventure begins you'll have an opportunity to settle in, relax in your room, refresh in the Jacuzzi or take a walk around the farm.

Our mares and foals will be on view grazing happily at the farm while some of our young stock will be on view while being trained for their career with us. Over a light lunch, we will chat about your riding experience and what you can expect from your stay with us. Then we will bring you to the stable yard to meet our ponies and horses and introduce you to your equine partner on this adventure. We will then show you how to groom and prepare your mount for riding. This is an essential element of the bonding process and helps to build up mutual trust and respect. Your riding skills will be assessed in our enclosed arena to ensure we have the right match of horse personality to suit your ability and experience. Changes will be made if necessary at this point. It matters to us that you feel safe and comfortable with your pony or horse so we will take as much time as necessary to get it right. When everybody is happy, we'll take a ride around the farm and lakeshore to help cement the bond and build up an appetite for a traditional Irish meal. Over dinner, we'll teach you some gaelic words and phrases. If you have any energy left you can learn to play our national game of hurling, which is believed to be the world's oldest field game - before you retire to your comfortable bed for a well-earned sleep.

DAY 2

Before breakfast, you will have an option of helping us to feed our herd of Connemara ponies or having a lie-in. After continental buffet breakfast, we'll meet in the yard where you will groom your pony and tack up for our second ride which takes us down quiet country lanes into the forestry. The forestry tracks offer several options, depending on your level of ability and confidence. You can choose a leisurely trot or opt for an invigorating canter or take on one of the jumping lanes. We'll make our way back to the yard via the lake shore where you can bring your pony for a paddle or splash in the water to cool down before we untack and take care of them. There's just enough time for a quick coffee before we make our way to the wonderful Bridgit’s garden for lunch and much more!

Brigit is an example of a strong and independent Irish woman. The name Brigit means 'Exalted One' and refers both to St Brigit, the powerful 6th century abbess of Kildare, and the pre-Christian Brigit, goddess for many Celtic peoples across Europe. Many of the stories associated with St Brigit are clearly pre-Christian in origin, so the two Brigit's are inextricably linked. Before our day comes to a close we will bring you back to Curra House where you can relax and get ready to for another hearty Irish meal in the comfort of our home. You have the option of visiting the nearby village of Moycullen to mingle with the locals or simply relax on the sofa with an Irish coffee or spend some quality time counting the bubbles in the Jacuzzi.

DAY 3

As usual, you have the option to ease yourself into the day or to join us as we feed and check our Connemara herd. After breakfast we pack up people and ponies and head deeper into Connemara, through Oughterard and Maam Cross and past the stunning Inagh Valley to Renvyle House Hotel & Resort. On the way we'll stop off at Kylemore Abbey where you will be treated to lunch and a tour of the abbey and gardens while your luggage is transferred to the hotel. Once you arrive and get settled into your room at Renvyle House, a brief guided tour around the grounds will form an introduction to the many facilities available. Our ride today will take us around the beautifully scenic Renvyle Peninsula where we retrace the footsteps of the pirate queen and visit another of her castles. We will ride along the headlands viewing the islands of Inish Shark, Turk. If the day is clear enough we will get a panoramic view of Croagh Patrick and the 12 bens as we ride through the quiet lanes of Tully Mountain along the Wild Atlantic Way. On the White Strand you will have the opportunity to gallop along the unspoilt beach or simply paddle in the Atlantic Ocean. That evening, the award winning chefs of Renvyle House hotel will treat you to a 4 course meal after you have had a chance to use one or more of the many hotel facilities.

DAY 4

After a choice of a full traditional Irish breakfast or a combination of menu items from the vast choice on the menu, you will be transported along with the horses to the Aughris Peninsula. Bring your swimsuit and walking boots! We will start with a ride around the peninsula before we hack across the vast stretch of sand that allow us to explore the wonderful Omey Island and it’s history at low tide. Coming back across the sand, you will have the opportunity to gallop the length of the strand or simply take your horse for a splash. This is also when you can take a dip in the Wild Atlantic Ocean. Lunch will served in the local pub after which we transport you back to the hotel to relax with a book or use one or many of the hotel facilities before your dinner. Night owls will be entertained by music at the bar.

DAY 5

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is located at the heart of the Ballynahinch Estate. Comprising 450 acres of beautiful woodlands, gardens, lakes and rivers, this sporting country estate offers a secluded retreat of peace for any visitor. The grounds around the Estate offer over five kilometres of woodland, lakeshore and riverside walks suitable for all. After a hearty breakfast, we’ll set off on horseback to ride through forest tracks and country lanes. Our route takes us along part of the old railway line. The historical Galway-Clifden railway line played a vital role in the social history and development of the region before it was closed in the early 20th century. Some parts of Ballynahinch, like the terraced garden and walled garden, are not accessible on horseback so, after lunch, we’ll take a walking tour of the estate to help work up an appetite for a gourmet dinner.

DAY 6

After breakfast we say goodbye to Ballynahinch and move towards our final select hotel, Cashel House, which is nestled in 50 acres of gardens and woodland walks. Built in the 19th century this gracious country home was converted to a four star hotel in 1968 by the McEvilly family. Today, our riding trip takes us along the famous bog road between Roundstone and Clifden. Along the way you can view the site where Marconi established the first ever commercial transatlantic wireless station. Alcock and Brown landed the first ever transatlantic flight on the very same spot in 1919. After having a light lunch in Clifden, we’ll visit the Connemara Pony Museum and the world-famous grounds of the Connemara Pony Breeders Society before taking some time to visit the local craft shops for a little retail therapy before returning to Cashel House for dinner.

DAY 7

Breakfast, departure and a sad farewell with the hope we will see you again soon!

Connemara Trail & Dublin Horse Show

DAY 1

You will be collected at the tourist office in Galway city to travel to Moycullen, at the gateway to Connemara, where you will stay in Curra on the shore of Lough Corrib. Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland. It covers 176 sq metres and is famous for trout, salmon and coarse fishing. In the 12th century, the first canal on the island of Ireland was cut to allow boats to travel from Lough Corrib to the sea. It was once believed that there are 365 islands on Lough Corrib but more recent surveys have shown that there are 1327.One of the most famous of these, at the narrowest point of the lake, between Maam and Doon, is where Hen's Castle (Castlekirk) is located. This strategically placed castle played a very important role in Irish history and was one of Ireland’s female warriors Grace O’Malley (Grainnuaile) many homes in the area and the scene of several bloody battles. The lake is steeped in history. In April 2014 a 4,500-year-old log boat was among 12 early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft found on the bottom of Lough Corrib, along with several Viking-style battle axes and other weapons.

Before your adventure begins you’ll have an opportunity to settle in, relax in your room, refresh in the Jacuzzi or take a walk around the farm. Our mares and foals will be on view grazing happily at the farm while some of our young stock will be on view while being trained for their career with us. Over a light lunch, we will chat about your riding experience and what you can expect from your stay with us. Then we will bring you to the stable yard to meet our ponies and horses and introduce you to your equine partner on this adventure. We will then show you how to groom and prepare your mount for riding. This is an essential element of the bonding process and helps to build up mutual trust and respect. Your riding skills will be assessed in our enclosed arena to ensure we have the right match of horse personality to suit your ability and experience. Changes will be made if necessary at this point. It matters to us that you feel safe and comfortable with your pony or horse so we will take as much time as necessary to get it right. When everybody is happy, we’ll take a ride around the farm and lakeshore to help cement the bond and build up an appetite for a traditional Irish meal. Over dinner, we’ll teach you some gaelic words and phrases. If you have any energy left you can learn to play our national game of hurling, which is believed to be the world’s oldest field game – before you retire to your comfortable bed for a well-earned sleep.

DAY 2

Before breakfast, you will have an option of helping us to feed our herd of Connemara ponies or having a lie-in. After continental buffet breakfast, we'll meet in the yard where you will groom your pony and tack up for our second ride which takes us down quiet country lanes into the forestry. The forestry tracks offer several options, depending on your level of ability and confidence. You can choose a leisurely trot or opt for an invigorating canter or take on one of the jumping lanes. We'll make our way back to the yard via the lake shore where you can bring your pony for a paddle or splash in the water to cool down before we untack and take care of them. There's just enough time for a quick coffee before we make our way to the wonderful Bridgit’s garden for lunch and much more!

Brigit is an example of a strong and independent Irish woman. The name Brigit means 'Exalted One' and refers both to St Brigit, the powerful 6th century abbess of Kildare, and the pre-Christian Brigit, goddess for many Celtic peoples across Europe. Many of the stories associated with St Brigit are clearly pre-Christian in origin, so the two Brigit's are inextricably linked. Before our day comes to a close we will bring you back to Curra House where you can relax and get ready to for another hearty Irish meal in the comfort of our home. You have the option of visiting the nearby village of Moycullen to mingle with the locals or simply relax on the sofa with an Irish coffee or spend some quality time counting the bubbles in the Jacuzzi.

DAY 3

As usual, you have the option to ease yourself into the day or to join us as we feed and check our Connemara herd. After breakfast we pack up people and ponies and head deeper into Connemara, through Oughterard and Maam Cross and past the stunning Inagh Valley to Renvyle House Hotel & Resort. On the way we'll stop off at Kylemore Abbey where you will be treated to lunch and a tour of the abbey and gardens while your luggage is transferred to the hotel. Once you arrive and get settled into your room at Renvyle House, a brief guided tour around the grounds will form an introduction to the many facilities available. Our ride today will take us around the beautifully scenic Renvyle Peninsula where we retrace the footsteps of the pirate queen and visit another of her castles. We will ride along the headlands viewing the islands of Inish Shark, Turk. If the day is clear enough we will get a panoramic view of Croagh Patrick and the 12 bens as we ride through the quiet lanes of Tully Mountain along the Wild Atlantic Way. On the White Strand you will have the opportunity to gallop along the unspoilt beach or simply paddle in the Atlantic Ocean. That evening, the award winning chefs of Renvyle House hotel will treat you to a 4 course meal after you have had a chance to use one or more of the many hotel facilities.

DAY 5

It’s an early rise to make our way to our first day at the Dublin Horse Show. Your luggage will be brought directly to the hotel as you try to decide which of the many classes to watch or shops to visit at the show. Watch the nations cup competition live at the main arena, take in a clinic or marvel in the courage and speed of the under 12 riders with their tiny ponies jumping heights at speeds you can only dream about. When you’ve walked your feet off, choose to dine locally at one of the many fine restaurants in Ballsbridge or take the shuttle back to the hotel for some bar or a la carte dining.

DAY 6

After breakfast, take the shuttle bus back to the Dublin Horse Show for another fun packed day. Make the most of your last day and maybe grab some bargains at the tack shops, invest in some equine art, watch some of the Irish breeds on show, the Irish Draft , the Connemara pony or the Irish Hunters or watch the international showjumpers warm up for their world class competitions.

DAY 7

Breakfast, departure and a sad farewell, with the hope you return again one day.

Connemara Trail & Clifden Connemara Show

DAY 1

You will be collected at the tourist office in Galway city to travel to your first accommodation at the gateway to Connemara. After your long overnight trip, relax in your room, refresh in the Jacuzzi or shower and after a light lunch, meet your equine partner and explore the farmhouse stables.

Get down to nature….Your riding skills will be assessed in an enclosed arena to ensure we have the right match of horse personality to suit your ability. A ride around the farm in the fresh lakeside air will allow you to bond with your equine. On the first evening, you will be treated to a traditional Irish meal while we teach you some gaelic before you retire to your comfortable bed.

DAY 2

Before breakfast, you will have an option of helping feed our herd of Connemara ponies, watch the nature of mother and foal bond as we prepare them for weaning in October. After a continental buffet breakfast, groom your pony and tack up for our second ride which takes us down quiet country lanes into the forestry (with optional jumping lanes). After returning to the farm house, allow your pony to paddle in the lake to cool down. With time to refresh yourself and a quick coffee, we make our way to Bridgit’s garden for lunch and the opportunity to learn about Irish myths and legends.

DAY 3

Now that you've cemented your bond with your equine partner you will both enjoy lakeshore and cross country rides around Teach naCorra. In the afternoon, we'll visit one of the many local attractions to help deepen your understanding of the rich culture of Ireland. After dinner, you can practice the gaelic words you've been learning and try your hand at some of your national games.

DAY 4

After breakfast we prepare the horses for transport deeper into Connemara to Renvyle House Hotel which sits on the sea, stopping off at one of the famous local Connemara Pony Studs. On return to the hotel, a brief guided tour around the hotel grounds will form an introduction to the facilities available. Prepare for your riding trip with the horses having settled after their journey. Our afternoon ride today takes us around the beautifully scenic RenvylePeninnsula where we visit the Granuaile Castle (pirate queen), ride along the headlands viewing Inish Shark, Turk, and if the day is clear enough get a panoramic view of Croagh Patrick and the 12 bens. Riding through the quiet lanes of Tully Mountain. Being part of the Wild Atlantic Way, you will have an opportunity to gallop on the White Strand or simply paddle in its waters. The award winning chefs of Renvyle House hotel will treat you to a 4 course meal after you have had a chance to use one or more of the many hotel facilities.

DAY 5

After a hearty Irish breakfast, we transfer to the Connemara Pony Show in Clifdenand spend the day where you will see the finest Connemara Ponies in the country being put through their paces, in-hand in the showing classes and under saddle in the showjumping, dressage and performance competitions. This show attracts competitors, spectators and buyers from near and far. Close by at the Station House Museum, an informative talk will give us an insight into the history and versatility of the pony.

DAY 6

On Friday, we may revisit the Connemara Pony Show to watch the nail-biting Puissance (high Jump) competition. This event tests the agility, strength and bravery of both pony and rider and is always an exciting competition. Or we may take a ride to the wonderful OmeyIsland,Omey is a tidal island situated near Claddaghduff on the western edge of Connemara.and taking in the sights, sounds and smells before returning to the hotel for our evening dinner.

DAY 7

Breakfast, departure and a sad farewell with the hope we will see you again soon!

DESTINATION MAP top

 

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Ireland Holidays Testimonials

Jackie on Connemara Trail Ride, Ireland

Simply awesome riding, in a beautiful country with the friendliest of hosts made our Irish riding experience, our best holiday to date.

Jackie & Edward Lawson from New York