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

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from £1,455 or €1,650

Horse Riding Holidays Ireland – Connemara & Coastal Trails

PRICES & DATES top

Connemara Trails: Prices 2019

April, May, June & September – £1,455/€1,650/$1,880 per person sharing

July & August – £1,495/€1,690/$1,930 per person sharing

Single Supplement – £225/€250/$285

NON RIDERS welcome please ask.

Connemara Coastal Trails: Prices 2019

April, May, June & September – £1,455/€1,650/$1,880 per person sharing

July & August – £1,495/€1,690/$1,930 per person sharing

Single Supplement – £225/€250/$285

NON RIDERS welcome please ask.

Included – Includes 6 days of guided rides, accommodation and full board, plus transfer to and from Galway City at set times.

Excluded – Flights, tips & drinks

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our ‘Terms & Conditions’ for full details.

Connemara Trails: Dates 2019

15 – 21 April
29 April – 5 May
13 – 19 May
27 May – 2 June
10 – 16 June
24 – 30 June
8 – 14 July
22 – 28 July
5 – 11 August
19 – 25 August
2 – 8 September
16 – 22 September

Connemara Coastal Trails: Dates 2019

22 – 28 April
6 – 12 May
20 – 26 May
3 – 9 June
17 – 23 June
1 – 7 July
15 – 21 July
29 July – 4 August
12 – 18 August
26 August – 1 September
9 – 15 September
23 – 29 September

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.

Xcountry & Riding Packages
Also available throughout the year, please enquire.

Hunting Packages with the Galway Blazers
Also available October to March, please enquire.

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 Willie Leahy, who is a living legend and has been guiding these trails for some 50 years, the very incarnation of an Irish horseman, who will be your guide during a week or more of trekking through the gaelic West.

In the heart of a contrasted landscape, where the mountains meet the sea, and green land surrounds the lakes, you will find one of Ireland’s most beautiful regions, Connemara, a land both wild and tame.

Six days or more of exciting and relaxing holidays, where, after you spending four to six hours a day on horseback, you are accommodated in luxurious hotels or guesthouses while the horses graze freely in a nearby field.

Guided by this friendly centaur, you cross the wild green hills, the rust coloured bogs through which only an experienced man like Willie knows his way. Among castle and manor ruins and along mountain paths, your will cross and settle for lunch in the most picturesque of spots.

Your luggage is brought by car from accommodation to accommodation, while the your catering needs are met enroute by the Connemara Trail’s dynamic team.

The Trails are not confined to horse lovers. On demand, many activities such as river fishing and deep-sea fishing, golf, cycling, mountain climbing or walking the little deserted roads, swimming etc. can be organised. Non-riders will meet their riding Partners every evening to share their daily experience in the hotel pub.

At the end of this adventure, the Atlantic coast spreads out before you : you feel a fresh and salty breeze, while you gallop along the white sand of these endless beaches: you are then overcome by an impalpable sensation ; close your eyes… Connemara………!

“The thunder of galloping hoofs broke the silence of a serene mountain valley.
A flock of sheep stopped grazing to watch our posse gallop across the landscape, a blur of manes and tails and determined, red-cheeked faces – This is the Wild West of Ireland”

THE RIDING top

Horses –Very good quality Connemara ponies, Connemara Crosses, Cobs & Irish Drafts & Irish Draft Crosses 14hh to 16hh. They all have a great attitude, forward going and happy in their work.

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

Tack – English Style.

Weight Restriction – 17.3 stones / 2420lbs / 110kgs

Group Size – Maximum 10 riders.

ACCOMMODATION top

There are a mix of historic hotels, house hotels, hotels and guesthouses, all chosen for their  location, charm and warm welcomes.

Connemara Trail
Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Zetland Country House, Connemara Lake Hotel, Loughrae Spa Hotel, Guesthouses in Clifden & Oughterard

Connemara Coastal Trail
Zetland Country House, Carna Bay Hotel, Loughrae Spa Hotel, Guesthouses in Carna 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, lunch is picnic style in beautiful stop off points, and evening meals are a showcase of teh best food Connemara has to offer, local lamb, beef and seafood.

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!

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 Flowerhill, Killarney and Castle Leslie.

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

Connemara Trail – Itinerary by Day

Monday
The riders meet at the Meyrick Hotel (formerly the Great Southern Hotel), Eyre Square, in the heart of Galway at 10am. Here you are introduced to your guide and the back up team who are on hand to move luggage, bring the picnic and help with the horses.

There is a short drive, out of the city (approx. 30 min) to the start point of the ride, at Oughterard. Here you will have your first sight of the horse or pony which is to become your companion for the week. The horses and ponies are assigned to the riders, according to the rider’s ability, weight, height etc. After tacking up the ride departs and heads straight into the mountains for a long ride that will finish at Maam Cross, the site of the famous October horse fair.

The trail takes the riders past the ruins of cottages abandoned since the famine, in the 1840’s, which decimated the Irish population. As the trail winds its way through the spectacular scenery the view is magnificent, spanning the horizon is the vast expanse of Lough Corrib, the largest lake in southern Ireland.

After lunch the ride continues through the mountains, traversing the bogs and rocks and wading through streams. Way below the trail is the ‘Quiet Man Bridge’, made famous by the John Wayne movie. The day ends with the first of many canters along the abandoned Galway to Clifden railway line. At the end of the day the horses are turned loose into a lakeside pasture while the riders travel to their accommodation.

Tuesday
Having spent the night at the lakeside pasture at Maam Cross the horses are refreshed and ready to begin the ride from Maam Cross to Ballinafad. The first stage of the ride goes through Willie’s land at Maam Cross, where a path takes the riders alongside the beautiful Lough Sindle and past the remains of a long forgotten lime kiln, hidden in a grove of hazel trees.
Some of the trees in the area are ancient, yet they remain tiny, bent by the harsh Atlantic winds that batter this area during the winter. Lunch is eaten on a small village green, while the horses graze.

After lunch it is back into the saddle for the final stage of the days ride, through silent woodlands and through the beautiful Inagh Valley. On a clear day riders can see right over the spectacular Connemara landscape to the coast at Rosmuc. The day ends with another canter along the old Galway to Clifden railway line, before the horses are turned out in a pasture at Ballinafad, before the riders return to their accommodation.

Wednesday
The horses are rounded up and saddled before the ride leaves Ballinafad.
This morning the horses wade through a wide mountain stream before heading up into a short stretch of mountain above the ancient Ballinafad cemetery.
The riders then go through the grounds of Ballinahinch Castle, enjoying a long canter through the woodland beforehand. The castle was once the home of an Indian Prince and also Richard Martin who founded the humane society for the protection of animals.

There is a long canter along the old railway line. The grassy track is great fun for a long canter. The horses are set free on the edge of bogland close to Clifden while the riders eat lunch.

Then it is back into the saddle for the afternoon ride which goes along a grassy track close to Clifden and then heads inland over the Roundstone Bog, site of the landing of the historic flight of Alcock and Brown, who piloted the first transatlantic biplane and the site of the Marconi wireless station. Then we follow the coast to the seaside pasture where the horses will spend the next few nights. The riders then head to their accommodation in Clifden where they will spend the next few nights.

Thursday
This is a full day spent on the fabulous Mannin Bay beach. There is mile after mile of sandy beach where riders can gallop and jump over the small stone walls and sandy banks.

This is an unforgettable day. Riders are welcome to swim their mount in the clear water of the ocean. It is a unique and very special experience as the horse begins to swim under you. The horses dry off and rest in a beach side pasture while the riders eat a picnic lunch on over the beach over looking the ocean. Then it is back into the saddle for another ride along the beach to discover more of the wonders of this coastline.

Friday
The ride begins at the sea and ends at Toombeola, inland over the mountains.
The ride follows the coastline, passing small farmsteads, where generations of small farmers have lived and worked. The coastline is beautiful, the water often the colour of a tropical sea. The ride continues into Errisbeg mountain along an old grassy track before our lunch stop, which is eaten in the mountains, overlooking the pasture where the horses eat. Then they are saddled for the ride that takes us high into Errisbeg mountain high above the seaside village of Roundstone. Watch out for the leprechauns that are known to inhabit this area. Below is the stunning scenery of Dogs Bay, which curves out into the Atlantic Ocean. The horses spend the night in a pasture at Toombeola while the riders travel back to Loughrea for the night.

Saturday
You will spend Saturday night again in Loughrea from where you will depart after breakfast on Sunday morning.
The riders will be collected from the Hotel / Guesthouse in the morning and brought to Dartfield, Willie’s purpose built Equestrian and Heritage Centre. After a warm welcome with hot Port or Whiskey we will tack up the horses and enjoy trekking through the 350 acres estate. The ride goes through woodland and across fields and there is the option to jump in our Cross Country Course which already hosted an international 3 Star event. Lunch will be in our Cafe here at Dartfield and you have the chance to visit the only Museum in Ireland dedicated to Irish horses / ponies and Dog Breeds and browse our Tack and Gift Shop.

The afternoon is again spent riding here at Dartfield, going out hacking and jumping before it is time to say good bye.
Overnight Loughrae

Sunday
Breakfast & departure.

Connemara Coastal Trail – Itinerary by day

Monday
Meet at 10 am in Galwy at the Meyrick Hotel (formerly Great Southern). The ride begins at Toombeola from where we ride over Cashel Hill and have lunch overlooking the sea near Bolgers where there was once a shop and pub. After lunch we ride along the road for about 15 min until we turn into a side road where we pass the Zetland Hotel. After another hour we leave the horses in Willie’s mountain in Shannadonnell for the night.

Tuesday
Drive into Willies mountain to catch and tack up the horses. Then we ride along beautiful lakes in Willies mountain and enjoy the stunning views of the landscape and vegetation. After we cross over the mountain, which takes about 1.5 hrs, we will we have lunch by a lake. After lunch we make our way off the mountain towards the sea, where depending on the tide, we either ride to Mweenish where we may leave the horses for the night, or ride out to Mweenish Island.

Wednesday
As on Tuesday eve, depending on the tide, we ride out to Mweenish Island this morning and explore the different beaches here or alternative we ride to Finish Island. After coming back on shore from the Island Lunch is eaten usually at Willies beach house. After lunch we can enjoy cantering on the beach and explore the sea side around Carna Village.

Thursday
We ride from Mweenish into Carna village along little lane ways where we get over mountains with beautiful lakes and overlooking the sea. We will have lunch at the water tower. After lunch we ride up a quiet high mountain which overlooks Kilkerrin where there is a salmon farm. This brings us down to a road where we have to ride for about an hour to get to Derryrush.

Friday
This is a new ride and may change a bit going forward. We ride from Derryrush to Rosmuck village which is still along the coast and we have quiet an early lunch because we will have along ride in the afternoon over a beautiful mountain looking over screebe lodge and the very famous screebe fishery. That’s brings us to the end of Friday. The riders travel to Loughrea to their accommodation.

Saturday
You will spend Saturday night again in Loughrea from where you will depart after breakfast on Sunday morning.
The riders will be collected from the Hotel / Guesthouse in the morning and brought to Dartfield, Willie’s purpose built Equestrian and Heritage Centre. After a warm welcome with hot Port or Whiskey we will tack up the horses and enjoy trekking through the 350 acres estate. The ride goes through woodland and across fields and there is the option to jump in our Cross Country Course which already hosted an international 3 Star event. Lunch will be in our Cafe here at Dartfield and you have the chance to visit the only Museum in Ireland dedicated to Irish horses / ponies and Dog Breeds and browse our Tack and Gift Shop.

The afternoon is again spent riding here at Dartfield, going out hacking and jumping before it is time to say good bye to your horse.

Sunday
Breakfast & departure.

DESTINATION MAP top

Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays are price guaranteed. We will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holiday collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

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Ireland Holidays Testimonials

Claire on Bel-Air Country House, Ireland

Wow! What a super weekend! Great riding, horses, hospitality and we adored the old world charm... we will definitely book another weekend before the summer.

Claire Norman from London