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SAMPLE ITINERARYOur Itineraries are designed to ensure that all our guests are treated to the very best riding and cultural experiences Connemara has to offer. For riders, expect secluded beaches, quiet country lanes, mountain tracks and forest trails. There are ample opportunities to canter or gallop but, if you prefer a more sedate place, we will look after you. Riders and non-riders alike will enjoy first class accommodation gourmet food and a fascinating taste of the unique colour, culture, traditions and history of the Connemara area.
Below is a sample Itinerary but please remember, this is Ireland, where Murphy’s Law was invented, so sometimes the weather or other things beyond our control dictate that we may need to change plans at short notice.Accommodation is provided in our own lakeside farmhouse Teach na Corra and (subject to availability) Renvyle House Hotel, Ballynahinch Castle or Cashel House Hotel.
Day 1You 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 House http://connemaraequestrianescapes.com/our-partners/our-hotels/teach-na-corra/ 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 - http://www.gaa.ie/about-the-gaa/our-games/hurling/ - before you retire to your comfortable bed for a well-earned sleep.
Day 2Before 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 http://www.brigitsgarden.ie/ for lunch and much more! Brigit is another 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 3As 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. http://www.renvyle.com/ On the way we'll stop off at Kylemore Abbey http://www.kylemoreabbey.com/ 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 4After 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 5Ballynahinch 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 refreshing sleep in your Castle Room and 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 be joined by the non-riders for a walking tour of the estate to help work up an appetite for dinne
Day 6After 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 with the non-riders, 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 7Saturday brings us on horseback into the picturesque fishing village of Roundstone. At the Roundstone Pony Showgrounds, the home of the first ever Connemara Pony Show, we stable the horses and ponies, meet up with the non-rdiers and retreat to the local pub for a 'jar' and a light lunch with the locals. A different type of horse-power will then take us by boat to the island of Inishlacken where we will tour the island and view the ruins of previous island life there. If you like, you can bathe in crystal blue waters before the short trip back to Cashel House Hotel to relax or walk around the grounds and gardens. That evening, the chef who will cook up some recipes using the many types of natural seaweed that fed our people and animals and fertilized our lands for centuries. After a comfortable sleep and a good breakfast on Sunday morning it will be time to pack up your belongings and your magical memories and bid a fond farewell to your new found friends. The coach will return you to Galway city where you will make your onward journey home or on to your next escape. Enquire Now Enquire Now
Not too hot and not too cold – you'll find Ireland's climate just right!In Ireland, everyone talks about the weather. Whether it's discussing the direction of the rain from a supermarket doorway, or musing that it's 75°F in March from a bar counter. Irish weather can be unpredictable, so we like to discuss it. A lot! Ireland's climate is influenced most by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitude would have. The average temperature is a mild 50°F. A major warm ocean current called the North Atlantic Drift keeps sea temperatures mild too. Hills and mountains, mainly around the coast of Connemara, shelter the rest of the island from strong winds coming off the ocean. So while the weather can be changeable – it's rarely extreme.