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 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 Grainnuaile's 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 are enjoying their last few weeks together before the foals are weaned in October and the mares return to their winter grazing.
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 before you retire to your comfortable bed.for a well-earned sleep.
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 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.
Our next stop is another of Grainnuaile's homes, Aughnanure Castle. This castle was built by the O'Flahertys c. 1500, close to the shores of Lough Corrib. In 1546 the O'Flaherty's motto "Fortune favours the strong" and the powerful Mayo O'Malleys Motto "Powerful by land and by sea", were joined in the marriage of Donal an Chogaidh O'Flaherty and Grainuaile/Grace O'Malley. Standing on what is virtually a rocky island, the castle is a particularly well-preserved example of an Irish tower house.
As our first full day of our Wild Atlantic Way Women Only Escape comes to a close, we will bring you back to Curra House where you can relax and get ready to explore the dining options in the nearby village of Moycullen. For fine dining there's the award-winning White Gables or for more informal good quality pub grub, there's The CoachHouse Bar and The Forge.
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, when you have groomed and tacked your horse, we will set off on a hack through the farm, along the lakeshore and over the fields, exploring the different local landscapes and terrains.
When we have looked after the ponies and horses, we will be swapping four legs for a different kind of horse-power as we set off the test our survival skills on our private, uninhabited island on Lough Corrib. Here you will be shown how to gather wood and make a fire to boil water for your coffee with your picnic lunch. Grainnuaile probably never made coffee, but she could well have lit a signal fire on this island many years ago.
Once again you have the choice of enjoying your evening meal in Moycullen village or taking a cab ride into Galway City for live Irish music.
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 Ballynahinch. Tonight you get to sleep under the same roof that the pirate queen herself once enjoyed. The sixteenth century Ballynahinch Castle proudly overlooks the Ballynahinch river. As well as Grainnuaile, this castle has been the home of the O'Flaherty Chieftains, Humanity Dick Martin and the Maharajah Ranjitsinji. http://www.ballynahinch-castle.com/
The island castle (crannog) was built in the fifteenth century by Grainnuale's husband, Donal O'Flaherty, and ruins are stiIl to be seen today from the Galway-Clifden road.
Once you're settled in to your room, we'll prepare to ride. We'll explore the castle grounds and the forestry and ride up the mountain on quiet country lanes for spectacular views of Connemara.
That afternoon, once the ponies and horses are taken care of, we'll drop you into the nearby town of Clifden, spiritual home of the Connemara Pony where you can visit the famous Connemara Pony Museum and the Connemara Pony Breeder's Showgrounds, where the International Connemara Pony Show is held every August.
You can choose to have dinner in Clifden or return to Ballynahinch to eat in the Owenmore restaurant or the Fisherman’s Pub.
After breakfast we prepare the horses for transport even deeper into Connemara with our final destination being 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 in the hotel, 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 unspolt 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.
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 you can take a dip in the Wild Atlantic Ocean.
Lunch will served in the local pub after which we transport you to the National Park for a few hours to explore the wonderful nature of Connemara or climb the Diamond Mountain while we take the horses and ponies back to Renvyle..
Back at the hotel, relax with a book or use one or many of the hotel facilities before your dinner.
Clifden town is just a short cab ride away if you choose to witness one of the many exciting activities planned for the annual Clifden Arts Week. http://clifdenartsweek.ie/
Ticketed events can be booked in advance.
Over breakfast, we will ask you to fill out some feedback and testimonial forms. We constantly improving our guest experience so your feedback is important as we plan to have you and your friends back year after year!
Our guides will take you on your return trip to Galway City for your onward journey.
Please note: Itinerary is subject to change, depending on weather, tides and other conditions