This horseback riding vacation offers the true equestrian the opportunity of riding Ireland’s finest Connemara Ponies and Irish Draught Horses in the Connemara region along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. Take in a visit to the Irish equestrian showcase at the Royal Dublin Society that is the Dublin Horse Show for two days at the end of the week.
Not only can you experience the joy and thrill of riding a Connemara Pony / Irish Draught Horse through the amazing scenery of Connemara, learn about the language, culture and history of this special place and meet some fascinating, colourful characters, but you will also get to visit Ireland’s premier equestrian event – the Dublin Horse Show.
This annual show attracts the very best of Irish riders, horses and ponies to compete on an International stage.
Your accommodations are carefully chosen to include :
Rider Requirements & Ability : We expect our guest to be able to walk, trot and canter with a secure seat. We advise western style riders to take some English Style lessons before participating on this trip in order to familiarise themselves with English tack and style of riding. While we don’t impose a rider weight limit due to the strong nature of our Connemara ponies and Irish Draught horses, we do expect riders to be honest with their weight at the time of paying the deposit and notify us of any changes prior to the start date. In the event of our guides deeming that a rider needs to be lead with a walking guide, a charge of €50 per rider per ride will be applied. Travel Insurance is mandatory for all clients. Clients must demonstrate that they have adequate cover for the duration of their stay with Connemara Equestrian Escapes. Any medical conditions must be made known to us in advance.
Today we travel through Galway City and onwards to Moycullen, at the gateway to Connemara, where you will stay in Curra Farm 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. 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 riding 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.
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 along the route and we will stop for a gourmet picnic in the enchanted forest. 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 Farm 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.
As usual, you have the option to ease yourself into the day or to join us as we feed and check our Connemara herd.
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.
On the White Strand you will have the opportunity to canter 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.
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.
After checking in to your accommodation in Dublin we make our way to the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society, the home of the Dublin Horse Show. Study the online Dublin Horse Show Programme in advance 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 accommodation for some closeby bar food or a la carte dining.
After breakfast, we return to the Dublin Horse Show for another fun packed day. Make the most of your second day at the show and maybe grab some bargains at the tack shops, invest in some equine art or watch the international showjumpers warm up for their world class competitions. Who knows, you might even get an autograph!
Note: Some guests like to extend their stay at and maybe take an extra day in Dublin for sightseeing around the city or indeed having another day at the horse show. Itinerary is subject to change, depending on weather, tides and other conditions.
August 2022. From €2,250 per person sharing Single rooms are available at an extra charge at the hotels subject to availability. Single rooms at the farm house may b available at an extra charge. What’s included : 2 nights Dublin hotel, 2 nights B&B at Curra Farm and 2 nights hotel accommodation at Renvyle House Hotel & Resort Breakfast included on all days 2,3,4,5,6,7 Lunches and evening course meals are extra. Entrance and guided tours, fees at all cultural events on itinerary Entrance to Dublin Horse Show on days 5 and 6 with stand tickets All riding and cultural activities included in price Local riding guides Irish made (English style saddles) Riding helmets Guests required to bring their own suitable footwear and rain gear We recommend jodhpurs/breeches (or comfortable stretchy trousers). No shorts or ¾ lengths please! Detailed route information and maps Transport from Galway City to Connemara on Day 1 Transport from Connemara to Dublin on Day 5 Transport of guests and luggage to all rides and cultural activities Laundry service at farm house & hotels (optional extra) Baggage transportation between accommodations Shuttle to and from airports available – please ask for a quotation
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.