The origins of the Connemara Pony – Ireland’s native pony – are shrouded in mystery. Some believe that today’s Connemara Ponies are descended from Viking ponies, brought here by the Celts in the 4th century B.C. Others tell the tale of Andalucian horses swimming ashore from a shipwrecked Spanish Armada in the 16th century to breed with local stock.
Wherever they came from, these tough and versatile animals have established themselves as an integral part of the economic and social history of Connemara.
Its strength and surefootedness made it ideal for negotiating the rough and inhospitable terrain of mountain, bog and seashore. It’s strong, broad back carried turf and seaweed in creels. It provided transport between the shafts of a cart or a trap. Natural hardiness helped it to survive the harsh winters, with little food or shelter.
Inspections were started to select the best from the existing population for entry into the first volume of the Stud Book which was published in 1926. This work is still carried out today with all stock being inspected before acceptance into the Stud Book. Since then the popularity of the pony has spread worldwide with Connemara Pony Societies throughout Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Every year on the third Thursday of August the Connemara Pony Breeders hold their annual show in the Showgrounds in Clifden, attracting thousands from all over Ireland, Europe and beyond.
Traditionally a one-day show, this annual celebration has turned into a week-long festival. The 2015 festival takes place from Sunday August 16th to August 22nd. We have a special offer available for this week encompassing a 6 night/7 day Connemara Pony Festival package that takes in most of the Connemara Pony festival events with top class accommodation, food and entertainment.
Places are limited on this popular package so do Enquire now.