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2 Days North Coast Adventure Horse Riding Holiday in Northern Ireland, UK

Ballycastle, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Horse Riding Holiday in Northern Ireland

This two-day horse riding trip on the world famous North Coast has everything you might dream of while horse riding in Ireland. The combination of white-sand beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant countryside, enchanting forests, and Irish hospitality will make your horse riding holiday a perfect one. You will get the chance to trot along the White Park Bay all the way to the village of Ballintoy. If you are looking for a holiday that’s brimming with exciting days both in and out of the saddle, this one is for you!

Key Information

  • Tack type: English tack
  • Horse breed: Irish Cobs, Irish Drafts, sport horses, and Connemara

Highlights

  • 2 days of riding
  • 5 - 6 hours of riding each day
  • Knowledgeable trekking guide included
  • Spectacular trail riding and five-star coastal riding
  • Luggage and horse transportation
  • Lunch at a local establishment
  • Refreshments and picnic
  • 1 night accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


2 days with instruction
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Accommodation

You will be accommodated at the McKinley family farm, in Ballycastle.

Program

Day 1

This two-day riding adventure begins at the McKinley family farm located in the beautiful County Antrim countryside. This magnificent hilltop farm is surrounded by 1,000 acres of rolling hills, lush with grass and dotted with white, fluffy sheep. As you make your way up the long, scenic driveway, it soon becomes clear, this isn’t any ordinary Irish farm.

On arrival, Mr. McKinley, members of the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland team, and Lanna, the resident farm dog, will greet you with a warm, genuine welcome. Before heading to the stables, you’ll make your way to the converted loft above to enjoy freshly baked scones and tea and listen to the fascinating stories and history of the area and the exciting details of the day’s ride.

You’ll head to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses and, if you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking.

After selecting a horse and a riding assessment, you will hit the trail, riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills. You will make your way across verdant pasture lands, crossing a stream or two before climbing up onto the moorland above the farm to take in a sweeping five-county view of Northern Ireland and as far away as counties Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, and Fermanagh.

As you ride higher and further out into the Antrim Hills to the summit called Croaghan, you will have a 360-degree panoramic view of all these locations opening before you.

From Croaghan, take a long look out over the Glens of Antrim, looking north to Scotland and Scotland’s Ayrshire Coast, Mull of Kintyre, Scottish Highlands, and the Western Isles. You will also be looking over to Rathlin Island, an island off the coast of County Antrim, and the northernmost point in Northern Ireland.

Additionally, take in County Donegal’s Inishowen and Malin Head, the northernmost point in Ireland. Western views look out over the River Bann to the Sperrin Mountains and south to County Down’s Mourne Mountains and to Slieve Beagh, in County Monaghan, Southern Ireland.

As the team descends Croaghan, making their way over the trails and hills, one thing will become clear: the aura of the surrounding lands is serene and tranquil, mystical and awe-inspiring

From Croaghan, you partly ride on a back road before entering a forest and gradually climbing to one of the best 360-degree panoramic views in Ireland and maybe even much further afield. This is the peak of Orra Mountain (Slieve An Orra), specifically chosen for its historical significance and breathtaking views.

Orra Mountain is best known as the site of a ferocious battle between rival Irish clans in 1583, but on the top of the mountain there is a memorial erected in the honor of seven US airmen who lost their lives there in October 1942, when their World War II B17 crashed on the mountain during heavy cloud cover.

After soaking it all in, you will descend via a different route through Slieve An Orra’s forest clad slopes and make your way through the hills, back roads, and countryside to the McKinley family farm.

  • Overnight: Ballycastle

Day 2

You will transport the horses 10 miles to Ballintoy, on the coast, where, after tacking up, you will follow an old off-road track with splendid views of the coast, to the breathtaking white-sand beach of White Park Bay, a three-mile long beach on the famous Causeway Coastal Route.

White Park Bay is a beautiful stretch of pristine beach located on County Antrim’s North Coast, near the picturesque village of Ballintoy. With a beach so pure it shines for miles (on even the cloudiest of days), this is the perfect backdrop for a refreshing trot, canter, or gallop!

You’ll take your time playing on the beach and in the ocean before cantering over the smooth sands. If you’re lucky, the famous sunbathing cattle will be on the beach, basking in the sun’s warmth.

You will spend your time romping and capering along the three-mile stretch of pristine, resplendent white sand and explore the rolling sand dunes of the area below the backdrop of the rugged surrounding cliff faces which were once home to some of the earliest human settlers in Ireland.

Savor the taste of the tantalizing sea air, feel the blustering and energizing wind on your face and the radiant rays of the Irish sunshine on your back on this invigorating ride!

Afterwards, you’ll make your way over sandy dunes and across lush farmlands for lunch at the Red Door Cottage Tea Room, owned by Nigel and Joanne McGarrity and family. This traditional Irish tearoom sits in an idyllic rural area surrounded by grazing cows and sheep on one side and the mighty Atlantic on the other. Enjoy a pint, glass of wine, or a cup of tea / coffee on the outdoor patio or head inside to dine.

Expect good, straightforward locally sourced main dishes such as seafood chowder or Irish stew, terrific sandwiches, and, quite literally, the best homemade desserts in Ireland! The Red Door Cottage is the perfect place to rest and recharge before continuing your ride of exploration on private farmland in the hills above the picturesque village of Ballintoy.

You will look out over Ballintoy Harbor which was mainly associated with salmon fishing. In its heyday, cartloads of salmon made their way around hilly roads to catch the train at Ballycastle and onward to Belfast. Game of Thrones fans will recognize Ballintoy Harbor as the setting for the Iron Islands and Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke.

Like most places along the North Coast, the views from these hills are spectacular and offer some amazing photo opportunities. You look down on Ballintoy’s most distinctive site, the white Ballintoy Parish Church, perched on a hill overlooking the vast Atlantic.

Ballintoy Parish Church was built in 1813 in replacement of the original church built in the early seventeenth century. It is one of the most scenic churches in the country and is often pictured with the stunning view of Rathlin Island in the background. Many notable landed families are buried in the church’s cemetery, including The Stewarts of Ballintoy, Downing Fullerton, and members of the Stewart-Moore family.

You will now make your way towards the final destination of your journey and, as you ride, you will be looking down onto the cliffs surrounding one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

From here, you will take in the vista of this spectacular coastline hugging the wild Atlantic Ocean, looking out over the sea to Rathlin Island, the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, and the Western Isles of Scotland, before finally stopping and saying farewell to the horses and team after a full day of off-road riding.

Note: This ride is all off-road and is suitable for all levels of riders.

Location

This horse riding holiday will take place in Northern Ireland, UK, evoking images of historic castles, quaint fishing villages, and an ever-changing canvas of landscapes such as endless white-sand beaches, hidden verdant valleys, rugged coastlines, and majestic cliffs. This area also overlooks the wild Atlantic, with stunning views to Scotland and beyond.

Locations where you will ride

  • Croghan
  • Irish countryside
  • North Antrim Hills
  • Private farmlands overlooking Ballintoy Harbor, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and Ballintoy village
  • Red Door Tea Room
  • White Park Bay

Food

Tea and freshly baked scones on arrival, as well as lunch at a local establishment, refreshments, and a picnic are included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Lunch
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 2 days of riding
  • 5 - 6 hours of riding per day
  • Spectacular trail riding and five-star coastal riding
  • Knowledgeable trekking guide
  • Luggage and horse transport
  • History overview of the coast
  • Lunch at a local establishment
  • Refreshments and picnic
  • Tea and freshly baked scones on arrival
  • 1 night accommodation

What's not included

  • Airfare

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Dublin Airport (DUB) or Belfast International Airport (BFS). Transfer from and to these airports is available upon request. Bespoke Equestrian Ireland is a full-service vacation provider and their US team can assist with and arrange travel logistics.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 40% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
2 days / 1 night
from --
Pricing information

For groups of over eight riders, please inquire for group pricing.

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