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This four-day holiday with three days of horse riding on the world-famous North Coast gives you the opportunity to ride on the famous white sand beaches, iconic coastlines, and the verdant countryside with its 40 shades of green and enchanting forests. This Irish riding experience begins with a day’s horseback riding in the Irish countryside before spending two more exhilarating days on the famous Causeway Coast heralded for its beauty and spectacular scenery.
You will be staying at a County Antrim bed and breakfast. The room options are shared double or twin; if you want a room for yourself, a single supplement charge will be applied per night.
All of the riding days mixed with BEI's attention to detail, their quality horses, and genuine Irish hospitality make for an unforgettable experience that helps you to connect with the people and the places you are traveling through. This ride is available daily with times to be prearranged with the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland team.
Upon arrival Mr. McKinley, members of Bespoke Equestrian Ireland (BEI) 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, listen to fascinating stories and history of the area and exciting details of your ride.
You’ll head to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses (if you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking). After selecting a horse and a riding assessment you will have two options:
The first one is for those who want to get their muscles adjusted gently and build up their fitness in preparation for the next two full days of riding. With this option, you can spend 2 to 3 hours riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills with its heather clad slopes, looking down onto green pasture away below with panoramic views over the North Coast and five counties of Ireland.
You will be riding past the old peat banks that were once the traditional source of fuel in Ireland for generations and can stop and do some peat cutting with the old traditional peat spades and get a few photographs.
The other option is to hit the trail and spend 6 to 7 hours riding on mountain tracks, roads, and trails through forests and to viewing points, if the weather permits, you will have views over the Glens of Antrim, almost all of Northern Ireland, parts of Southern Ireland, and across the sea to Scotland. As you ride, you will gradually climb 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 eight US airmen who lost their lives there in October 1942, when their WWII B17 crashed on the mountain during heavy cloud cover.
From this mountain’s peak, it is possible to see the Inner Hebrides off the Scottish coast, the Scottish mainland, and all the way to the majestic Mourne Mountains in County Down. After your initial day's introduction and riding, you will be collected and taken to your accommodation in the nearby coastal town of Ballycastle.
Ballycastle is a beautiful coastal town which is renowned for its bustling local pubs, cafes, and local shops, as well as stunning views across the sea to Scotland. Get a good night’s rest and be ready for two more full days of riding.
Enjoy a hearty full Irish breakfast before setting off to begin your adventures in County Derry. Your driver will transport you to the seaside village of Castlerock where tacked horses await. Depending on the high tide times, you will start riding on Castlerock beach and follow the beach to the adjoining Downhill beach.
You will be riding on the sand below the towering basalt cliffs and towards the lonely Mussenden Temple, regally perched 120-feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by the Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Rome, Mussenden Temple was used as a summer library for Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol and sits behind the ruins of the Earl’s 18th century home, Downhill House.
As you round the cliffs and headland, arriving on to Downhill beach with its magnificent mountain backdrop, cliff scenery, and views across to Scotland and Donegal, you’ll take a swift canter or gallop across miles of flat open beach crossing the river on to Benone Strand, with miles of more sand beach to come before you arrive at Magilligan Point, from where the ferry leaves to take vehicles and foot passenger across Lough Foyle to Co Donegal.
Here, you will tie up your horse and stop for some refreshments at the Point Inn before riding back across the golden sands, through sand dunes, stopping to view the waterfalls cascading the majestic cliffs of Bennnevanagh mountain. You’ll leave the beach and, after a brief hill climb, with panoramic views of ocean and landscape, you will sneak through the Bishops Gate, which was once the entrance to Downhill House towards the seaside town of Castlerock.
You’ll stop for lunch at a local coffee shop and restaurant, Crusoe’s, renowned for its unique paninis and homemade soups, to rest and recharge before heading out again. After transporting the horses five miles to Bennnevenagh mountain, you will work off lunch with a leisurely ride through the forest to Bennevannagh Lake, high up on the plateau with magnificent panoramic views looking out over the North coast, Lough Foyle, Donegal, Derry city, the Antrim Hills, and south to the Sperrin mountains.
You'll dismount for the day and drive back to your accommodation for the evening to reflect on the beauty of the spectacular landscape where you have just spent the day.
Today, you will start your ride at the Whiterocks Beach, so named because of the white chalk cliffs and caverns set back from the water’s edge. The west end of the strand is adjacent to the seaside town of Portrush and backs on to one of the top grass links golf courses in the world, the famous Royal Portrush, host to the British Open which is part of the 2019 Masters Competition.
The White Rocks beach also looks out over the Skerries (a small group of islands off the coast of Portrush) and the iconic Dunluce Castle, Donegal, and the Western Isles of Scotland. While riding here, there is the opportunity to ride along the edge of this famous golf course for photographs or to get photographed with your partners if they happen to be playing on this fabulous course.
You’ll ride on to Dunluce Castle and take a tour of the castle, learning some of its intriguing history (especially the bit about the kitchen and staff plunging into the sea during a storm in 1639). While here, you will have some refreshments at the Dunluce Castle Cottage tearooms before riding on to the tiny harbor town of Portballintrae, en route to the Giants Causeway.
As you ride through Portballintrae and onto the Giants Causeway, you will cross the River Bush and follow an old tram trail across sand dunes and past the stately Runkerry House before arriving at this world heritage site. This unique world heritage site is the final destination of your three-day riding vacation.
Here, you will loaden up the horses and stop for a meal before saying your farewells. Afterward, you can check out the new world-class visitor’s center and you must explore this unique heritage site and take in this natural wonder before you return to your accommodation
End of service and departure.
You don't have to bring your own tack and equipment. BEI has their own tack, they will saddle fit you during the assessment tour on the day of or before the trek. You are encouraged to bring your riding clothes like a helmet, boots, and gloves. BEI can provide a riding helmet if you don’t want to hassle with packing one. You are welcome to bring your own saddle but be aware, if it doesn’t fit the horse properly, you will not be able to use it, their horse’s comfort is a top priority for them.
BEI's stable is filled with over 40 quality Irish-bred horses and ponies, Irish Cobs, Irish Drafts, Sport Horses, and Connemaras. Bred for their gentle temperament, the horses are fit and surefooted which provides a safe and comfortable ride. Based on your physical height, weight, and ride preference, the dedicated team can expertly match you to your mount for your holiday.
Advanced riders will not be bored with the trail rides. Filled with adventure and history, BEI's signature coastal treks are tailored for intermediate to experienced riders, over the course of your holiday, you’ll gallop across sandy beaches, ford streams, and rivers and climb mountains and hills.
BEI tailor each trek to guests’ riding ability. Treks and itineraries will be discussed during the consultation calls. To get an idea of your riding ability:
A rider with little or no experience (walking only). A novice is a rider who is comfortable and in control at the walk and rising trot.
A rider who is confident and in control in all paces (including posting/rising trots, two point canters, and gallops) but does not ride regularly.
Rides regularly, comfortable in the saddle for at least six hours per day, confident, and in control of a forward moving horse in the open country and beaches.
The daily treks are approximately seven hours in length. You will stop to eat, rest the horses, and explore unique places along the way. Riders can expect to spend about four to five hours a day in the saddle. The treks include walking and trotting with galloping or cantering opportunities on wide-open beaches, open countryside, and off-road tracks.
As any equestrian knows, riding is a risk sport. BEI has taken every precaution possible to avoid unfortunate accidents or incidents. During the ride, there will be a support team that follows behind or meets the group at designated locations throughout the day, as well as ensuring clear roads when necessary.
BEI has access to a transport vehicle at any time if an emergency arises. The riding guides travel with a cellphone and will not hesitate to summon aid if and when required, unlikely, as this is due to the temperament of the horses and the alertness of the staff.
Bespoke Equestrian Ireland is located in County Antrim on the breathtaking north coast of Northern Ireland.
Daily breakfast, two lunches at a local establishment, and one picnic lunch are included in the package.
Allow BEI's dedicated team of tourism experts to further enhance your trip to Ireland by opening up their country to you. BEI can help you plan itineraries to suit all members of your group whether it be helping you plan your activities to do in the evening or on the days you are not riding. BEI can also put together full itineraries for those members of your group who will not be riding but want to explore this country while you are enjoying your riding experience.
Ireland itself is one of the world’s leading tourism destinations and Northern Ireland is seen as an emerging tourism market. The dedicated team of experts are working on the ground and will use their knowledge and expertise to ensure you and your group have a truly unique and memorable experience in Ireland. For help and advice on itineraries, please get in touch.
The Causeway Coast Discovery Centre specializes in experiential Irish tourism and offers the opportunity to delve into Irish culture, heritage, and history. The center provides workshops in language, dance, traditional music, Scots/Irish genealogy, traditional crafts, and the clan history of the Causeway Coast in the 16th century.
The center offers a unique brand of quality tourism where visitors meet local people and experience authentic traditional hospitality in the local community and culture. More than just a visit, it’s an experience.
Relive the epic story of the Irish Clans who ruled Ireland up to the 16th century and become immersed in authentic Irish experiences. The experience focuses on the mighty McDonnell clan who ruled the land around the Causeway Coast and the Western Isles of Scotland. Bring your onward journey on the Causeway Coast to life with this true to life Game of Thrones story, told through the eyes of their famous chieftain Sorley Boy McDonnell.
Experience the stunning north coast from the air! Enjoy the thrill of a helicopter flight while taking in iconic sights along the coast, such as Mussenden Temple, Dunluce Castle, The Giant’s Causeway, Ballintoy’s Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and more. It goes without saying your photos will be epic!
Take in the dramatic and breathtaking north coast scenery on a half or full-day yacht tour. Experienced local captains navigate the rugged coastlines of the Giant’s Causeway, Rathlin Island, Donegal, or Scotland, telling the tales and history that surround them.
Ireland is famous for its plentiful and challenging golf courses. Northern Ireland offers some of the best golf in the world, from Lough Erne to Royal County Down or Royal Portrush to Castlerock or Porstewart, spend a day (or more) playing on one of the beautiful courses. After your round, carry on to the equally famous 19th hole!
North Antrim is not all rugged coastal beauty; this area is home to a series of special gardens all with unique and individual offerings, it’s a gardener’s paradise! Take a tour that showcases some of the best gardens in Ireland, Antrim Castle Gardens, Glenarm Castle Estate, Ballyrobert Cottage Garden, Benvarden Garden, Carnfunnock Garden, Greenmount Walled Garden, and Kilcoan Garden.
Unwind or recharge at a luxury estate country spa. Set within 163-acres of lush parkland, with the spectacular River Maine flowing through the expansive estate, you’ll spend a full or half day being pampered, leaving you relaxed and rejuvenated. Enjoy a unique Celtic Sauna treatment, award-winning facials, or a range of full body massages.
Catch a morning ferry from the harbor of Ballycastle to Islay, Scotland, where you’ll spend the day visiting Islay Woolen Mills or famous distilleries such as Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Bowmore. Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the many award-winning local restaurants before returning late afternoon.
Take a step back in time to learn the tumultuous history of Dunluce Castle and its former occupants. Guided by a renowned local historian, you’ll hear fascinating tales beginning with the MacQuillans to the MacDonnells, the Battle of the Boyne, and the castle’s unfortunate demise in the late 1600s.
Experience the fantastic Causeway coast on a guided six-mile walk along some of the best cliff-top views Europe has to offer! Your friends will be green with envy of your photos captured along this one-of-a-kind walk.
Steeped in history and charm, take a guided tour of the picturesque coastal village of Glenarm. A local guide will introduce village shop owners and locals, while telling the history of this quaint village, before heading to the Glenarm Castle estate for a stroll through the walled gardens and lunch at the castle’s tearoom.
Watch an Irish dance exhibition by the Loughgiel School of Irish Dance. Founded in 1978, these talented Irish dancers won the World Dance Championship in Llangollen, Wales in 2015. Their hard work and passion is evident in their magnificent performances, truly an experience to watch!
Spend the day on a guided expedition of the north coast near Portrush Harbour or River Kayak down the scenic River Bann.
Old Bushmills in County Antrim is Ireland’s oldest working whiskey distillery; watch whiskey making take place and enjoy a wee taster too. Experience a guided tour of Ireland’s only “grain to glass” distillery and discover some of their trade secrets learned over 400 years of distilling.
Take a scenic tour (guided or on your own) of the Causeway Coast onboard an electric bike! Electric bikes give a bit of "oomph" and make cycling easier and faster; tackling a hill is no problem. Immerse yourself in the culture and natural beauty of the area, observing details that other tourists miss behind the wheel of a car! This is a great way to see and experience the north coast! E-bikes, regular bikes, and mountain bikes are available for daily hire.
Looking for something unique and adventurous? Coasteering is the sport or activity of exploring the rocky coastline by climbing, jumping, and swimming, a perfectly unique way to experience the northern coastline in a thrilling way! All levels of fitness are welcome.
The north coast is filled with folklore, culture, and history. Spend the day with a top, local historian on a private guided tour where you’ll learn more about this fascinating region. Irish history, stunning coastlines, nature, amazing photographs; it’s all right here in this tour.
Historian, author, world-famous realist painter, and descendent of one the most distinguished families on the north coast, the youngest son of the thirteenth Earl and Countess of Antrim, Mr. McDonnell grew up in Glenarm Castle before leaving to study history at Eton and Oxford. Spend an evening with this fascinating storyteller and historian, learning about the McQuillan and McDonnell history, Dunluce Castle, and the great chieftain, Sorely Boy MacDonnell.
Head to Belfast for the day to experience everything this renaissance city has to offer! From tours of Titanic to the Royal Botanical Garden, shopping at St. George’s Market or a famous Black Taxi, or Crumlin Road Gaol, tour, Belfast has something to offer everyone. End the day with a fabulous meal from a number of great city restaurants before heading to the famed Grand Opera House to take in a play or concert.
Make your way to key locations along the spectacular Causeway Coast and Glens that represent everything from The Iron Islands (Ballintoy Harbour) to the King’s Road (Dark Hedges), Dragonstone (Downhill Strand) or the Stormlands (Cushendun Caves). Ireland’s rugged coastlines, historic castles, and breathtaking scenery make it the perfect setting for this epic story. For serious Game of Thrones fan, this tour can be on horseback in full costume.
The perfect foodie experience! This guided food tour showcases some of the best produce, procurers, and gastronomic gems the coast has to offer. Meet the owners and chefs and hear fascinating stories while tasting samples of the best dishes this area has to offer.
With so many fresh ingredients produced in Ireland, it’s only natural that good cooking is an essential part of Irish culture. So if you fancy indulging your creative side and donning a chef’s hat, spend an afternoon alongside an award-winning chef learning the history and cooking methods of unique regional or traditional Irish dishes.
Immerse yourself in the world-famous story of Irish emigration at the Ulster American Folk Park museum. This 40-acre, the open-air museum brings to life the human drama behind three centuries of Irish emigration, telling the remarkable story of the vast human tide that crossed the Atlantic for the New World of North America.
Using costumed guides, displays of traditional crafts and replicas of Irish streets and villages, the museum focuses on those who left Ireland for America in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. This interactive experience is perfect for all ages.
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a rope suspension bridge that links mainland Ireland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. Crossing a 66-foot gap suspended almost 100-feet above the crashing waves and rocks below, the bridge has been used for hundreds of years allowing salmon fishermen to reach the secluded waters around the tiny Island.
Thrill seekers come from all over to cross the safe but sometimes swaying bridge where they are rewarded with uninterrupted views of Rathlin Island, Fair Head, and Scotland on the other side. Channel your inner thrill seeker with a wee walk across this famous bridge!
Archeology and geology fans will love this fascinating tour of the ancient Knockdhu where every pile of stones has its own history. This archeological site sits on private lands where you’ll explore the underground chamber of the Souterrain by a guiding expert.
Meander through the bustling streets of the only completely walled city in Ireland which reveals a splendid city crammed full of history and heritage. Guided walking tours (or bus tour) are a great way to explore; from a tour of Derry’s Walls to The Bogside or the People’s Gallery Murals, visitors are in for a cultural and historical treat in Derry.
Ireland has a long history with farming that continues today. On this tour, meet local farmers who’ll tell stories passed down for generations, tour a local farm, and learn about dairy farming or raising cattle and sheep in Northern Ireland. Afterwards, head to a local livestock market where you’ll see farmers bid for top cattle or sheep to add to their prized herds.
Widely considered the fastest game on grass, Hurling is an ancient game (over 3000 years old) and one of the national sports of Ireland. You’ll head to a local hurling match to watch this fast-paced sport with local supporters who are passionate about their teams!
Nestled in the heart of the North Antrim village of Loughguile, where hurling is the lifeblood of the community, Scullion Hurls is an Économusée, or working museum, producing fine Hurls. Local craftsman Micheal Scullion will display the traditional craft of hurley making where he will make a hurl or "caman" in the style of an early 1900s hurl using hand tools that would likely have been used during that time period.
Participants will be welcomed into the workshop and given a brief historical presentation on the history and origins of the ancient Irish sport of hurling and the craft of Hurley Making as well as how the Scullion Family became involved in this ancient craft.
Explore the shipyard, walk the decks, travel to the depths of the ocean, and uncover the true legend of Titanic in the city where it all began. The immersive and interactive experience along with the utilization of state-of-the-art technology and attention to detail has helped the center become the winner of the World’s Leading Visitor Attractions (World Travel Awards 2016). More than just a visit, it’s an experience.
The 40,000 unique and iconic black basalt columns protruding from the sea have ensured that the Giants Causeway is included on the UNESCO world heritage list. However, it is the walk across the stones, the spray of the ocean and views of Scotland on the horizon that truly entrance.
The Gobbins experience is one way to get up close and personal with the Causeway Coast! It takes you along a narrow path hugging the dramatic cliff face; across spectacular bridges amid the crashing waves, traversing hidden tunnels under the Irish Sea; up and down rugged staircases carved into the cliff face, and into caves that were once home to smugglers.
Belfast International Airport
Transfer not provided
Transfer not provided
Please arrange your flight to arrive at Belfast International Airport (BFS) or Dublin Airport (DUB). Transfers from these airports are not yet included, for more information, please send Bespoke Equestrian Ireland an inquiry. BEI is a full-service vacation provider and their US team can assist with and arrange travel logistics.
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