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Advanced Horse Riding Holiday Ireland

This listing has one of the 10 most popular offers available in in Ireland

Join this adventurous horse riding holiday for advanced riders with Island View Riding Stables and experience an amazing equestrian adventure! On this holiday, you can explore the rugged coastline and the wild countryside at the foot of Benbulben Mountain on horseback. You will get fantastic riding with a qualified guide while exploring the North Sligo Wild Atlantic Way on horseback. Come and experience an amazing riding adventure!

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 90 kilograms
  • Horse Breed: Irish Cobs horse, Irish Draught horse, and Irish Sport horse

Highlights

  • 5 days of horse riding
  • Approximate total riding time: 22 hours
  • A "get-to-know your horse" riding lesson on day one with a 2 to 3-hour hack
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Transfers between the hotel and the farm

Skill level

  • Advanced

Styles


5 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: German
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
15:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

Facilities

  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Bar
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Beauty salon
  • Tour assistance

Situated right beside Mullaghmore Harbor, the traditional family-run Pier Head Hotel will take you to enjoy a fantastic view of Donegal Bay. The Pier Head Hotel is now a modern three-star hotel that is complete with 40 en-suite rooms, a glass elevator, a restaurant, two bars, a leisure center, a swimming pool, a seaweed bath, and a beauty salon.

Here, scenic walks, a beach, and water sports facilities will be right beside you. Check-in is any time after 3:00 p.m. Check-out on departure day is 11:00 a.m. If you wish to have dinner in the hotel on arrival night, you will need to pre-book. They advise clients to pack swimwear in case they want to use the pool and sauna.

Program

The arrival day is Monday.

Your first day of riding is Tuesday. Wednesday is Mullaghmore's ride. On Thursday, they offer the Gleniff horseshoe (mountain ride) or as an alternative, a ride-free day where they bring you to the bustling seaside village of Strandhill for a self-guided hike or a surf lesson (not included in the price, they will arrange it but it needs to be paid extra), taxi service, map, walking guide, and lunch box are included in the price for the ride free option on Thursday. Friday is the Dernish Island ride and Saturday is the O’Connors Island ride. The order of the rides might change for some weeks due to tidal and weather conditions.

Daily itinerary

Day 1: Monday

You will be arriving at the accommodation on Monday.

Day 2: Tuesday

Familiarization lesson and beach and bog ride. After getting to know your horse with a riding lesson, you will go for a two- or three-hour beach and bog ride on day one. It combines the coastal and the rural experience: riding by the sea and riding in the Irish countryside. The first part of your ride takes you along sandy Trawalua beach. Then you will follow quiet laneways and century-old bog tracks at the foot of rugged Benbulben Mountain. Lunch is on the farm.

Days 3 - 6: Wednesday - Saturday

Your riding program for the next four days includes one long ride every day. Subject to tidal and weather conditions the duration, departure time, route, lunch arrangements, and order of these rides change slightly from week to week. These are the rides:

1. Day 3: Four and a half hours of Mullaghmore coastal ride

After an exhilarating ride on Trawalua Beach, follow the boundary of Classiebawn Estate to Mullaghmore. This little fishing village boasts a picturesque 19th-century stone-built harbor. The ride takes you along the headland with some breathtaking views of majestic sea cliffs and the Castle, a signature viewpoint of the Wild Atlantic Way. It was here that Lord Mountbatten, great-grandson of Queen Victoria, was killed by a bomb planted on his boat by the IRA in 1979.

On days with a serious swell, top big wave surfers from all over the world come here to take on a wave of up to 50 feet. On your way home, you are rewarded with another stretch of beach riding and you can cool the horses down in the waves. On this trail, you take a lunch break in the Pier Head pub overlooking the harbor.

2. Day 4: Five and a half to six hours of Gleniff horseshoe ride or day excursion to Strandhill or Sligo with optional seaweed bath, surfing, or hiking

Today, you have a choice of two options: you can take a day off to relax and do some sightseeing or you can venture inland on your longest and toughest ride of the week.

a. Option A

This is a long ride with spectacular views, but also lots of walking on tarmac roads. A few miles inland from the coast, you will ride in the barren Gleniff Horse Shoe Valley (voted no.1 attraction in Ballintrillick by Trip Advisor) nestled beneath Benwiskin Mountain. The valley is steeped in history and legend. Set on a spectacular cliff face is Diarmuid and Grainne’s cave. Legend has it that this was the lovers’ hiding place on their flight from Fionn Mac Cumhaill.

Barium Meal had been mined in the Dartry Mountains until the middle of the 20th century. You will have your break and snack at the old Barytes mill site (voted one of the top picnic places for families in Ireland) at the base of the Gleniff Horseshoe before you return home along quiet country laneways. The ride offers breathtaking views of 10 townlands and the Atlantic Ocean. You will sleep well tonight.

b. Option B

After a nice lie-in and breakfast, you will collect you and bring you via Sligo town to the village of Strandhill. This bustling seaside village invites you to roam its beach, stroll around the few little shops, eat in one of the hip eateries, and taste Ireland’s best ice cream. A hotspot for surfing, you can either watch or participate (they can arrange a surf lesson for you in advance) in riding the ”white horses”.

Alternatively, spoil yourself with a seaweed bath or treatment at Voya’s seaweed baths (two-week advance booking essential, price not included in the package). Towering over the village is Knocknarea Mountain which can be ascended from the village via a track with self-guided information points along the way.

On top you will enjoy spectacular views over Sligo and Donegal Bay and admire the huge mound that is the grave of Queen Meave, an ancient warrior queen, said to be buried here standing up and looking her enemies in the eye. They provide you with a map and a packed lunch for your hike. When you are done exploring Strandhill, they will collect you again and bring you to the hotel. Alternatively, you could also spend the day in Sligo, shopping and sightseeing.

3. Day 5: Four hours of O’Connor’s Island ride

This is Island View Riding Stables' signature experience, it is any rider’s dream to discover the unspoiled and expansive beaches on horseback. It combines some brisk riding on the vast strand near Streedagh beach where three Armada ships sank in 1588 and a scenic stroll over the island with a picnic among the horses or a stop off in the village cafe for some sumptuous food. Tides will determine what options work best. Any rider's dream. Feel the thrill of crossing an Atlantic channel to O'Connor's Island, seals and migratory birds can often be spotted in the lagoon.

You will enter the magic world of the private island and see the ancient homestead of the family. Follow the narrow paths as you traverse the contours of the large sand dune system, where scenic viewing points pop up between the sandhills. 360 degrees of stunning views on the horizon, no matter where your eye roams - it is beautiful. This area of special conservation is rich in biodiversity, only the toughest plants survive exposure to the salty winds here, so it is reminiscent of the wildflower meadows in the high Alps.

Their dry stock cattle herd roams the island and you might meet some school horses on their holidays by the sea. Your horse can enjoy the salty island grass while you relax, have a snack among the horses, and explore the sites of ancient farm life on the island. Departure time depends on the tide.

4. Day 6: Five hours of O’Connor’s Island ride

Dernish Island was once the home to 6 families. This little island is now only a weekend home and is populated by cattle and wildlife. Get a sense of island life in a bye-gone era. Change your point of view and see Donegal Bay, Trawalua Beach, and Classiebawn Castle from across the channel. Seals and migratory birds can often be spotted in the estuary. The shallows around Dernish Island invite for a hearty canter or even a spot of galloping. Depending on the weather, tides, and subsequent departure times, this ride is with either a picnic lunch or lunch in the quaint Jam Pot cafe.

Final day: Sunday

You will depart from the accommodation after breakfast.

Horses

All of Island View Riding Stables' horses are Irish-bred. A lot of them have been born, reared, and trained on the farm and they see the horses as lifelong partners. The horses are very quiet and experienced and the Island View will make sure that you are comfortable. All horses get solid foundation training based on a combination of natural horsemanship and the German training scale.

Island View Riding Stables incorporate elements of the philosophy of ease (école de légèreté) into the schooling and they believe in natural horsemanship with all the horses leading a life as close to nature's way as possible. The riding school horses live in a herd on 100 acres of summer pasture. Therefore, the horses will know each other well and be familiar with their place in the pecking order, which makes them even safer and easier to ride. After the day's work, the horses will go out to the fields and have a roll in the mud - having a bit of horseplay and a social life with their friends.

Every horse will have to prove they are safe in traffic, sound, dependable, and trustworthy before they can be ridden by customers. All horses are seen regularly by the horse dentist and chiropractor if needed and saddles are checked and fitted every year by a master saddler. The school horses and ponies come in all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of animals to choose from ranging from a patient easy-going cob to a challenging sports horse.

Welsh Mountain ponies

The mini stars in the riding school are the Welsh Mountain part-breeds. Their smooth gaits and convenient size will make them ideal ponies for small children learning to ride on the lead rein. They are active, responsive, and fun. The popular characters here include Leprechaun the patient lunging pony, Minnie Mouse who is a delight to ride in dressage and jumping, and Pebbles who specializes in the 30-minute lead rein riding. They are just so adorable.

Connemara ponies

This native pony originates from Ireland's Connemara region. Rock-speckled hills, fields, and bogland have produced a pony breed of outstanding hardiness and sure-footedness. Connemara ponies have a natural ability for jumping coupled with active paces and an extremely willing temperament.

Thoroughbred lines and some Arab or Spanish blood introduced into the breed have given the Connemara pony's athleticism, stamina, and characteristic "Spanish" looks. The Connemara ponies and Connemara crosses range in size from 130 centimeters to 150 centimeters. Island View Riding Stables’ Connemara ponies are Flapjack, Jasper, Soti, Jaffa, and Blue, Elisa’s show-jumping pony.

Irish Cobs

Irish Cobs are also called "Tinker Horse" in mainland Europe or "Gypsy Vanner" in the USA. The origin of this breed is only known to the traveling community in Ireland. Traditionally, the horses had known to pull bow-top wagons and lived grazing "the long acre" very much part of the family. It would be fair to say that a dash of Clydesdale blood has given this breed its characteristics. The horses are weight carriers who are forgiving with a docile temperament and love people. Some of them are surprisingly agile and good jumpers and all of them are really trustworthy.

The "mustachioed" cobs are said to be "caretakers" who look after their riders. Examples of the Irish Cobs working here include Gippy who is the quiet weight carrier, Mo the versatile gentleman, Tom the friendly minder, and Molly the pretty skewbald mare. The "fleet" of Irish Cobs varies in size from 145 centimeters to 165 centimeters. They come as piebald, skewbald, and in solid colors with feathered fetlocks. They are valued as ideal for trekking and riding school horses.

Irish Draught horses

In comparison to continental draught horse breeds, the Irish Draught is a very agile and athletic riding horse. A real all-rounder, on the farm it was used to plow the fields, bring the family to mass on a Sunday, and take the farmer for a good day's fox hunting on Saint Stephen Day. With the advent of tractors in the 1950s, the Irish Draught horse became very scarce and by the 1970s, the very broodmares were left.

With the purchase of Oilean Oir (Amber) in 1988, the O'Connor family started their involvement in maintaining the core breed. Irish Draught horses come in all solid colors but are predominantly grey and chestnut. Presently, some of the Irish Draught horses here include Oilean Glas, Wanda, Murphy, or Oilean Svalla.

Irish Sport horses

Irish Sports Horses were also called "Irish Hunter" in the past. They are the traditionally bred Irish Sport Horse that combines Irish Draught and Thoroughbred blood. They are tall, solid, athletic, and brave horses with a scopey jump and a superb temperament. In recent years, foreign (warm-blood) lines have been introduced into the breed. Island View Riding Stables favor the traditionally bred Irish Sports Horse as a dependable horse that can think on its feet and will mind himself and the rider be it for eventing, show jumping, hunting, or leisure riding.

Moreover, Island View Riding Stables breed Irish Sport Horses for sale and competition. The horse examples are the show jumpers, Oilean Uno, and Oilean Dunlop. The Irish sports horses who work in the riding school include Hillie, Gypsum, Anna, and Jacqueline who look after the VIP customers like the TV presenter Ryan Tubridy.

Note: The weight limit for riders is 90 kilograms. Please let Island View Riding Stables know if you require a strong-built horse in advance so you can be allocated a suitable horse, there is only a limited number of weight carriers available.

Included excursions

After a nice lie-in and breakfast, you will collect you and bring you via Sligo town to the village of Strandhill. This bustling seaside village invites you to roam its beach, stroll around the few little shops, eat in one of the hip eateries, and taste Ireland’s best ice cream. A hotspot for surfing, you can either watch or participate (they can arrange a surf lesson for you in advance) in riding the ”white horses”.

Alternatively, spoil yourself with a seaweed bath or treatment at Voya’s seaweed baths (two-week advance booking essential, price not included in the package). Towering over the village is Knocknarea Mountain which can be ascended from the village via a track with self-guided information points along the way.

On top you will enjoy spectacular views over Sligo and Donegal Bay and admire the huge mound that is the grave of Queen Meave, an ancient warrior queen, said to be buried here standing up and looking her enemies in the eye. They provide you with a map and a packed lunch for your hike. When you are done exploring Strandhill, they will collect you again and bring you to the hotel. Alternatively, you could also spend the day in Sligo, shopping and sightseeing.

Location

This horse riding holiday will take place in Connacht, Ireland. The Island View Riding Stables is situated in the scenic North West of Ireland, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Donegal Bay. It is situated along the Sligo to Donegal road which connects between the two villages of Sligo and Donegal Road.

Distances

  • Beaches - 5 minutes on foot
  • Bundoran, 12 kilometers (8 miles)
  • Sligo, 16 kilometers (10 miles)

Features

Activities

  • Diving
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain walking
  • Snorkeling
  • Spa
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Trail running

General

  • Bar
  • Beach
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant

Services

  • Beauty salon
  • Tour assistance

Food

During this horse riding holiday, you will be served six breakfasts, five dinners, and lunch packages or pub lunch on the day rides included in the price. The village has a small grocery store that is open during the summer months. There are no other shops. Eithna’s by the Sea, an award-winning seafood restaurant, has a small selection of locally made crafts for sale as souvenirs. Only 5 Hotel dinners are included because most guests want to have a meal in Eithna’s at least once during their stay.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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

  • Vegetarian
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Lactose Free
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Archery
  • Birdwatching
  • Boat tripping
  • Canoeing
  • Caving
  • Cliff jumping
  • Climbing
  • Diving in Mullaghmore
  • Golf
  • Guided inland lakes and estuary trips
  • Horse races watching
  • Kayaking
  • Kiteboarding
  • Massage and spa treatments
  • Music event and theater visits
  • Nearby pubs and restaurants visits
  • SUP on Lough Gill and River Bonnet
  • Surfing
  • Theme park and adventure playground visits
  • Tour to coal mines
  • Tour to Sligo's heritage
  • Trail running
  • Walking tour to archeological and historical sites
  • Yoga
  • Zoo visit

What's included

  • 5 days of riding (approximately 22 hours)
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners
  • Daily lunch packages or pub lunch on the day rides
  • Transfer from the hotel to the farm

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Other meals

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by bus

The local link bus 982 stops directly at the hotel.

Arrival by shuttle

You can take a minibus service to ride to Island View Riding Stables. Please send an inquiry for more information about the minibus driver.

Arrival by train

If you are located in Dublin, you can take a direct train to Sligo. Then, you can take Derry Bus number 64 or 48 which connects from Sligo to Island View Riding Stables. The latter will drop you at the stables on request. If the driver will not stop at the yard please continue on to the next stop (Cliffoney or Grange) and phone Island View Riding Stables staff. The collection from these places is free of charge.

Arrival by taxi

You can take a taxi ride to come to Island View Riding Stables. Please send an inquiry for more information about the taxi drivers that offer this service.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 14 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Availability

This vacation is available on Easter and from May to the first half of September 2024, with arrival on Monday.

Special discount

Children are eligible for a special discount of 120 EUR per person.

Sunday August 4, 2024
(7 days / 6 nights)

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