7 Days Atlantic Trail Week Horse Riding Holiday in Connacht, Ireland

Advanced Horse Riding Holiday Ireland

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

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 100 kilograms / 220 pounds
  • Horse Breed: Irish Cobs horse, Irish Draught horse, and Irish Sport horse

Highlights

  • 5 days' horse ride adventures
  • Approximate daily riding time: 4-6 hours
  • 1 get-to-know horse riding lesson on day 1
  • Exciting 2 to 3-hour hacking session on day 1
  • Transfers from hotel to stables and back
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 6 nights’ accommodation

Skill level

  • Advanced

Styles


5 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 15
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Accommodation

Facilities

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

Situated right beside Mullaghmore Harbour, 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, glass elevator, restaurant, two bars, a leisure center, swimming pool, seaweed bath, and beauty salon. Here, scenic walks, beach, and water sports facilities will be right beside you.

Program

After getting to know your horse with a riding lesson and a two to three hours of hack on Sunday (the first day of riding), you will ride four to six hours on every next day. You will explore sandy beaches, a tidal lagoon, the private O'Connor's Island, and the rocky coastline of Mullaghmore Headland. The Gleniff Horseshoe mountain ride and the rural trails at the foot of Benbulbin Mountain will invite you for a hack through the typical west of Ireland countryside. Furthermore, you will have a picnic or a pub lunch on the stopovers during your day ride.

Each day's riding will start at the farm and return back to the base. There will be a plenty of opportunities to enjoy some brisk beach riding. However, please note that you will need to be comfortable while riding at all paces. Also, please be aware that Island View Riding Stables applies safe practice and insurance will not permit two people on one horse. Small children can experience sitting on a small pony for a half-hour ride with the handlers leading the ponies. For insurance reasons, Island View Riding Stables cannot take children under four years of age.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

You will be arriving at the accommodation on Saturday.

Day 2: Assessment lesson in the paddock and three-hour beach and bog ride

Today will be an opportunity for Island View Riding Stables to assess you on how to get on with the horse they have picked for you before lunch. After lunch at the stables, you will go for a three-hour beach and bog ride. The ride will combine coastal and the rural experience which is seashore and country life. The first part of your ride will take you along sandy Trawalua Beach, then you will follow quiet laneways and century-old bog tracks at the foot of rugged Benbulbin Mountain. This ride will also offer experienced riders an extra opportunity for a canter on the moorlands loop.

Day 3 to 6: Horse rides

You will get one of the following long rides every day. The following four rides will fall on the day that will be arranged a bit closer to the times as weather and tidal conditions will dictate the departure time. There will be either packed lunches and pub tea room lunches over the next four days.

O’Connor's Island ride (four hours)

You will trek across the lagoon to Streedagh Beach where a fresh gallop will await the experienced riders. Three Spanish Armada ships were wrecked here at the Black Rock in 1588. You will explore the sand dunes on O'Connor's Island, combining some brisk riding on the strand and a scenic stroll over the island with a stop off in the pub for a pint as well as some hearty food. Seals and migratory birds can often be spotted in the estuary. Depending on the tidal condition, you will enjoy either picnic or pub lunch.

Dernish Island trek ride (four or five hours)

This trek could be any riders dream where you can discover the unspoiled and expansive beaches on horseback. You will feel the thrill of crossing an Atlantic channel to Dernish Island. Your horse can enjoy the salty island grass while you relax, have a snack, and explore the sites of ancient farm life on the island. Your picnic site will be at the ruined homestead of O’Connor family on the O'Connor's Island where a group of young horses and the dry stock cattle herd roams the islands.

Mullaghmore Coastal ride (four hours)

After an exhilarating ride on Trawalua Beach, you will follow the boundary of Classiebawn Estate to Mullaghmore. This little fishing village boasts a picturesque 19th-century stone-built harbor. The ride will take 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, the great-grandson of Queen Victoria, was killed by a bomb planted on his boat by the IRA in 1979. On days with serious swell, top surfers from all over the world come here to take on a wave of up to 50 foot. On this trail, you will take a lunch break in the pub overlooking the harbor.

Gleniff Horseshoe ride (five to six hours)

Only a few miles inland from the coast, you will ride in the barren Gleniff Horseshoe valley which is nestled beneath Benwiskin Mountain. The valley is steeped in history and legend. Set in 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 picnic snack at the old barites mill site before you return home along quiet country laneways. The ride will offer you breathtaking views of the 10 townlands and the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 7: Departure

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. The staffs see the horses as lifelong partners. Riding school animals will get selected primarily on the basis of their good temperament. The horses are very quiet and experienced and the staff will make sure that you are comfortable. The training of the horses is based on the staffs’ vast experience. All horses get solid foundation training based on a combination of natural horsemanship and the German training scale. The staffs incorporate elements of the philosophy of ease (école de légèreté) into the schooling. The staffs believe in natural horsemanship and all the horses lead 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 section a Welsh Mountain part-breeds. Their smooth gaits and convenient size will make them ideal ponies for small children learning to ride and 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 surefootedness. Connemara ponies have a natural ability for jumping coupled with active paces and an extremely willing temperament. Thoroughbred lines and some Arab / Spanish blood introduced into the breed have given the Connemara pony's athleticism, stamina, and its 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 will be fair to say that a dash of Clydesdale blood has given this breed its characteristics. The horses are weight carriers which 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 rider. Examples of the Irish Cobs working here include Gippy which is the quiet weight carrier, Mo the versatile gentleman, Tom the friendly minder, and Molly the pretty skewbald mare. The "fleet" of Irish Cobs vary in size from 145 centimeters to 165 centimeters. They come as piebald, skewbald, and in solid colors with feathered fetlocks. The staffs value them as ideal 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 plough the fields, bring the family to mass on a Sunday and take the farmer for a good day's fox hunting on Saint Stephens 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 (warmblood) lines have been introduced into the breed. The staffs at 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 showjumpers, Oilean Uno and Oilean Dunlop. The Irish Sport Horses 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 100 kilograms. Please let Island View Riding Stables know if you require a strong-built horse in advance so the staffs can allocate you with a suitable horse.

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.

Nearby places

  • 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 five breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners. On the stopovers during your day rides, your lunches will be either a picnic with packed lunch or pub lunch.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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

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
  • Music event and theater visits
  • Nearby pubs and restaurants visits
  • Spa treatment
  • 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' horse ride adventures
  • 1 horse riding lesson on day 1
  • 2 to 3 hours' hacking session on day 1
  • Transfers from the hotel to stables and back
  • 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners
  • 6 nights’ accommodation

What's not included

  • Transfer fee on arrival and departure day

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Dublin Airport (DUB).

You can also book a flight to other nearby airports including Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC), Belfast International Airport (BFS), Shannon Airport (SNN), and Galway Airport (GWY). The most convenient airports are Dublin Airport (DUB) and Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC) with good public transport connections to the area. The Buseireann service number 30 will take you an around-clock direct connection from Dublin Airport (DUB) to Ballyshannon. Meanwhile, bus number 23 offers a connection from Dublin Airport (DUB) to Sligo. Buses with the service number of 53 offer transportation from Shannon Airport (SNN) to Grange while buses with service number 64 offer transportation from Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC) to Grange.

After that, you can take buses connecting from Sligo / Ballyshannon to Island View Riding Stables which are Sligo - Derry Bus number 64 or 480. The latter will drop you at the stable on request. If the driver won’t stop at the yard please continue on to the next stop (Cliffoney or Grange) and phone Island View Riding Stables staffs. The collection from these places is free of charge. In addition, bus service can be cheaper when you buy your ticket online in advance. Pick-up service from Sligo or Ballyshannon bus stops can be arranged for a fee of 30 EUR that must be paid on the day directly to the driver. Please send an inquiry for more information.

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 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.

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 won’t stop at the yard please continue on to the next stop (Cliffoney or Grange) and phone Island View Riding Stables staffs. The collection from these places is free of charge.

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 7 days before arrival.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Availability

This horse riding holiday is available all year round with arrival on Saturday, departure on Friday. Please select an arrival date below.

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