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Irish West Coast

Overview

Ireland is known as "the land of the horse"; a claim that can be evidenced by its great green landscapes and the Irish people's natural affinity with their steeds. Irish horses have been bred to be able to cross any country and as a consequence they are generally very sure-footed and know how to lo…

Highlights

  • Fantastic scenery arouond Clew Bay
  • Surefooted Irish Horses to suit everyone
  • Family run trail
  • Great variety of traditional local fare

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90 kg / 198 lbs / 14 stone 1 lb

Description

Ireland is known as "the land of the horse"; a claim that can be evidenced by its great green landscapes and the Irish people's natural affinity with their steeds. Irish horses have been bred to be able to cross any country and as a consequence they are generally very sure-footed and know how to look after their riders. Located on the Western coast of Ireland, the Foy family have been involved with horses in the locality for generations and began leading out rides from their family farm in 1995. Most of the horses used on their trails have previous competition experience and have been started out at the family stud farm, established in 1963. Their trail herd includes Irish Draughts, Irish Cobs, Irish Sport Horses and Connemara Ponies, all selected for their good temperaments and stamina.

The riding here encompasses some of the most fantastic scenery surrounding the Clew Bay, from the steep slopes of Croagh Patrick in the East, to the wild expanse of the Atlantic ocean in the West. Clew Bay is a natural ocean bay situated in County Mayo, home to many islands. Riders will explore small villages, country lanes, mountain paths, various sea and off-shore islands and, of course, the beautiful sandy beaches. The area is known for its wonderful heritage, as well as the part it played in the story of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland - he spent the forty days of Lent on Croagh Patrick (a holy mountain which overlooks the bay) in 441 AD and is said to have cast a spell to drive out snakes! Throughout the area you will find perfect country for horse riding, with a veritable mix of landscapes which will challenge you to daring climbs, fast canters and the chance to immerse yourself in the nature around you. You do not need to be an expert rider as guests are matched with a suitable horse, you just need to be able to ride confidently at walk, trot and canter in open country and fit enough to spend full days in the saddle.

Padraic Foy personally leads out all of his trail rides and is a qualified Instructor as well as an accomplished horseman. He and his family pride themselves on being able to provide quality Irish horses (many of which are born and raised on the farm) who are the perfect partners for traversing the splendid Irish countryside. The riding centre itself has developed, over many years, into a modern equestrian facility with an indoor and an outdoor arena, as well as a sand gallop track.

Horses & Riding

Tack

English

Horses

Connemara ponies, Irish Draught, Irish Sport horses and Irish Cobs.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • 6 Night Mountain and Coast Trail is a trail ride
  • 4 Night Mountain and Coast Trail is a trail ride

Ages

12 years and over. All children aged between 12 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Health

Riders must be fit and able to spend long hours (up to 4 or 5 per day) in an English saddle.

Weight

90 kg / 198 lbs / 14 stone 1 lb

Food & Accommodation

Food

The grand selection of restaurant and coffee shops in the town mean that there is a great variety of food and meal choices available during your stay. Traditional fare includes hearty roasts of local lamb, beef or pork, plenty of seasonal vegetables and traditional local cheeses and breads, as well as some tasty continental and worldly influences. The town's close proximity to the coast means that seafood and fresh fish is abundant and very good here.

When in Ireland, then one should sample a taste of their fantastic Irish brewed ales, stouts and bitters - not forgetting the traditional pint of iron rich Guiness to warm you up after your ride.

Vegetarian, vegan and speciality diets can be catered for with prior notification.

Accommodation

Accommodation during the trail is usually provided at McCarthy's Lodge and Bar, in the heart of Westport. This is a family owned traditional guest house offering accommodation in comfortable and spacious rooms within the lodge, or private self-contained apartments which are perfect for groups. Breakfast is served each morning in the dining room.

The accommodation is located in the centre of the town close to a great selection of fantastic restaurant, shops, attractions and much more.

In the event of McCarthy's Lodge being fully booked, then an alternative guesthouse, of equal standard, will be booked for you in Westport.

Itineraries

6 Night Mountain and Coast Trail Standard accommodation.

4 Night Mountain and Coast Trail Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

The County of Mayo is known for its rugged terrain and great outdoor adventure opportunities. For those not inclined to take up the reins, there is no shortage of other activities to have a go at. Easy access to the coast offers opportunities for kayak and canoe enthusiasts, as well as surfing, snorkelling, coasteering and sailing. On land, local activities include a round of golf, climbing, cycling, walking and even archery!

For those looking for a more relaxed time, then check out the areas fantastic local food festivals, independent shops and stores, as well as many local museum and historical attractions. Alternatively, you may like to relax in the pool or take advantage of a wonderful massage at the Westport Leisure Park.

Travel

The nearest airport is Ireland West International, just outside the town of Knock. It is only one hour from the riding centre and is served by many of the major UK and European airports. Many riders also choose Shannon or Dublin as an option as there are often more flights available.

Free transfers are included from and to Westport train station and bus depot. You can travel by train directly from Dublin to Westport or by bus from Knock or Shannon. These are reasonably priced alternatives. Otherwise we suggest hiring a car to give you the flexibility to explore this lovely area when not in the saddle and to come from the airport at your leisure.

We can arrange return airport transfers for you from Knock, Shannon and Dublin airports, at an additional cost. This is a more expensive option and really only feasible for groups of travellers, but please enquire if this is your preferred option.

Testimonials

Katherine S., Sept. 13, 2018

It was an amazing experience! The horses were great and Padraic took us through unique and beautiful landscapes each day. Padraic and his daughter Ailise were incredible. They were accommodating and fun to talk to and definitely were a key part of the great overall experience. (Favourite memory?) Galloping on the beach on the last day of the ride!


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Sunday

Riding: No riding.

On arrival to the town of Westport, you will be able to check in at the hotel or guest house which will be your accommodation throughout the trail.

Day 2 - Monday

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After breakfast you will be transferred to Drummindoo Stud to meet your host and other riders. After an assessment ride in the indoor arena and being matched with an appropriate horse, you are all transferred to the village of Aughagower for the "Aughagower ride". This takes you through the village of Curvey, Lankill and Knappagh where you picnic on the shores of Knappagh Lake. Continue riding to Drumhill before returning to Aughagower via Peggy's Boreen. After riding there is a chance to visit the round tower and monastic site which dates back to the 7th century.

Day 3 - Tuesday

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the village of Culeen for the "Culeen Ride". This ride will take you to the west of Croagh Patrick, along quiet country lanes at Kilsallagh and Kinnock before crossing onto the bog roads at Dereen where you will be able to enjoy some long canters. You will stop for a picnic lunch near a traditional peat harvesting area and will be able to witness this process first hand. Return via a river crossing at Bellakip to finish the day at Culeen.

Day 4 - Wednesday

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

This morning you will pick up the trail from the sleepy village of Formoyle, on the edge of the Tawnymackan Natural Heritage Area, for the 'Feenone Ride'. The ride today takes you over a mountain pass, close to a megalithic burial site (one of many in the area), through the Carrowniskey River and on to the bog roads at Feenone. You can enjoy panoramic views of Louisburgh and the Atlantic Ocean as you descend, admiring Clare Island (once home to Grainne Uaile, the famous pirate queen) and Inishturk Island in the distance. There is evidence of the Lazy Beds (dating back to the Great Famine) where people used to grow potatoes. From here you will ride to Carrowniskey Beach where you can enjoy a good gallop before returning to base.

Day 5 - Thursday

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Today you will be transferred to Cloona, just outside Westport, to set out on the 'Skelp Ride' towards the east side of Croagh Patrick (Ireland's Holy Mountain which been a site of worship for over 3,000 years) and on to Teevnacroagha. The mountain path offers a great view of Clew Bay. Ride through Prospect and picnic near the ruins of a homestead which dates back to pre-famine times, then onto Teevnacroagha where you ride in the footsteps of St Patrick (Ireland's patron saint) and then onto Brackloon before finishing the day at Cloona.

Day 6 - Friday

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After a delicious Irish breakfast, you will mount your horses and begin today's wonderful ride to Doughmakeon Strand. The route will take you back along the beach at Carrowniskey before crossing the Carrowniskey river and on to Cross Strand. There are plenty of opportunities for canters and gallops on today's ride, which remains predominantly coastal. You will stop for a picnic lunch next to Clapper Bridge (the bridge with the eyes). From here you will be able to marvel at the coastline of Connemara in the very distance. There are several interesting standing stones in this area, some of which date back to megalithic times. Heading back along Cross Strand and over Carrowniskey beach in the afternoon, you will return to base where you will say goodbye to your equine companion.

In the evening you will be able to enjoy a farewell dinner with your host and guide Padraic, in one of Westport's fine restaurants.

Day 7 - Saturday

Riding: No riding.

After a heartening breakfast, you will check out and wave goodbye to this little corner of Ireland, taking fond memories of your ride along with you.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Guests should be at least an intermediate riding level, able to control a forward going horse at all paces and in open country.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

Oct. 3, 2021 - Oct. 9, 2021

Oct. 10, 2021 - Oct. 16, 2021

April 24, 2022 - April 30, 2022

May 1, 2022 - May 7, 2022

May 8, 2022 - May 14, 2022

May 15, 2022 - May 21, 2022

May 22, 2022 - May 28, 2022

May 29, 2022 - June 4, 2022

June 5, 2022 - June 11, 2022

June 12, 2022 - June 18, 2022

June 19, 2022 - June 25, 2022

June 26, 2022 - July 2, 2022

July 3, 2022 - July 9, 2022

July 10, 2022 - July 16, 2022

July 17, 2022 - July 23, 2022

July 24, 2022 - July 30, 2022

July 31, 2022 - Aug. 6, 2022

Aug. 7, 2022 - Aug. 13, 2022

Aug. 21, 2022 - Aug. 27, 2022

Aug. 28, 2022 - Sept. 3, 2022

Sept. 4, 2022 - Sept. 10, 2022

Sept. 11, 2022 - Sept. 17, 2022

Sept. 18, 2022 - Sept. 24, 2022

Sept. 25, 2022 - Oct. 1, 2022

Oct. 2, 2022 - Oct. 8, 2022

Pricing

2021
Standard Season (April, May, June & October)
£1300 $1800 €1545
2021
High Season (July, August & September)
£1340 $1855 €1595
2022
Rider, sharing
£1510 $2090 €1790
2022
Non-Rider, sharing
£355 $495 €425
B&B only
Included 6 nights accommodation in shared rooms, breakfast, picnic lunches on riding days, five days trail riding riding as per the itineraries and all transport during the riding days.
Not included Travel and transfers on arrival and departure, evening meals, drinks, personal travel insurance.

Extras

2021 - Airport Transfer €120
Paid locally
Knock airport transfers, round trip price per car.
2022 - Airport Transfer €175
Paid locally
Knock airport transfers, round trip price per car.
2021/2022 - Single Supplement £164 $225 €195
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone in a single room.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Sunday

Riding: No riding.

On arrival to the town of Westport, you will be able check in at the hotel or guest house which will be your accommodation throughout the trail.

Day 2 - Monday

Riding: 4 hours

After breakfast you will be collected from your accommodation and taken to Drumindoo Stud to meet your host and horses. After an assessment ride in the indoor arena, both horses and riders are transferred to the village of Aughagower. Your ride takes you through the villages of Curvey, Lankill and Knappagh Beg where you picnic on the shores of Knappagh Lake. Continue onto Drumhill before returning to Aughagower via Peggy's Boreen. After riding there is a chance to visit the round tower and monastic site which dates back to the 7th century.

Day 3 - Tuesday

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Start at the village of Culeen for the Culeen ride which takes you to the west of Croagh Patrick through quiet country lanes at Kilsallagh and Kinnock. Continue onto the bog roads at Dereen where you can enjoy some long canters. Picnic on the bog and get to see the harvesting of the bog peat at close hand before returning via a river crossing at Bellakip to finish the day at Culeen.

Day 4 - Wednesday

Riding: 5 hours

Pick up the trail again at Formoyle for the Feenone ride. This takes you over a mountain pass close to a megalithic burial site (one of many in the area), through the Carrowniskey River and onto the bog roads at Feenone. Clare Island and Inishturk Island can be clearly seen. Then head for Carrowniskey beach for a canter and gallop before returning to base.

Day 5 - Thursday

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you will be able to check out and depart Westport with fond memories of your ride.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate and above - all riders must be able to control a forward going horse at all paces and in open country.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

April 24, 2022 - April 28, 2022

May 1, 2022 - May 5, 2022

May 8, 2022 - May 12, 2022

May 15, 2022 - May 19, 2022

May 22, 2022 - May 26, 2022

May 29, 2022 - June 2, 2022

June 5, 2022 - June 9, 2022

June 12, 2022 - June 16, 2022

June 19, 2022 - June 23, 2022

June 26, 2022 - June 30, 2022

July 3, 2022 - July 7, 2022

July 10, 2022 - July 14, 2022

July 17, 2022 - July 21, 2022

July 24, 2022 - July 28, 2022

July 31, 2022 - Aug. 4, 2022

Aug. 7, 2022 - Aug. 11, 2022

Aug. 21, 2022 - Aug. 25, 2022

Aug. 28, 2022 - Sept. 1, 2022

Sept. 4, 2022 - Sept. 8, 2022

Sept. 11, 2022 - Sept. 15, 2022

Sept. 18, 2022 - Sept. 22, 2022

Sept. 25, 2022 - Sept. 29, 2022

Oct. 2, 2022 - Oct. 6, 2022

Pricing

2022
Non-rider, sharing
£240 $330 €285
B&B only
2022
Rider, sharing
£920 $1275 €1095
Included Accommodation in shared rooms, half board meals (breakfast and picnic lunches), all riding as per the itineraries and all transport during the riding days.
Not included Travel and transfers on arrival and departure, evening meals, drinks, personal travel insurance.

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer €175
Paid locally
Knock airport transfers, round trip price per car.
2022 - Single Supplement £118 $163 €140
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone in a single room.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.