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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 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
  • 3 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.

3 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. We can arrange return airport transfers for you from Knock, Shannon and Dublin airports, at an additional cost.

Alternatively you can travel by train directly from Dublin to Westport or by bus from Knock or Shannon and these are reliable and reasonably priced alternatives. We would highly recommend hiring a car if you are able to in order to explore this rugged and unique landscape.

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, along the shores of Knappagh Lake and through the village of Mountbrown before returning to Aughagower along an old shepherd's track. After riding there is a chance to visit the round tower and monastic site which dates back to the 7th century.

In the evening there is an opportunity to meet your host Padraic in one of Westport's pubs for a welcome drink.

Day 3 - Tuesday

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Today you will be transferred to Cloona, just outside Westport, to re-join your horses. Set out on the 'Skelp Ride' towards the east side of Croagh Patrick (Ireland's Holy Mountain) and on to Teevnacroagha. Here you will ride in the footsteps of Saint Patrick, to the foot of the mountain which been a site of worship for over 3,000 years. Cross the Owenwee river and on to the peat bog tracks at Owenwee to see the bog oak and how the peat is harvested. The day finishes at Cloona.

Day 4 - Wednesday

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. You will return via a river crossing at Bellakip to finish the day at Culeen.

Day 5 - Thursday

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'. You will be based in Formoyle for the next two days. The ride today takes you over a mountain pass, 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 Formoyle for the night.

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

April 18, 2021 - April 24, 2021

April 25, 2021 - May 1, 2021

May 2, 2021 - May 8, 2021

May 9, 2021 - May 15, 2021

May 16, 2021 - May 22, 2021

May 23, 2021 - May 29, 2021

May 30, 2021 - June 5, 2021

June 6, 2021 - June 12, 2021

June 13, 2021 - June 19, 2021

June 20, 2021 - June 26, 2021

June 27, 2021 - July 3, 2021

July 4, 2021 - July 10, 2021

July 11, 2021 - July 17, 2021

July 18, 2021 - July 24, 2021

July 25, 2021 - July 31, 2021

Aug. 1, 2021 - Aug. 7, 2021

Aug. 8, 2021 - Aug. 14, 2021

Aug. 15, 2021 - Aug. 21, 2021

Aug. 22, 2021 - Aug. 28, 2021

Aug. 29, 2021 - Sept. 4, 2021

Sept. 5, 2021 - Sept. 11, 2021

Sept. 12, 2021 - Sept. 18, 2021

Sept. 19, 2021 - Sept. 25, 2021

Sept. 26, 2021 - Oct. 2, 2021

Oct. 3, 2021 - Oct. 9, 2021

Oct. 10, 2021 - Oct. 16, 2021

Pricing

2021
High Season (July, August & September)
£1360 $1890 €1595
2021
Standard Season (April, May, June & October)
£1315 $1830 €1545
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

2021 - Airport Transfer €120
Paid locally
Knock airport transfers, round trip price per car.
2021 - Single Supplement £166 $230 €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: 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 4 - Wednesday

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 18, 2021 - April 22, 2021

April 25, 2021 - April 28, 2021

May 2, 2021 - May 5, 2021

May 9, 2021 - May 12, 2021

May 16, 2021 - May 19, 2021

May 23, 2021 - May 26, 2021

May 30, 2021 - June 2, 2021

June 6, 2021 - June 9, 2021

June 13, 2021 - June 16, 2021

June 20, 2021 - June 23, 2021

June 27, 2021 - June 30, 2021

July 4, 2021 - July 7, 2021

July 11, 2021 - July 14, 2021

July 18, 2021 - July 21, 2021

July 25, 2021 - July 28, 2021

Aug. 1, 2021 - Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 8, 2021 - Aug. 11, 2021

Aug. 15, 2021 - Aug. 18, 2021

Aug. 22, 2021 - Aug. 25, 2021

Aug. 29, 2021 - Sept. 1, 2021

Sept. 5, 2021 - Sept. 8, 2021

Sept. 12, 2021 - Sept. 15, 2021

Sept. 19, 2021 - Sept. 22, 2021

Sept. 26, 2021 - Sept. 29, 2021

Oct. 3, 2021 - Oct. 6, 2021

Oct. 10, 2021 - Oct. 13, 2021

Pricing

2021
Non-rider
£153 $210 €180
B&B only
2021
Riders
£550 $765 €645
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

2021 - Airport Transfer €120
Paid locally
Knock airport transfers, round trip price per car.
2021 - Single Supplement £90 $125 €105
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.