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Sligo Coastal Trails

Overview

A county famous for its unspoilt and untamed countryside, Sligo is a dream for horse riders, with its pristine beaches, ancient bog lands and impressive cliff-tops. The dramatic scenery is truly breath-taking, with miles of wild coastline and vast, untouched sandy beaches and hidden coves. Explore …

Highlights

  • Riding on spectacular beaches
  • Experiencing warm Irish hospitality
  • A range of wonderful Irish horses
  • Fast beach gallops
  • Trails over private land

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 6 riders per group
  • Average of 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg / 198lbs / 14st 2lbs

Description

A county famous for its unspoilt and untamed countryside, Sligo is a dream for horse riders, with its pristine beaches, ancient bog lands and impressive cliff-tops. The dramatic scenery is truly breath-taking, with miles of wild coastline and vast, untouched sandy beaches and hidden coves. Explore tidal lagoons, gallop for miles across the endless sands and explore the rocky wilderness of the Mullaghmore Headland. There is even an opportunity to ride to the hosts' private island, O'Connor's Island, which was the original homestead of the family before they moved to the mainland in the 1950s. Each day’s riding starts at the farm and returns back to base, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some brisk beach riding every day.

Horses & Riding

Tack

English tack is used on this riding holiday.

Horses

A herd of happy, mostly home-bred horses is ready to take you on your equestrian adventure. These range from Irish Draught horses and Irish Sport horses to Connemara ponies and Irish cobs, all sure-footed and well suited to the terrain.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • The Wild Atlantic Way is a based ride

Ages

Please contact us regarding children riders.

Health

Able to ride long hours in the saddle.

Weight

90kg / 198lbs / 14st 2lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Food in Ireland is hearty, wholesome and plentiful. A typical full Irish breakfast (bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, black and/or white pudding) is on the menu each morning and of course lighter options will be available as well. Packed lunches are taken out on the rides on some days and other times riders will enjoy a pub lunch. On the West Coast of Ireland you can expect a lot of regional fare on the menu. Seafood is naturally a popular choice and a speciality of the area, with freshly caught fish, mussels, seafood chowder and traditional fish and chips being classic staples. Locally-sourced meat also goes towards warming Irish stews and pies, alongside seasonal fruit and vegetables, and the famous Irish soda bread.

Accommodation

Guests will be accommodated in a family-run, 3 * hotel situated directly overlooking the harbour. This small seaside property has been welcoming visitors for over 100 years. Rooms are comfortable and cosy with en suite facilities and all guests have access to the hotel's spa and leisure centre. The hotel has an indoor pool, and the spa offers a range of treatments to help you relax after a long day in the saddle. There is also an onsite restaurant and bar and the hotel has WiFi.

Itineraries

The Wild Atlantic Way Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

The area has some interesting walking trails, particularly for those interested in archaelogy and history. The surrounding areas also offer kayak, sup, mountain biking, climbing, surfing etc.

It's recommended that non-riders hire a car so they can explore at their leisure.

Travel

The location of the stables is situated along the N15 (Sligo – Donegal Road), halfway between the two villages of Grange and Cliffoney, 16km (10 miles) north of Sligo, 12km (8 miles) south of Bundoran.

Bus and train service from the airport to Sligo or Ballyshannon:
Buseireann Service No. 30 offers an around-clock direct connection from Dublin airport to Ballyshannon. Bus No 23 offers a connection from Dublin Airport to Sligo.
Service 53 from Shannon Airport to Grange.
Service 64 from Knock Airport to Grange.

If you prefer the train, you can get a shuttlebus from Dublin airport to Connolly station in Dublin City Centre. From Connolly station you can get a direct train to Sligo.

Both bus and train are cheaper when you buy your ticket online in advance.
A very useful site that combines all means of public transport in real time is www.transportforireland.ie . Please make sure you select Grange (Sligo), as there are many villages called Grange in Ireland.

On request, a taxi pick up can be arranged from Ballyshannon or Sligo station. The cost is €40 and advance booking required.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Monday

Riding: No riding.

Arrive at the hotel from 4pm onwards and overnight.

Day 2 - Tuesday

Riding: 4 hours

After a hearty breakfast you will be transferred to the riding stables to meet the horses. First you will have an assessment lesson to make sure you get on with the horse who's been picked for you, and to ensure you are happy with them before leaving the yard. After lunch you will go for a three-hour beach and bog ride. The ride will combine a coastal and rural experience. 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 riders an extra opportunity for a canter on the moorlands loop.

Day 3

Riding: 5 hours

Day 3 to 6: Long rides
You will get one of the following long rides every day. The order of the four riding days that will be determined closer to the time as weather and tidal conditions will dictate the day and departure time. There will be either packed lunches or 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 tidal conditions, you will enjoy either a picnic or cafe lunch.

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

Gleniff Horseshoe ride (five to six hours)
Today you have a choice of two options: you can take a day off to relax and do some sightseeing or you can venture inlands on our longest and toughest ride of the week.

OPTION A: This is a long ride with spectacular views, but also a fair amount 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 attractions in Ballintrillick by Trip Advisor) 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 snack at the old barytes mill site at the base of the Gleniff Horseshoe before you return home along quiet country laneways. The ride offers breathtaking views of 10 town lands and the Atlantic Ocean. You will sleep well tonight!

OPTION B: after a nice lie in and breakfast, you will be collected and transferred 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 (surf lessons can be arranged for you in advance) in riding the ”white horses”. Alternatively spoil yourself with a seaweed bath or treatment at Voya’s seaweed baths (2 week advance booking essential, price not included in 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. You will be provided with a map and packed lunch for your hike. When you are done exploring Strandhill, you will be collected again and taken back to the hotel. Alternatively you could also spend the day in Sligo, shopping and sightseeing . It's flexible!

Day 5

Riding: 5 hours

Dernish Island trek ride
This trek is any rider’s dream, where you can discover the pristine and expansive beaches on horseback. You will feel the thrill of crossing the Atlantic channel to Dernish Island. Here you can mingle with our livestock that graze the island. Enjoy uninterrupted views over Trawalua Strand and Classiebawn castle. Mainland life will suddenly feel very far away to you. 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 the O’Connor family on O’Connor’s Island where a group of young horses and the dry stock cattle herd roams the islands.

Day 6

Riding: 5 hours

Mullaghmore Coastal ride
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 harbour. 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 a serious swell, top surfers from all over the world come here to take on a wave of up to 50 feet. On this trail, you will take a lunch break in the pub overlooking the harbour.

Day 7 - Sunday

Riding: No riding.

Departure after breakfast.

Accommodation

Comfortable 3* hotel accommodation with en suite bathrooms. The hotel also has a bar, restaurant, indoor swimming pool and a spa.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

This ride is for experienced riders happy and in control at all paces on open and varied terrain and fit enough to ride for up to 6 hrs a day.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 6
Departure windows

At any time during: April 1, 2024 - Sept. 9, 2024  (Departures are every Monday to Sunday)

Pricing

2024
Per person, sharing
£1845 $2300 €2155
Included 6 nights of B&B in a 3 star hotel, 5 dinners, 5 days riding, 5 x lunch (packed or pub lunch), transfers between the hotel and the stables & back on riding days.
Not included Flights, transfers other than mentioned above, travel insurance, drinks, 1 dinner, tips.

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £220 $275 €260
Paid to Far and Ride
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.