Horseback Riding in United Kingdom

Discover Northern Ireland

Overview

Clinging to Ireland’s rugged northern coastline between Belfast City and Derry-Londonderry, County Antrim has a mix of remarkable geology, pristine beaches and exhilarating cliff top walks. Think vast ocean views, rolling green glens, sea arches and butter-colored coves. And there is no better place for epic non-riding adventures as well – visiting the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle or the Carrick-a Rede rope bridge to name a few.

The Discover Northern Ireland ride is perfect for those who wish to explore the very best of the North Coast in a shorter itinerary. It includes 3 full days of riding and rides on 3 fabulous beaches:  Whitepark, Whiterocks and Portbalintrea. Each day is uniquely planned so as to give a range of experiences. Explore the hills and glens in the of the Antrim Plateau and enjoy an afternoon tea lunch in our mountain sided cabin. The second day is spent on Whitepark bay where you will enjoy stunning views out to Scotland, sunbathing cattle and golden sands. Add in a pub lunch and your onto a winner. On day three you will be taking on Whiterocks beach before riding to the iconic Dunluce Castle and finishing off at the Giants Causeway.

Accommodations are at An Caislean Guesthouse in Ballycastle or at the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle which is an upgrade.

Breakfast is served at your accommdations. Lunches are either taken on the trail as picnics or in local pubs.
Dinners are not included in the itinerary or price, and there are many options in the town of Ballycastle.

  • Overview:
    The horses are Irish Cobs, Irish Draughts Sport Horses and Connemaras. Bred for their gentle temperament, they are fit and surefooted. They are between 13.2 and 16.2 hands. The tack is English.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Connemaras, Irish Sport Horses, Irish Draughts and Irish Cobs
  • Trip Pace:
    All paces
  • Tack:
    English
  • Weight limit:
    210 lbs/ 95kg

A non-riding itinerary can be put together depending on interests, or you are welcome to explore independently.

Accommodations in Ballycastle. Public transport is available by bus and train to Ballymoney. Taxi or guided transfers from Dublin or Belfast airports can be arranged as well.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Ireland! You can arrive at either Belfast or Dublin. Public transportation by bus and train is available to make your way to Ballycastle. A car and driver can be arranged to collect you from either location and whisk you off on the beginning of your Irish adventure. Journey northwards and, if it tickles your fancy, you can opt to travel along the renowned Causeway Coastal Route, lauded as one of the top 5 road journeys in the world. This beautiful drive will give you a taste of the rugged coastlines and sweeping sea views that you will experience over the course of your holiday.  The coastal route is dotted with historic castles and a changing canvas of natural landscapes–incredible fishing villages, quiet beaches, rolling green hills with lush hedges, mountain streams and rugged coastlines with majestic cliffs—all overlooking the magnificent sea.

Arrive in Ballycastle at your accommodations and you can spend the day at your leisure. Enjoy a traditional welcome from your hosts, take a walk through the town, get a taste of the beautiful views you will become accustomed to as the trip goes on, and then enjoy some food and drink in a local pub or restaurant. You may even get a chance to hear some live music before you retire for the night to be ready for what tomorrow has in store. Dinners are an out of pocket expense during the week and there are lots of options in Ballycastle to savor the local cuisine.

Day 2

After a hearty breakfast at your accommodations, transfer to the farm. On arrival Mr. McKinley, members of the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland (BEI) team and “Sheba” the Border collie farm dog, will greet you with a warm, genuine welcome. Enjoy some welcome tea and scones before heading to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses – if you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking. After a quick riding assessment, you will spend 4/5 hours riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills with its heather clad slopes, looking with panoramic views over the North Coast and 5 counties of Ireland – if the weather cooperates.

Stop at the glass-sided mountain side cabin, high in the hills where a sumptuous picnic lunch awaits you. In the afternoon ride past the old peat banks that were once the traditional source of fuel in Ireland for generations. You can stop and do some peat cutting with the old traditional peat spades and get a few photographs before making your way back to the stables.

After your initial day’s introduction and riding you will be collected and taken to your accommodation in the nearby coastal town of Ballycastle for dinner and overnight. Get freshened up before heading into town for some food, drink and to experience a bit of craic with the locals. Enjoy a good night’s sleep and be ready for what tomorrow has in store.

Day 3

After a filling breakfast at the accommodations, begin the day in the idyllic seaside village of Ballintoy. Follow an old off- road track with splendid views of the coast, to the breath-taking white sand beach of Whitepark Bay, a 3-mile long pristine beach on the famous Causeway Coastal Route. With a beach so pure it shines for miles (on even the cloudiest of days) it’s the perfect backdrop for a refreshing trot, canter or gallop! If you’re lucky the famous “Sunbathing Cattle” will be on the beach basking in the sun’s warmth. Spend your time playing along the 3 mile stretch of pristine white sand and explore the rolling sand dunes of the area below the backdrop of the rugged surrounding cliff faces which were once home to some of the earliest human settlers in Ireland. Savor the taste of the tantalizing sea air, feel the blustering and energizing wind on your face on this invigorating ride.

Afterwards, make your way over sandy dunes and across lush farmlands for lunch at the village of Ballintoy. Expect good, straightforward, locally sourced main dishes such as seafood chowder or Irish stew.

After lunch ride in the hills above Ballintoy, overlooking Ballintoy Harbor which was mainly associated with salmon fishing. In its heyday, cartloads of salmon made their way round hilly roads to catch the train at Ballycastle and onwards to Belfast. Game of Thrones fans will recognize Ballintoy Harbor as the setting for the Iron Islands and Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke. Like most places along the North Coast, the views from these hills are spectacular and offer some amazing photo opportunities. Look down on Ballintoy’s most distinctive site, the white Ballintoy Parish Church, perched on a hill overlooking the vast Atlantic.  The Church was built in 1813, in replacement of the original church built in the early 17th century. It is one of the most scenic churches in the country and is often pictured with the stunning view of Rathlin Island in the background. Many notable families are buried in the church’s cemetery.

As you are finishing today’s route you will be looking down on to the cliffs surrounding one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge, before finally stopping and saying farewell to the horses after a full day in the saddle.

Day 4

Today start your ride at Whiterocks beach, so named because of the white chalk cliffs and caverns set back from the water’s edge. The west end of the strand is adjacent to the sea side town of Portrush and backs on to one of the top grass links golf courses in the world, the famous Royal Portrush, host to the British Open which is part of the 2019 Masters Competition. The White Rocks beach also looks out over the Skerries (a small group of islands off the coast of Portrush) and the iconic Dunluce Castle, Donegal and the Western Isles of Scotland.

While riding there is the opportunity to ride along the edge of this famous golf course which was used for the 148th Open Championship in 2019. Stop for photographs or to get photographed with your partners if they happen to be playing on this fabulous course.

Enjoy some beautiful trots, canters and time in the sea in the most beautiful of surroundings. After conquering the beach, it is time to storm the 13th Century Castle ruins at Dunluce. Ride along the epic coast line leading us to Dunluce Castle before taking a tour of the castle, learning some of its intriguing history (especially the bit about the kitchen & staff plunging into the sea during a storm in 1639).

While here, replenish your energy with some snacks before riding to the tiny harbor town of Portballintrae on route to the Giants Causeway. As you ride through the quaint coastal village of Portballintrae begin to see the rugged headlands surrounding the Giants Causeway. Cross the River Bush, on its way to meet the Atlantic, after being used to create the world famous Old Bushmills Whiskey. It’s time to enjoy our second beach of the day! Breath in the fresh sea air as you trot and canter across the sand and in the gentle swell of the sea. The ride continues as you follow an old tram trail across sand dunes and past the stately Runkerry House before arriving at Northern Ireland’s most famous UNESCO world heritage site. This unique world heritage site is our destination for today’s ride. Load the horses in the trailer and finish off your adventure with a relaxing meal in the Causeway Hotel.

Afterwards, you must explore this unique heritage site and take in this natural wonder. Standing on the rocks and feeling the wind, spray and sun on your face is a truly unforgettable experience. Take advantage of this priceless photo opportunity as you begin to let the memories of the last 3 days of riding in Ireland sink in. The horses, the people, the experiences and the connections made will stay with you as you take in this absolutely stunning and unique piece of coastline in a very special part of the world. Slán go foil (bye for now)!

If you would like to extend your stay for the overnight, this can be arranged with extra notice.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

​Every Sunday year-round - riding begins on Monday. Starting the ride on a different day of the week incurs a flexible start date fee of $260 per person.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,030per person price for 4+ riders
  • Pricing Variation
  • $2,250per person price for 2-3 riders
  • $195extra night guesthouse on non-rider basis, per room
  • Single Supplement
  • $295

  • Transportation
  • Upon arrival at Ballymoney train station, a taxi can take you to the accommodations in Ballycastle. - this is something the outfitter can arrange with advanced notice. Out of pocket expense, typically costs around 20-30 GBP and takes about 30 minutes.

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