Horseback Riding in Ireland

Donegal from the Saddle

Overview

This ride is based at Dunfanaghy, a picturesque coastal village in the remote northwest of Ireland. It has some fabulous unpopulated beaches for glorious gallops on willing Irish hunters and Connemaras. The congenial hotel, with its Irish pub and excellent cuisine, provides an ideal base for rides in the wild surrounding area.

There are many chances to interact with local people. Riders follow some of the roads built during the time of the Great Famine, which still lives in some memories here.

Please check out other destinations for beach riding vacations.

The accommodations on this ride are at the Arnold Hotel, a quaint family run business established in 1922. The hotel has comfortable ensuite rooms, a traditional Irish pub, a colorful bistro, and a formal dining room. Arnold’s is a local favorite with a reputation for exceptional food and service.

A hearty breakfast is served each morning in the hotel’s bistro. This includes hot or cold cereals, brown bread, fruit juice, tea or coffee and a full Irish breakfast that includes eggs, bacon, sausage and/or ham and toast. Lunches comprised of soup, sandwiches, hot tea and coffee, freshly baked bread, and muffins are served along the trail on most of the days, while gourmet dinners are served in the restaurant or bistro at Arnold’s Hotel each night.

  • Overview:
    The horses are Irish Hunters and Connemaras and are especially steady and sure-footed. Connemaras generally stand 13-14.2 HH and are the sole indigenous horse of Ireland. They are known to be fast, courageous, sensible, and remarkable jumpers. Irish Hunters are natural jumpers, agile and very athletic. They typically stand 16-17HH. The tack is English. Riders need not groom or tack up.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Irish Hunter, Connemara
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate
  • Tack:
    English
  • Weight limit:
    210 lbs

While riders are on horseback, there are no separate activities planned for non-riders, who can enjoy the accommodations and region independently.

Dunfanaghy

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Dunfanaghy in the afternoon. Meet other riders and hosts in the evening for dinner.

Day 2

After a hearty Irish breakfast meet the horses and guides at the stable, conveniently located on the hotel grounds. The morning is spent assessing riders and horses with a ride around Horn Head Forest and high up on the track for a panoramic view of Sheephaven Bay. Lunch at Arnold’s hotel. The riding time is tide dependent today. 2 hours in the saddle.

Day 3

Leave the coast for the day, with a packed lunch, and head towards the impressive Muckish Mountain. Traverse old tracks built 150 years ago during the great famine; only horses can use the tracks as they were originally built for them. Ride along the dismantled Falcarragh-Burtonport railway, whose surface is ideal for long canters. After lunch cross three rivers by means of ancient fords, and enter a forest for a canter in the direction of Errarooey. The horses are left for the evening and riders return to Arnold’s Hotel for dinner and overnight. 4 hours riding time.

Day 4

After breakfast riders are taken back to the horses in Errarooey. Tidal and weather conditions’ permitting, the day starts with a long canter on the beach. Traverse rough pastures, rugged coastline, empty beaches and mountain ranges before returning to Arnold’s Hotel. 3 hours in the saddle.

Day 5

A free day to relax and unwind. Take advantage of the many sights within walking distance of the hotel. The Workhouse first opened in 1845 on the eve of the Great Famine; it is now a museum exhibiting the tragic life and times of the famine victims. Next door is an art gallery and craft shop, which includes exhibits of many famous artists including Frank Eggington. In the center of the village there are quaint shops selling a variety of quality Irish goods. The walking enthusiast can enjoy many local walks with a guidebook available at the hotel. The hotel can make arrangements for anglers to have a fishing boat and permit for the day on one of many local lakes. There is a golf club and the hotel offers reduced green fees. A thirty-minute drive from the hotel is Glenveagh National Park, the Glebe Gallery, and the Dunlewy Interpretive Centre. For those who wish to ride additional riding can be arranged for a small fee.

Day 6

This day uses a combination of the bog and mountain tracks, quiet lanes and stretches of old railway. The scenery on today’s ride will surpass all others. Tie the horses in the shadow of the mighty mountains to enjoy a picnic lunch. Before finishing the day take the opportunity for a gallop on Killahoey Beach. Enjoy a pint of Guinness before dinner at the hotel. 4 hours saddle time.

Day 7

The final day of riding today will take a route over the hills, a wild and windswept affair impressing all who make the journey. Spend the evening at a special farewell dinner. 3 hours in the saddle.

Day 8

Depart after breakfast.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible. Changes may take place at the guide's discretion.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
May 16, 2020
May 23, 2020
May 23, 2020
May 30, 2020
Jun 6, 2020
Jun 13, 2020
Jun 20, 2020
Jun 27, 2020
Jul 4, 2020
Jul 11, 2020
Aug 22, 2020
Aug 29, 2020
Sep 4, 2020
Sep 11, 2020
Sep 26, 2020
Oct 3, 2020

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,875Mid Season rate: May 23-30, June 6-13, June 20-27, Sept 4-11 and Sept 26 - Oct 3
  • Non-rider Rate
  • $965For June & September. $915 for May. $1,015 for July & August.
  • Pricing Variation
  • $1,780May 16-23
  • July 4-11 and Aug 22-29
  • Single Supplement
  • $235

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
May 1, 2021
May 8, 2021
May 8, 2021
May 15, 2021
May 22, 2021
May 29, 2021
Jul 3, 2021
Jul 10, 2021
Jul 17, 2021
Jul 24, 2021
Aug 14, 2021
Aug 21, 2021
Aug 27, 2021
Sep 3, 2021
Sep 3, 2021
Sep 10, 2021
Sep 18, 2021
Sep 25, 2021

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,875Mid Season rate: May 22-29, September 3-10 and September 18-25
  • Non-rider Rate
  • $965For late May and September. $915 for early May dates. $1,015 for July and August
  • Pricing Variation
  • $1,780

    Low Season Rate: May 1-8 and May 8-15

  • $1,960

    High Season Rate: July 3-10, July 17-24, August 14-21 and August 27 - Sept 03

  • Single Supplement
  • $235

Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.


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Contact Biggi Hayes

The Clew Bay ride is a great way to experience authentic Ireland on horseback. The host, Padraic, is incredibly warm and extremely knowledgeable about both the area and his horses. He is great at tailoring the ride to suit your riding level and comfort. On the trail I saw the beautiful rolling green hills Ireland is famous for, dotted with countless sheep and centuries old structures. There were also stunning views of Clew Bay and plenty of cantering on the beach. Westport is an incredibly charming town with lots of great places to eat and really friendly people. The Lurgan House bed & breakfast is very comfortable after a long day in the saddle.

Millard, May 2019