Guided by Willie Leahy
Lake in Connemara
Trail Riding Holidays
Trail Riding Connemara
Horse Riding on Beach
Riding at the Sea
Riding at Dartfield
Cross Country Jumping
timeless land of wild beauty. Famous for its spectacular scenery. This is a region of contrasting landscapes.
Dramatic mountains, silent lakes, rust coloured bogs. The countless colours of the landscape change constantly
beneath the shifting sky. It is a wilderness of extraordinary beauty,
bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
The Connemara Trail began 1968.
It is the oldest trail ride in the world. The trail crosses the most wild and beautiful scenery that Ireland
has to offer. Riding is available from April to October. Riders are in the saddle for four to six hours per day.
Lunch is eaten on the trail.
Trail - Itinerary by Day
The riders meet at the Meyrick Hotel (formerly the Great Southern
Hotel), Eyre Square, in the heart of Galway at 10am. Here you are
introduced to your guide and the back up team who are on hand to move
luggage, bring the picnic and help with the horses.
There is a short
drive, out of the city (approx. 30 min) to the start point of the ride,
at Oughterard. Here you will have your first sight of the horse or
pony which is to become your companion for the week. The horses and
ponies are assigned to the riders, according to the rider's ability,
weight, height etc. After tacking up the ride departs and heads straight
into the mountains for a long ride that will finish at Maam Cross,
the site of the famous October horse fair.
takes the riders past the ruins of cottages abandoned since
the famine, in the 1840's, which decimated the Irish population.
As the trail winds its way through the spectacular scenery
the view is magnificent, spanning the horizon is the vast
expanse of Lough Corrib, the largest lake in southern Ireland.
the ride continues through the mountains, traversing the bogs
and rocks and wading through streams. Way below the trail
is the 'Quiet Man Bridge', made famous by the John Wayne movie.
The day ends with the first of many canters along the abandoned
Galway to Clifden railway line. At the end of the day the
horses are turned loose into a lakeside pasture while the
riders travel to their accommodation.
the night at the lakeside pasture at Maam Cross the horses are refreshed
and ready to begin the ride from Maam Cross to Ballinafad. The first
stage of the ride goes through Willie's land at Maam Cross, where
a path takes the riders alongside the beautiful Lough Sindle and
past the remains of a long forgotten lime kiln, hidden in a grove
of hazel trees.
Some of the trees in the area are ancient, yet they remain tiny,
bent by the harsh Atlantic winds that batter this area during the
winter. Lunch is eaten on a small village green, while the horses
it is back into the saddle for the final stage of the days ride,
through silent woodlands and through the beautiful Inagh Valley.
On a clear day riders can see right over the spectacular Connemara
landscape to the coast at Rosmuc. The day ends with another canter
along the old Galway to Clifden railway line, before the horses
are turned out in a pasture at Ballinafad, before the riders return
to their accommodation.
The horses are rounded up and saddled before the ride leaves Ballinafad.
This morning the horses wade through a wide mountain stream before
heading up into a short stretch of mountain above the ancient Ballinafad
The riders then go through the grounds of Ballinahinch Castle, enjoying
a long canter through the woodland beforehand. The castle was once
the home of an Indian Prince and also Richard Martin who founded the
humane society for the protection of animals.
a long canter along the old railway line. The grassy track is great
fun for a long canter. The horses are set free on the edge of bogland
close to Clifden while the riders eat lunch.
it is back into the saddle for the afternoon ride which goes
along a grassy track close to Clifden and then heads inland
over the Roundstone Bog, site of the landing of the historic
flight of Alcock and Brown, who piloted the first transatlantic
biplane and the site of the Marconi wireless station. Then
we follow the coast to the seaside pasture where the horses
will spend the next few nights. The riders then head to their
accommodation in Clifden where they will spend the next few
This is a full day spent on the fabulous Mannin Bay beach. There is
mile after mile of sandy beach where riders can gallop and jump over
the small stone walls and sandy banks.
is an unforgettable day. Riders are welcome to swim their mount
in the clear water of the ocean. It is a unique and very special
experience as the horse begins to swim under you. The horses
dry off and rest in a beach side pasture while the riders eat
a picnic lunch on over the beach over looking the ocean. Then
it is back into the saddle for another ride along the beach
to discover more of the wonders of this coastline.
The ride begins at the sea and ends at Toombeola, inland over the
The ride follows the coastline, passing small farmsteads, where
generations of small farmers have lived and worked. The coastline
is beautiful, the water often the colour of a tropical sea. The
ride continues into Errisbeg mountain along an old grassy track
before our lunch stop, which is eaten in the mountains, overlooking
the pasture where the horses eat. Then they are saddled for the
ride that takes us high into Errisbeg mountain high above the seaside
village of Roundstone. Watch out for the leprechauns that are known
to inhabit this area. Below is the stunning scenery of Dogs Bay,
which curves out into the Atlantic Ocean. The horses spend the night
in a pasture at Toombeola while the riders travel back to Clifden
for the night.
The riders will be collected from the Hotel / Guesthouse in the morning and brought to Dartfield, Willie's purpose built Equestrian and Heritage Centre. After a warm welcome with hot Port or Whiskey we will tack up the horses and enjoy trekking through the 350 acres estate. The ride goes through woodland and across fields and there is the option to jump in our Cross Country Course which already hosted an international 3 Star event. Lunch will be in our Cafe here at Dartfield and you have the chance to visit the only Museum in Ireland dedicated to Irish horses / ponies and Dog Breeds and browse our Tack and Gift Shop.
The afternoon is again spent riding here at Dartfield, going out hacking and jumping before it is time to say good bye to your four legged friend.
Cross Equestrian Centre
Dartfield Equestrian Centre
Kilrickle, Loughrea, Co. Galway
353 91 843968
353 91 843969
Cross is a member of the
Horse Riding Ireland