Connemara Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Ireland has a long history of producing strong and independent women so what better place for a Wild Woman escape than Connemara, the home of Grace O’Malley – Grainnuaile – the infamous 16th century pirate queen.

This remarkable adventurer and warrior controlled the seas off the West of Ireland in the 16th century and led a life of great daring.

Dare to explore the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland by horseback on our weeklong riding adventure. Your days will be spent roaming the Gaelic countryside’s barren moors and emerald green meadows, touring ancient Goddess sites and legendary castles.

Along the way you’ll rest in lovely accommodations and dine in an Irish castle! Discover the delights of the Connemara pony, native to Ireland, known for athleticism, versatility, and good disposition.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Connemara Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Ireland has a long history of producing strong and independent women so what better place for a Wild Woman escape than Connemara, the home of Grace O’Malley – Grainnuaile – the infamous 16th century pirate queen.

This remarkable adventurer and warrior controlled the seas off the West of Ireland in the 16th century and led a life of great daring.

Dare to explore the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland by horseback on our weeklong riding adventure. Your days will be spent roaming the Gaelic countryside’s barren moors and emerald green meadows, touring ancient Goddess sites and legendary castles.

Along the way you’ll rest in lovely accommodations and dine in an Irish castle! Discover the delights of the Connemara pony, native to Ireland, known for athleticism, versatility, and good disposition.

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Day One: Gateway to Connemara

You will be welcomed at the tourist office in Galway city in the late morning to travel to Moycullen, the gateway to Connemara, where you will stay in Curra House on the shore of Lough Corrib. Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland. 

The lake is steeped in history. There are 1,327 islands on Lough Corrib. Nestled among these islands is Castlekirk, a strategically-placed castle that served as one of Grainnuaile’s many homes.

Before your adventure begins you’ll have an opportunity to settle in, relax in your room, refresh in the Jacuzzi or take a walk around the farm.

Over a light lunch you will learn about your stay and your guides will take you all through the Wild Women orientation. Then you will head to the stable yard to meet your ponies and horses – your equine partners on this adventure.

You will learn how to groom and prepare your mount for riding. This is an essential element of the bonding process and helps to build up mutual trust and respect.

Your riding skills will be assessed in an enclosed arena to ensure the right match of horse personality to suit your ability and experience.

When everybody is happy, you’ll take a short ride around the farm and lakeshore to help cement the bond and build up an appetite for a traditional Irish meal. Over dinner, you’ll learn gaelic words and phrases before retiring to your comfortable bed for a well-earned sleep.

Riding time today: 1-2 hours

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Day Two: Castle Riding

Before breakfast, you will have an option of helping us to feed our herd of Connemara ponies or having a lie-in.

After a continental buffet breakfast, we’ll head over for a guided tour of Brigit’s Garden. Brigit is another example of a strong and independent Irish woman. The name Brigit means ‘Exalted One’ and refers both to St. Brigit, the powerful 6th century abbess of Kildare, and the pre-Christian Brigit, goddess for many Celtic peoples across Europe. Many of the stories associated with St. Brigit are clearly pre-Christian in origin, so the two Brigits are inextricably linked.

After lunch, we will tack up and ride the forestry tracks which offer several options, depending on your level of ability and confidence. You can choose a leisurely trot or opt for an invigorating canter.

We’ll make our way back to the barn via the lake shore where you can bring your pony for a paddle or splash in the water to cool down before we untack and take care of them.

As our first full day of our Wild Woman Adventure comes to a close, we pop in the local eatery for supper before we bring you back to Curra House where you can relax on the deck or the sofas and reflect on the day.

Riding time today: 2-3 hours

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Day Three: Aughnanure Castle

As usual, you have the option to ease yourself into the day or to join the group as they feed your Connemara herd.

After breakfast we head over to one of Grainnuaile’s homes, Aughnanure Castle. Standing on what is virtually a rocky island, the castle is a particularly well-preserved example of an Irish tower house.

This afternoon will have options of  flat work riding session (learn a musical ride) with instructors or trail ride on nearby trails and roads, exploring the local countryside -based on the groups preference. Another local dinner, then pack and prepare to make our way to the Renvyle Peninsula tomorrow.

Riding time today: 2-4 hours

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Day Four: Pirate Queen Adventures

After breakfast we pack up people and ponies and head deeper into Connemara, through Oughterard. We stop off at Ballynahinch Castle where we ride through the spectacular grounds that the pirate queen herself once enjoyed. The sixteenth century Ballynahinch Castle proudly overlooks the Ballynahinch river. As well as Grainnuaile, this castle has been the home of the O’Flaherty Chieftains, Humanity Dick Martin and the Maharajah Ranjitsinji.

The island castle (crannog) was built in the fifteenth century by Grainnuale’s husband, Donal O’Flaherty, and ruins are still to be seen today from the Galway- Clifden road. Today for lunch we dine in the Fisherman’s Pub after a quick tour of the castle. 

That afternoon, we enjoy a 2-4 hour ride on nearby hill trails with possible time in Clifden town before ponies and people all head over to Renvyle Hotel and get settled in. Take time to enjoy the on site facilities or relax in one of the cozy spaces before a spectacular 4 star dinner.

Riding time today: 2-4 hours

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Day Five: Tully Mountain

After breakfast you’ll visit the beautiful Kylemore Abbey where you will be treated to lunch and a tour of the abbey and gardens.

Your ride today will take you around the beautifully scenic Renvyle Peninsula where you retrace the footsteps of the pirate queen and visit another of her castles. Ride along the headlands, viewing the islands of Inish Shark, Turk. If the day is clear enough you will get a panoramic view of Croagh Patrick and the 12 bens as you ride through the quiet lanes of Tully Mountain along the Wild Atlantic Way.

This evening, the award winning chefs of Renvyle House hotel will treat you to a 4-course meal.

Riding time today: 2-4 hours

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Day Six: Omey Island

After a full traditional Irish breakfast, you will be transported with the horses to the Aughris Peninsula.

You will start with a ride around the peninsula before hacking across the vast stretch of sand that allows you to explore the wonderful Omey Island and its history at low tide. Coming back across the sand, you will have the opportunity to gallop the length of the strand or simply take your horse for a splash. This is also when you you can take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

Lunch will be served in the local pub after which you are transported to the National Park for a few hours to explore the wonderful Connemara nature, climb the Diamond Mountain, or return to the hotel to relax, have a dip in the pool, kayak on the lake, play a game of tennis, or try your hand at fly fishing before your dinner.

Riding time today: 2-4 hours

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Day Seven: Galway City

After breakfast, your guides will take you on your return trip to Galway City for your onward journey.

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!