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 sample the food from award-winning chefs! 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 sample the food from award-winning chefs! Discover the delights of the Connemara pony, native to Ireland, known for athleticism, versatility, and good disposition.

DAY ONE: GALWAY TO CONNEMARA

You will be welcomed at the tourist office in Galway City at 1 pm 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 guide, Cáit Goaley, will take you all through the Wild Women orientation. Afterward, you’ll 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 for a well-earned sleep.

  • Riding time: 1-2 hours

 

DAY TWO: AUGHNANURE CASTLE

You’ll have the option to ease yourself into the day or to join us as we feed and check our 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 well-preserved example of an Irish tower house. We will stop off at Connemara Marble on the way to witness the beauty of Connemara’s natural mineral being crafted into some of Ireland’s finest jewelry items before returning to the farm. In the afternoon we’ll ride on nearby trails and country roads, exploring the local countryside with a picnic in the enchanted forest which was once a village in pre-famine times.

We’ll make our way back to the farm 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. We will discuss the riding options for Day 3 this evening where the majority will decide whether we choose to attempt a team challenge of a synchronized musical ride at our lakeside arena or another forest ride near Bridgit’s Garden.

Tonight, we’ll dine in a local award-winning restaurant where your taste buds can explore locally sourced meat, fish, and vegetables.

  • Riding time: 4-5 hours

 

DAY THREE: BRIGIT’S GARDEN

Before breakfast, you will have an option of grooming your pony or having a lie-in. Once we’ve chosen which ride we’ve opted for today, we will either ride the horses at the arena or truck the horses to the forest near Brigit’s garden for a morning ride. After the ride, we’ll visit Brigit’s Garden for lunch and a tour. 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, a 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.

As our last day at Curra Farm comes to a close, relax on the deck and in the outdoor hot tub or recline on the sofas and reflect on the day while tonight’s meal is prepared. Then we’ll pack and prepare to make our way to the Renvyle Peninsula tomorrow.

  • Riding time: 1.5-3 hours

 

DAY FOUR: BEACH RIDE

After breakfast, we’ll pack up people and ponies and head deeper into Connemara, through Oughterard. We stop off at Glengowla Mines. Once an active silver mine, you will travel back in time and 140ft underground to see what life was like for Irish miners and their families centuries ago. After the tour, we visit the onsite sheep farm where Keith the owner will give us a sheepdog demonstration. If time allows, we will visit the movie set of the modern western “An Klondike” or “Dominion Creek” before going to the bog to learn about and cut some peat (turf) – our source of winter fuel.

We’ll continue on the path through the winding road of the Inagh Valley, nestled between the mountain ranges of “The Twelve Bens” and “The Maam Turks” to arrive at the 4 star Renvyle House Hotel & Resort. After checking in, followed by a quick tour of the facilities at the hotel, we go for a ride around the hotel grounds. We will leave plenty of time to enjoy the on-site facilities or relax in one of the cozy spaces before a spectacular dinner is prepared by the award-winning chefs at the hotel.

  • Riding time: 1-3 hours

 

DAY FIVE: KYLEMORE ABBEY

After breakfast we visit the beautiful Kylemore Abbey, it’s gothic church and spectacular walled gardens. There will be time to visit the gift shop before you are picked up to return to the hotel so you can freshen up before the ride.

Our ride today will take us around the beautifully scenic Renvyle Peninsula where we retrace the footsteps of the pirate queen and visit another of her castles. Stopping for a picnic lunch along the way, we will ride along the headlands, viewing the islands of Inish Shark, Inish Turk, and Inish Bofin. If the day is clear enough we will get a panoramic view of Croagh Patrick and The Twelve Bens as we ride through the quiet lanes of Tully Mountain along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Upon returning to the hotel relax or have a dip in the pool or the sea, kayak on the lake, play a game of tennis or bowls or try your hand at fly fishing before dinner.

In the evening, the award-winning chefs of Renvyle House hotel will treat you to a 4-course meal after you have had a chance to use one or more of the many hotel facilities.

  • Riding time: 1-3 hours

 

DAY SIX: EXPLORING OMEY ISLAND

Today we travel to Clifden Town (the ‘capitol’ of Connemara) where you can visit the Connemara Pony Museum and/or browse the many craft/fashion/tack stores in the area.

Driving along the Sky road, you’ll see spectacular views of the coastline. Our lunch will be served in the local pub where we meet the horses at the Aughris Peninsula. Bring your swimsuit if you fancy a dip in the Wild Atlantic Way or a swim on your horse. Don’t forget a change of clothes and footwear as you may get wet even if you choose not to swim!

We will start with a ride around the peninsula before we trail ride across the vast stretch of sand that allows us to explore the wonderful Omey Island and its history at low tide. Coming back across the sand, you will have the opportunity to canter the length of the strand or simply take your horse for a splash. Those who still feel energized can visit the National Park Museum and Diamond Hill for a choice of a walk or climb, however the fresh sea air might require that you return to the hotel to relax in the hot tub!

  • Riding time: 2-3 hours

 

DAY SEVEN: ONWARDS

After breakfast, your guides will take you back to Galway City for your onward journey. The group departs at Renvyle House Hotel & Resort at about 10:30 am and takes the scenic route back to Galway City. 

Expected arrival at the Galway City Tourist Office is 1 pm. Please make your departure plans for mid to late afternoon.

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