Galway – Clare – Burren Trail Ride Itinerary
For six days you will be discovering Ireland’s beautiful nature and colourful history on horseback. Your horse will be carrying you about 140 Miles from County Galway which is situated in the Midwest of Ireland westwards through the rural areas of County Clare into the unique Burren region and on to the rough Atlantic coast overlooking the spectacular Cliffs of Moher.
Day 1 – Failte to Ireland – Arrival in Shannon Airport and transfer to the An Sibin riding centre in Whitegate. Transfer from Shannon to Whitegate approx. two hours. You will be staying here for the first four nights. On the arrival day you can just relax and recover from your journey, or take a stroll on the well mapped nearby East Clare Walking Trail. For the more adventurous under you, there is also the possibility to go on a guided boat tour to the historical Holy Island with its monastic settlement of the 9th century. In the evening, you will get to know all your fellow riders for this week. You will have dinner in the tastefully restored 300 year old farmhouse in the An Sibin Riding Centre by candlelight and open turf fire.
Day 2 – Binor Ride – After breakfast you will be brought to the start of the trail, where your guide will allocated the horses to you according to your experience. Every rider can then get used to his own horse for the week by brushing and tacking it itself, don’t worry there are always lots of helping hands around you! We will then leave for an easy ride into the surrounding peaceful forests of the Slieve Aughty Mountains. For the lunch break we will be back at the An Sibin Riding Centre and riders and horses take a rest. In the afternoon the horses will bring us trough the rural farming land in County Galway and the huge area of heather and bog land using the old tracks of the historical Sarsfield Ride. We leave our horses on a field where they stay overnight and we drive back to the accommodation for a relaxing evening.
Day 3 – Inis Cealtra Ride – Today’s ride brings us up over the hills of the Slieve Aughty Mountains with fascinating views over the majestic Lough Derg and River Shannon. Along the track we will be passing old farm ruins and miles of stonewall
s and your guide will tell you about Irelands most significant incident in history: About 150 years ago many farms and villages where left because of the Famine. This was the time of the severe potato disease, which destroyed for a couple of years the sole source of food supply for the rural and poor Irish peasant and his stock. In addition to that a Typhus and Cholera epidemic enforced the disaster, leading to a flood of millions of people emigrating to other countries or starving with the hunger. Knowing about those times you will be greeting the tasty lunch waiting for us, before we head across the extensive areas of bog land in the afternoon. There we will pass local farmers cutting and drying the turf in the traditional way. A Neolithic dolmen, with the legendary name Oisin’s and Grainne’s Grave, beside the track proves that this area was already mystified about 5000 years ago. Much younger (about 9th cent.) are the ruins of a monastic settlement on Holy Island, which we can easily spot by the well kept typical round tower.
Day 4 – Lough Graney Ride – Leaving the sheltered pasture we are heading this morning for the top of the hills again overlooking endless woods and grazing land to the north, west and south. Long before we get there we can spot way under us the sandy shores of Lough Graney where we are heading for. The beach invites us to a canter along the water and on the trails goes right across the refreshing lake! The ride in the later afternoon takes us through the typical farmland of rural Ireland with its juicy green fields and the endless old stonewalls surrounding the peacefully grazing sheep and cattle.
Day 5 – Glandaria Ride – Today’s lovely wood tracks take us further westwards overlooking Glandaria (the valley of the Kings) the wide fertile valley of the River Shannon, where hundreds of years ago Irelands kings preferably used to settle. After the lunch break near a typical mountain river we will cross the boggy uplands. County Clare unfolds all around us up to the in the distance rising hills of the famous Burren National Park. On a clear day we will even get the first glimpse of Galway Bay. This afternoon our horses will be transferred by lorry across the busy valley to tomorrow’s start at the Mullaghmore Mountain in the Burren. You will be staying tonight in the charming village of Corofin with its countless pubs.
Day 6 – Mullaghmore Ride – The totally different and unique scenery of the world renowned Burren will accompany us for the next two days. The moon like landscape of this limestone area bears not only an immensely colourful flora and fauna with a large number of very rare species, but also reveals a stunning variety of prehistoric settlements. Dolmens and Wedge Tombs line up next to Norman stone fort ruins and Celtic ring forts. Close to a fulacht fiadh an ancient cooking site, we will enjoy our lunch. It is amazing how many eye-catching sites this at first sight so vast looking landscape can offer us. The next two nights you will be staying in the Lisdoonvarna area, which is famous for the traditional music in the pubs.Day 7 – Atlantic Coast Ride – Today we head westwards through the Burren, learning about the impressive Poulnabrone Dolmen, and the huge and dangerous cave systems in this special area. We rest for lunch overlooking the story telling rocky landscape. After the break we lead our horses up the last hill for the breath- taking view over the Atlantic Sea, the famous Aran Islands and the rugged Connemara Mountains. We look down to the extremely rocky shore of County Clare way underneath us and enjoy our last gallop. In the glittering afternoon sunlight the impressive silhouette of the Cliffs of Moher rise in front of us. Near the ruins of the spooky looking Ballinalaken Castle our ride ends.
Day 8 – Slan Abhaile – After breakfast you will be transferred back to the airport for your onwards journey.
Non-riders are also welcome, there is plenty to for them to do including hiking, cycling, sightseeing, fishing, golf etc