galloping in the lake outside Castle Leslie, Ireland
Practising water jumps Castle Leslie
Conor's Kitchen Castle Leslie
Riding in the woods, Ireland, Castle Leslie
Conservatory Castle Leslie
jumping in the indoor school Castle Leslie, Ireland
Conors Pantry Castle Leslie
Castle Leslie grounds
gallop in the lake at Castle Leslie
Old stable mews Castle Leslie, Ireland
A few members of the equine team, Castle Leslie, Ireland
Classic room in Castle Leslie Lodge
Snaffles buffet breakfast Castle Leslie
Cycling and riding at Castle Leslie, Ireland
Treatment rooms Castle Leslie spa
Snaffles Restaurant Castle Leslie

Castle Leslie in County Monaghan, is an idyllic setting for horseback riding in Ireland. Imagine over a thousand acres of rolling hills, parkland and lakes to explore on horseback. In addition, tuition with frequent clinics by top competition riders and 300 cross country jumps are part of a top quality range of equestrian facilities. Accommodation is in the four star Lodge right next to the riding centre with it’s own bar and restaurant, and an organic Victorian Spa with Treatment rooms. This is truly the perfect setting for a luxury riding vacation in Ireland.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from AB of Neenah on 13/09/2023

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall very lovely experience for my husband and I. He did not ride, but I rode everyday. Really nice accommodations, can't say enough good about the food onsite and in the local town. Nice areas to walk or check out a pub. The stables are gorgeous and everything is so clean and well cared for.
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
I want to be clear that I received 5-star service from three of my instructors were incredible in terms of horsemanship and caring for the guests. I had some lesser quality experiences which I reflected in my ratings from the staff later in the week.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Very healthy and fit horses. Clean and comfortable tack.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
6
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Opportunities to ride faster and for those who want to jump, it would be considered more advanced to be doing that type of jumping that is done here.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Booking and arrangements for transfers is smooth and easy. So many offerings and so many levels of riders can do these trips!
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments:

RIDING
Castle Leslie boasts superb equestrian facilities. Tucked away behind the Lodge top class amenities include:

  • 1,000 acres of private estate for hacking
  • Cross-country jumps from knee high to knee tremblers built by Willis Bros. of Badminton Horse Trials fame
  • 21 miles of bridleways for meandering along
  • Mile-long all-weather gallop
  • 56 stables
  • Virtual horse for beginners
  • 50m x 30m indoor arena with indoor cross-country fences
  • Tiered seating for 200 plus private dining/viewing room
  • Catering for all levels from 4 yrs upwards
  • 20 × 50 Dressage Arena
  • 30 × 20 Outdoor Ménage
  • Sand Gallops


Riding Programmes

Starter Pack/Learn to Ride in 5 Days 
For beginners or riders who wish to improve their riding skills whilst enjoying some gentle hacks around the Estate. Each rider will receive a series of lessons culminating in a 2 hour ride around the estate. This is a 6 day programme. 3 hours riding per day, 5 nights Bed & Full Irish Breakfast and a 2 course meal in Conor’s Bar each night 

Horse Sport
For the more experienced rider looking to improve their riding skills. This package incorporates a mix of show jumping, cross country, dressage & estate rides. This can be taken for 4 to 8 days. For example, on a 4 day programme: 3 hours riding per day, 3 nights Bed & Full Breakfast and a 2 course meal each night in Conor’s Bar.

Happy Hackers
Happy Hackers is for anyone who enjoys the simple pleasure exploring the countryside on horseback. This package involves daily estate rides. This can be taken for 4 to 8 days. For example, on a 4 day programme: 3 hours riding per day, 3 nights Bed & Full Breakfast and a choice of a 2 course meal each night in Conor’s Bar or a main course in Snaffles Restaurant.

Non-riders
The non-rider price advertised is for non-riders sharing a room with a rider.

Children
Child rates apply to child from 7 – 11 years only.

Riders who booked this ride also considered:
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A wonderful French chateau set in 100 acres of rolling grounds with on site stables and training centre. The riding is suitable for all abilities and levels wtih some super schoolmasters as well as very good tuition and facilities to explore the miles of rolling countryside interspersed with substantial woods.

Heart Of Tuscany - Italy 
Great combination of a beautiful setting, very comfortable accommodation, swimming pool, many other activities and combination of lessons and riding out for all levels of rider appeal to all members of the family.

Classical Equitation in Lisbon
Superb dressage tuition on beautiful Lusitano horses given by a Master Rider of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. There is no other way to learn!


Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

Round Ireland With A Fridge - Tony Hawks
Culture Shock! Ireland - Patricia Levy
Bushmills Irish Pub Guide - Sybil Taylor
The Dubliners - J.Joyce
Mother Ireland - Edna O’ Brien
Barrytown Trilogy - R. Doyle
Woodbrook - David Thomson.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There is a wide range of top quality horses available to choose from. Schoolmasters are available for beginners and some top class cross-country horses with experience are available for improvers and better riders. Facilities include: 1000 acres of private estate, cross-country jumps from knee high to knee tremblers built by Willis Bros (of Badminton Horse Trials fame), 21 miles of bridleways for meandering along mile-long all-weather gallop, 56 stables, Virtual horse for beginners, 50m x 30m indoor arena with indoor cross-country fences Tiered seating for 200 plus private dining/viewing room Catering for all levels from 4 yrs upwards The tack used is English and riding style English.


Rider requirements

Riders of all abilities are catered for here with instruction and riding tailored to the level of ability of the rider. Qualified instructors assess the riders ability before planning the riding programme. The minimum riding age for this programme is 7 years.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 224 lb/102 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

There are three options for accommodation at Castle Leslie to match different budgets.

Located right at the entrance to the estate, the charming Lodge has been carefully restored to offer guests everything they need for complete comfort and relaxation. The Lodge is known as one of the most charming hotels in Ireland and located 10 minutes from Monaghan. It has a cut-stone stable courtyard that retains its original character. It is a family-friendly venue full of local character. The Lodge boasts 29 bedrooms, Victorian Treatment Rooms, cosy Cellar bar and contemporary restaurant. The Equestrian Centre is tucked behind the Lodge making it an ideal base for horse-lovers. When it's time to relax, drop by the Victorian Treatment Rooms and let the therapists massage your aching muscles after an exhilarating day's riding or just because you deserve it. Booking in advance is recommended for the Spa.



For a more relaxed experience, guests might wish to stay in the Old Stable Mews or the Village Cottages. These have the convenience of hotel service combined with the comfort of private luxury home rental. The Old Stable Mews offer a private 2-bedroom accommodation set in a picturesque cut-stone courtyard only 15 minutes’ walk from the castle. Each Mews has living and dining areas, a Geneva guild bathroom, complimentary WiFi, flatscreen television, a fully equipped playroom for children, tea and coffee making facilities and a fully equipped kitchen. Guests can choose to cater for themselves or make use of the restaurants on site. Food supplies can be delivered directly to your kitchen on request. A minimum of 2 adults are required for booking a Mews.



The Village Cottages are beautifully decorated houses offering 4 and 5 bedroom luxury accommodation in the nearby village of Glaslough, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the estate. Built around the village square and green, each cottage offers comfortable and spacious living with an open fire, TV, DVD player, complimentary WiFi, an open plan kitchen, en suite master bedrooms, additional family bathroom and downstairs toilet. . Guests can choose to cater for themselves or make use of the restaurants on site. Food supplies can be delivered directly to your kitchen on request. A minimum of 4 adults are required to book a Cottage.



Wireless internet access is now available in all public areas in the Lodge. Meals can be enjoyed at Snaffles Restaurant for around £80 per person for a five-course meal. Enjoy delicious meals and an extensive wine list with a wonderful view of ancient woodland. Set on a mezzanine floor, the open-plan restaurant is light and spacious with its dramatic hand-carved ceiling and robust oak beams blending effortlessly with a striking wall of contemporary glass. The delicious menu uses the highest quality local ingredients without compromising on taste and choice. Offering a fresh approach to Mediterranean cuisine, food is cooked in the state-of-the-art wood-burning stone oven. This healthy style of cuisine complements the wellness concepts of our Victorian Treatment Rooms. Alternatively unwind at Conor’s Bar & Lounge - The social hub of the Estate, brings locals and guests together in an atmosphere of conviviality and comfort. It is the ideal place to relax with a pint of Guinness. Guests can enjoy casual dining in Conor’s Bar & Lounge with traditional country home cooking. With a variety of dishes served throughout the day, there’s something to suit all guests from hungry horse-riders and starving walking-enthusiasts to health-conscious guests on a breather between treatments. Guests can unwind here after an activity-filled day while enjoying a 2 or 3 course meal and relaxed conversation with family and friends. Or retreat to a cosy corner with the newspaper or a good book.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ireland

In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Ireland.html


In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/ireland

Climate Summary

Spring, summer and autumn is generally a good time to visit and the days are sunny and warm. Be aware that it can rain at any time!

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Ireland and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

There are no particular health issues for this holiday.

Electricity

In Ireland the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Ireland, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 - 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

As mainland UK. Mobile phone signal should not be a problem. Contact your supplier for network coverage

Packing List

Light summer clothing is needed on summer departure dates, also waterproofs! You need a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly. A body protector is also required if you're participating in any jumping. Two pairs of riding trousers, half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket (Spring and Autumn), shorts, long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, waterproofs, sun block, camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt, binoculars lightweight riding boots. And don’t forget the waterproofs!

Riding hats, body protectors and boots can be borrowed from the Equestrian Centre.

Programmes

There are different programmes available to cater for all levels of ability and interest and these are available all year round.

Departure Dates

2024: Sunday's on request all year around.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.

Non-rider and child prices available - please ask your travel consultant for details

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,049
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge479
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge1,705
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge569
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge1,705
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge569
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,049
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge479
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge Room 1,705
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge569
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,155
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge529
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3Child under 12 sharing Lodge1,155
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,199
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge549
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge1,949
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge649
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge1,949
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge649
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,215
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge559
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge Room 1,949
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge649
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,319
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge605
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3Child under 12 sharing Lodge1,319
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,365
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge625
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge2,219
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge739
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge2,219
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge739
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,365
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge625
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge Room 2,219
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge739
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge1,505
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge689
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3Child under 12 sharing Lodge1,505
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge14,469
2024 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge6,635
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge23,509
2024 Happy Hacker 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge7,839
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge23,509
2024 Horse Sport 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge7,839
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge14,469
2024 Horse Sport 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge6,635
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5double pp Lodge Room 23,509
2024 Starter Pack 5n6d/5n5single supplement Lodge7,839
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3double pp Lodge15,915
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3single supplement Lodge7,295
2025 Happy Hacker 3n4d/3n3Child under 12 sharing Lodge15,915
Additional Night Pricing
  No of days/nights Product item description £
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightdouble pp345
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightsingle supplement115
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightChild under 12285
  No of days/nights Product item description
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightdouble pp395
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightsingle supplement135
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightChild under 12325
  No of days/nights Product item description US $
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightdouble pp445
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightsingle supplement149
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightChild under 12365
  No of days/nights Product item description SEK
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightdouble pp4,705
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightsingle supplement1,569
2024 Extra night for ridersper nightChild under 123,849
Recommended Reading

‘Around Ireland with a Fridge’ – Pete McCarthy; ‘Culture Shock! Ireland’ –Patricia Levy; ‘Irish Pub Guide’, ‘Dubliners’-J.Joyce; ‘Mother Ireland’ – Edna O’ Brien; ‘Barrytown Triology’- R. Doyle and ‘Woodbrook’ –D. Thomson. For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com


Other Activities

- Fishing on the picturesque lake – some of the best pike fishing in Europe (fees apply)
- Relaxing in the Victorian Treatment Rooms complete with an outdoor hotub
- Strolling around the many country estate walks. On the Estate, in the village of Glaslough and in the local area, there are a whole host of exceptional walks from short jaunts to long leisurely strolls.
- Kayaking (fees apply)
- Clay Pigeon Shooting (fees apply)
- Falconry (fees apply)
- Golf. There are an abundance of golf courses situated close to Castle Leslie Estate.

Wildlife

Typical fauna of Ireland include: red squirrel, bank vole, wood mouse, European rabbit and Irish hare, European hedgehog, pygmy shrew, a variety of bats, dolphins, porpoises, red fox, mink, stoat, pine marten, badger, otter, seals, red deer, road deer, fallow deer and the bilberry goat.

Other Country Information

Ireland is a land of almost mythical beauty, often wild and windswept it is said there are fifty shades of green in the landscape but none of them are jaded. The Irish seem to have been put on the earth to restore faith in humanity, their charm and delight in spinning a good tale will entertain you for hours.

The pub culture in Ireland is part of the national identity. The folk music traditional has been unhindered here and live, spontaneous music is actively encouraged- you will often stumble across a raucous singalong fired by Guiness and whiskey. The ban on smoking in public places is now in force in Ireland and, with fines of up to €3,000 for ignoring it, a lively sub-culture can now be found on the pavements outside Irelands plentiful watering holes huddled against the often biting wind.

They are famed for their love and skill with horses, in racing Irish trainers and jockeys are among the best in the world, and the wild ponies of the Connemara in Galway crop up in many myths and legends in Irish folklore. In some areas you will often see kids messing around on horses with nothing but a headcollar and a handful of mane.

Ireland is on GMT and they use imperial weights and measures, so inches, feet, pounds and stones. The international dialling code is +353.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Castle Leslie
Transfer:
2024:Transfer rates quoted are from Dublin or Belfast airports and payable on site. 1 pax €170 pp each way. 2-5 pax €80 pp each way, 6+ pax €70 pp each way. You can also book a taxi privately. Transfer times are approximately 1 hour from Belfast, 1.5 hours from Dublin (subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London - Dublin/Belfast/Shannon from £50pp return
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