Combine visiting ancient Irish castles and monastic ruins with guided trail rides through Irish bogs, fields and local farmland.

Based at a comfortable farmhouse with indivdually decorated ensuite rooms riders will enjoy a half day riding each morning in different directions and visiting castles and monastic ruins in the afternoons. This includes the impressive Portumna Castle which was the seat of the Earl of Clanricarde and Pallas castle - one of the best preserved tower houses and castle grounds of the 14th century. It also includes a boat ride to Holy Island on the river Shannon to explore the ruins of one of Ireland’s most important monastic settlements. The last day is a full day ride where will a ride to a 5,000 year old Celtic tomb.

Accommodation is in a charming farm house with individually decorated ensuite rooms.

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Day 1 - Saturday
Arrival in Shannon Airport and transfer (if booked) to the riding centre. The transfer from Shannon to Whitegate takes approx. two hours. You will be staying here for 5 nights.
On the arrival day you can just relax and recover from your journey, or take a stroll on the well sign-posted nearby walking trails. 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 riding centre by candlelight and open turf fire.

Day 2 - Sunday
After breakfast we will go out to the horses and every rider can then get used to their own horse for the next days by brushing and tacking up themselves - don’t worry there are always lots of helping hands around you!
Our first ride (2 ½ hours) takes us along forest tracks and country lanes, passed abandoned farms of the 18 th century famine times.
After lunch you will be driven to nearby Mountshannon harbour, from where you will visit Holy Island by boat. Pilgrims travelled to this island until the mid-19th century. You will see the ruins of five churches, early monastic cells, a pre-12th century cemetery and a round tower. After this visit you will have time for a stroll through the village and drop into the pub for a glass of porter ;))
Back to the riding centre for a delicious dinner

Day 3 - Monday
On today’s ride (2 ½ hours) you will ride into the hills of the Slieve Aughty Mountains and enjoy fascinating views over the majestic River Shannon.
In the afternoon you will get to visit the Portumna workhouse museum, where the poor and destitute took shelter many years ago during the famine times.
You will also visit the impressive Portumna Castle of the 17th century with it’s beautifully restored walled garden. The 4th Earl of Clanricade built this Renaissance castle and lived a lavish life here. You will also have time for shopping in the town or enjoy another Irish pub.
Relax by the peat fire and a traditional home cooked dinner back at the riding centre.

Day 4 - Tuesday
This morning’s ride (2 ½ hours) will take you on quiet tracks through Ireland’s beautiful rural countryside.
This afternoon’s visit will bring you to the secluded ruins of Pallas castle, one of the best preserved tower-houses and walled castle grounds of the Irish gentry in the 14th century. In the evening you will enjoy your dinner again at the riding centre.

Day 5 - Wednesday
Today is a full day ride. The 2 ½ hour morning ride brings us across the magical landscape of bog and heather. We will have our lunch picnic out on the trail, where we meet our minibus with all the supplies for horses & riders.
On the 2 hour afternoon ride we will pass by a typical Celtic dolmen, which is believed to be 5,000 years old. The ride will finish on a field where the horses are happily turned out. Tonight is the final dinner in the comfy atmosphere of the riding centre.

Day 6 - Thursday
After breakfast it is time to say “slan abhaile” and to get ready for the transfer (if booked) back to Shannon.


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 variety of Irish bred horses and something to suit everyone, from schoolmasters to very forward going mounts. All are ridden in English tack. You are welcome to bring your own saddle although there is no guarantee that you can use it, it depends of course on the adaptability of the saddle and the fit on the horse you will be riding.



There is a small amount of walking with your horse due to terrain, so good boots are an advantage.


Rider requirements

You must be comfortable at all paces. The minimum age for this ride is 12 years old.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 188 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

You will stay overnight at the comfortable farmhouse at the riding centre in individually decorated ensuite rooms.



Breakfasts can be either the 'full Irish' or continental; picnic lunches are prepared each day ready for the rider to take with them. Evening meals will be back at the farmhouse where you stay overnight.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year 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 on request.

General information:

Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.

The British Embassy in Ireland is at 29 Merrion Road, Dublin 4. Tel: +353 (01) 2053700. Email: management.dubli@fco.gov.uk.

The Embassy of Ireland in the U.K can be found at 17 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7HR. Telephone: (020) 7235 2171.

Climate Summary

Mild, but changeable, due to the modifying effect of the North Atlantic Drift ocean current; rainfall is plentiful, although highest in the west.The weather is very similar to the UK's in that it could be wet and warm or cold and bright any day in the season. It's best to bring clothes that can be layered and a good waterproof jacket.

Climate Chart

Health

No special health precautions are required for visits to Ireland, for further details please see your local doctor.

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org

Health (ride specific)

None specific

Electricity

Voltage and plugs are the same as the UK.

Film and Camera Equipment

3G and 4G mobile phone reception is widespread, Wi-Fi is available at the farmhouse and electricity for charging cameras and phones is available each night with adaptors as necessary.

Packing List

Light summer clothing is needed on summer departure dates, also waterproofs!

Riding helmets are required. The hosts do have some helmets available for guest use.

Two pairs of riding trousers, half chaps are recommended
Riding gloves
Jersey, warm jacket (Spring and Autumn)
Shorts
Long sleeve shirts, T-shirts
Waterproofs (no rain capes, please, as they can flap and spook the horses!)
Sun block
Camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt
Binoculars
Lightweight riding boots. There is a small amount of walking with your horse due to terrain, so good boots are an advantage.

A small bag/bumbag for carrying items whilst riding, or you can bring your own saddlebags.

Programmes

This is an 6 day/5 night programme with 4 days riding available on selected Saturdays from April to mid October.

Departure Dates

2022: 11, 25 Jun; 9, 23 Jul; 6, 20 Aug; 3, 10, 17, 24 Sept; 8, 15 Oct.
Other dates available on request for groups of 4 or more.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20226d/5n4double pp975
20226d/5n4non-rider705
20226d/5n4single supplement109
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20226d/5n4double pp1,125
20226d/5n4non-rider815
20226d/5n4single supplement125
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20226d/5n4double pp1,225
20226d/5n4non-rider889
20226d/5n4single supplement139
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20226d/5n4double pp12,295
20226d/5n4non-rider8,909
20226d/5n4single supplement1,369
Recommended Reading

‘Around Ireland with a Fridge’ – Tony Hawks; ‘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

Walking; cycling; fishing; boat hire (on Lough Derg and the River Shannon); golf.

Wildlife

The diverse landscape offers great shelter and plenty of food supply for a large variety of animals. The common ones as deer, fox, hare and pheasant can often be spotted from the horse. More difficult to find are the badger and the pine martin. Ireland's large bird population is evident where ever you go. And if you are lucky you could even see some, like the grouse, which are getting dangerously close to extinction.

The showy butterflies with up to 30 species dance through the summer air.

The abundance of lakes and rivers in Ireland attract course and game anglers alike. Often you can spot the pike lying in the shallow waters, taking in the heat of the summer sun. In the clear waters the lively Salmon and Trout challenge every anglers skill.
The peat or bog land is one of Ireland’s great natural assets, not only as an energy source, but as some of its last wild areas. It can be difficult and dangerous to access. But as long as you stay on the old bog roads you will be alright. In some places you could even spot the Celtic toughers still crossing the bogs.

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):
Shannon Airport (SNN) or hotel
Transfer:
2022: €35 per person each way, €40 after 8pm. Transfer time is approx 1.5 hours. Transfer fee is payable on-site.
Flight Guide:
London - Shannon from £50 return. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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