Explore some of the last parts of Ireland that remain unspoiled and as wild today as they were 500 years ago – this is the place of endless beach riding, rugged landscapes and friendly Irish folk everywhere you turn!
Situated on the shores of Sheephaven Bay, in the beautiful village of Dunfanaghy, your base for the week of fast and fresh riding is the Arnolds Hotel. The super fun rides explore the most north-westerly part of this rugged island of Ireland taking you through an amazing variety of terrain, high into the mountains, galloping over isolated beaches and meandering through regions where Irish is still the first language. Almost from the start, you will be eternally bonded to the magnificent beauty of this region, never to be forgotten.
This ride has everything you want in a superb equestrian vacation – Grade A accommodation, exquisite cuisine, engaging and knowledgeable guides and of course superb Irish horses – this is an essential equestrian experience for everyone with a love of horses and the outdoors!
Dates: May 16-23, May 23-30, June 6-13, June 20-27, July 4-11, Aug. 22-29, Sept. 4-11, Sept. 26-Oct. 3
Rates: In USD, Per person sharing. May 16-23 – $1,825.00 per person, May 23-June 27 and Sept. 4-Oct. 3 – $1,925.00 per person July 4-Aug. 29 – $2,010.00
(Single Supplement: $275.00 USD, Superior Room Upgrade: $275.00 USD)
***Non rider price (sharing with a rider): May 16-23 – $950.00 USD, May 23-June 27 and Sept. 4-Oct. 3 – 985.00USD, July 4-Aug. 29 -$1,050.00 USD)
- 7 nights accommodation
- 5 days of guided trail riding
- Daily breakfast, 7 gourmet dinners, 5 packed lunches
- Horse and all tack
- All local taxes
- Travel Insurance (REQUIRED)
- Transfers to/from the airport
- 1 Lunch
- Gratuities for the team at the end of the stay
You will arrive at Arnold's Hotel, where you will meet your hosts Derek and Gerarda Arnold. After check in, you can relax and explore the village or simply unwind with a gentle stroll along Killahoey Strand just a few minutes walk from the hotel.
The quaint whitewashed yard of Dunfanaghy Stables is literally up the garden path beside the old Lookout Tower. Call up to the Stables and meet Helen and the welcoming staff who will introduce you to your horse which Helen has selected for you from the information you have provided.
In the evening you will enjoy dinner at your leisure, complemented by fine wines in the Tramore Restaurant overlooking Sheephaven Bay and Horn Head.
After breakfast, stroll through the magnificent gardens of Arnold's Hotel and meet your horse and guide at the stables (if you haven’t done so yesterday), conveniently located in the hotel grounds. The morning is given over to assessment to ensure each rider and horse is suitably matched.
After all are comfortable, you’ll head out for an hour of fun riding on the beach followed by a second hour ambling up an incline skirting the forest to the top of Horn Head allowing the rider to soak in the beautiful scenery and panoramic views of Sheephaven Bay and its wonderful patchwork of rugged coastline and sandy secluded strands. The Derryveagh Mountain Range with impressive Muckish Mountain and Mount Errigal, Portnablagh and the charming coastal village of Dunfanaghy itself all surround you and welcome you to this engaging northwestern part of Ireland.
Note: This ride is permitted by the tide as you need to be able to cross the bay to reach Horn Head, so starting times may vary. Return to Arnold's Hotel for lunch and then a free afternoon.
Leaving the coast for a day, with a packed lunch, you head towards the impressive Muckish Mountain. Traversing old tracks built one hundred and fifty years ago during the famine, you make your way into the eerie silence - only horses can use the tracks as they were originally built for them. Today they are overgrown but serve our purpose very well.
As you get closer to this mountain, you come into the now dismantled Falcarragh-Burtonport railway, made famous by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in the film 'The Railway Man'. The surface is ideal for long canters. After lunch you will cross three rivers by means of ancient fjords. You’ll hack amid a patchwork of stonewalls and quiet country lanes, taking you in the direction of Errarooey, where the horses overnight in a green pasture.
The horses have one of the most awe inspiring wild views in the country, (although they don’t appear to realize it as they happily munch on the sweet grass after a long day), they overlook the Atlantic, heavenly golden beaches and Tory Island, the legendary Kingdom of the Celtic cyclops Balor of the Evil Eye.
This is a fun and full day, after which you return to Arnold's Hotel for a well deserved dinner and overnight.
After a hearty Irish breakfast you are reunited with your horse who has a belly full of summer's sweet grass at Errarooey. Tidal and weather conditions permitting, the day starts with another long memorable canter on the beach.
Today's ride is a contrast from the wild and remote heather clad hills as you experience the diversity of the countryside. You will walk past old farm buildings, along a small twisty country lane with grass growing in the middle of it to get to some rough pasture and farmland by the sea. The ride clings to the hillside as you cross a high headland, the intense beauty of the Atlantic Ocean and the high rocky cliffs on either side of you - as you turn a corner the view of Tramore beach below is an unforgettable sight.
As you descend, the anticipation of the canter on the beach is felt by all. Cantering along the waters edge as the waves crash is long awaited. You’ll have worked up a great appetite and so happily return to Arnold's for a well deserved lunch.
Day Five is yours to relax and unwind, with plenty of things to do in Dunfanaghy, why not take a stroll around the village and visit The Workhouse and the variety of exclusive Irish Craft shops all within walking distance of the hotel?
If you enjoy walking, you can choose from the many beautiful local walks in the area from the publication 'Rambles in Dunfanaghy' which is available at reception. We can also arrange fishing trips, bicycle hire with a local map and suggested routes, which will allow you to explore some of the scenic spots around Sheephaven Bay and Horn Head. If you would prefer a leisurely round of golf around the breathtaking scenery of Dunfanaghy Links Course, just five minutes from the hotel, we can also arrange this for you.
The village has several specialty shops for you to browse through at your leisure. The Tweed 'n' Fashion/Crafts Shop has a fine selection of quality Irish garments and crafts for sale as well as a fine range of Irish made Chutneys, Jams and Irish made chocolates.
Today the trail ride takes you through meandering country lanes bordered by weathered stonewalls, overlooking the indescribable view of Sheephaven Bay.
With Port na Blagh (the Port of Many Colours) picturesquely sheltered against the Atlantic.
You’ll have another exhilerating canter along the strand at Marble Hill to open up your lungs and get your adrenaline moving. As the ride progresses through the day,you leave behind the coastal scene and approach the rugged expanse of the Derryveagh Mountains.
You’ll ride under the shadow of the mighty Muckish Mountain and its foothills, where the Golden Eagle reigns supreme. From there you’ll follow abandoned railway tracks through the wilderness with nothing but sheep to block the way.
And then, cap your fun riding day off by descending out of the mountains returning to the coast, to arrive home just in time for dinner.
As you saddle up for the final day of the Trail Ride, mixed emotions overcome the group. You’ll head back over to the ever stretching strand of Tramore - a wild and windswept affair that impresses those who make the journey. It’s one last glance of the natural beauty of Donegal as you hear the final thunder of your horses hooves across Tramore's golden sand.