Ireland

Galway family holiday

Bring your loved ones on a centre-based horseback holiday in Ireland. This programme is tailored for riders up to an intermediate level and includes relaxing trail rides in Co. Galway, the gateway to Connemara, with up to 15-18 hours in the saddle per week (adult riders). You will stay in a comfortable eco-lodge and discover a "home away from home" in Ireland. Children as young as 5 year old are also welcome to the centre, making this an ideal choice for your next family riding holiday.
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Centre based holidays
8 days (5 riding)
From £930
Family holidays
from 5 y.o
Open to non-riders
  • Family enjoying a picnic in Ireland
    Take your family on a riding holiday in Ireland
  • Trail riding in the saddle
    Discover Ireland on horseback
  • Riding holiday in Ireland
    Enjoy gentle rolling landscapes and Irish horses!
  • Horses relaxing at a riding centre in Ireland
    A relaxing place for people and horses
  • Rider going cross country in Galway
    Swap one of your trail rides a cross-country lesson
  • Horse in the stables in ireland
    The stables have retained an authentic feel
  • Natural horsemanship in Ireland
    The horses are trained in the Pat Parelli ethos
  • Eco-lodge at Slieve Aughty Centre
    The main eco-lodge

Itinerary

Highlights

- A beautiful riding centre in the West of Ireland and the gateway to Connemara.
- Lovely local trails with the option to engage in other activities - hiking, cycling, fishing etc.
- Delicious organic food and sustainable accommodation options.
- A family-run equestrian centre committed to producing minimal environmental impact.
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - IRELAND

    Slieve Aughty Eco-Lodge
    Arrival and departure day is Saturday. The closest airport is Shannon airport, but you can also fly to Dublin or Cork (international airports). From there, you can rent a car or use public transportation to get to Loughrea, Co. Galway, where we can arrange your transfer to the riding centre. Please contact us for details.

    New guests have time to settle into their accommodations, meet other guests, visit the horses, and relax after their journey. In the evening, you will have your first dinner at the Lodge. All ingredients are purchased from organic sellers or grown right there in the centre's beautiful garden.

    Overnight at the lodge.
  • Day 2 2 : SLIEVE AUGHTY CENTRE - Approx. 2 hours riding

    Slieve Aughty Eco-Lodge
    Sunday is a relaxing day, beginning with a late breakfast. At 12:00 guests and staff introduce themselves, tour the stables and guest buildings, meet the horses. It is a good time to ask questions! In the afternoon, it is time for your first ride to explore the surrounding area. Each rider prepares his or her own horse. This introductory ride is an easy two hour trek through the forest to get to know the horses and the countryside.

    Important: this 7 day package includes daily rides up to 15-18 riding hours for adults, and 10-12 hours for children. Children will be looked after by the staff while the adults enjoy their extra riding time (pony painting, arts and crafts, stable management, etc).

    Please note: it is possible to stay for two weeks. Guests staying more than 1 week will not ride on Sunday to give the horses a rest from the hard work they do all week. Other options include a visit to Dartfield Horse Museum, swimming at the lake, golfing, walking with a donkey, or relaxing with a good book.
  • Day 3 3 : SLIEVE AUGHTY CENTRE - Approx. 3 hours riding

    Slieve Aughty Eco-Lodge
    On Monday morning, the weekly routine begins. The board outside the locker room is updated daily with the riding plan and can be checked to find out what horse or pony guests are assigned for the day.
  • Day 4 4 : SLIEVE AUGHTY CENTRE - Approx. 3 hours riding

    Slieve Aughty Eco-Lodge
    Upon arrival at the stable after breakfast, guests go riding, or have free time, depending on their individual schedule. Riding is normally a trek. For those who wish to shake up the routine a little, one lesson will be scheduled within the week, and natural horsemanship or other activities are often offered in place of treks if guests wish to do something different.
  • Day 5 5 : SLIEVE AUGHTY CENTRE - Approx. 3 hours riding

    Slieve Aughty Eco-Lodge
    The riding centre is surrounded by more than 2,000 acres of forestry and quiet country lanes. On your trail rides, you will pass under the shelter of tall trees, through gentle flowing streams, and over scenic country roads, each day exploring different areas on horseback.
  • Day 6 6 : SLIEVE AUGHTY CENTRE - Approx. 4-5 hours riding

    Slieve Aughty Eco-Lodge
    Each week, the centre organises a day ride. This is lovely ride through some of Ireland’s most beautiful countryside. The ride begins at 12:00 and arrives at a lush field where riders and horses rest and have a delicious picnic lunch. You will ride back to the centre for around 18:00, on time for a shower and dinner.
  • Day 7 7 : SLIEVE AUGHTY CENTRE - No riding

    Slieve Aughty Eco-Lodge
    On Friday, there is an additional option to take advantage of the local bus to nearby Galway, a lively coastal city on Ireland’s west coast. Typically the bus leaves from Loughrea at 12:30 and returns at 19:00 for the Friday evening Pizza Party. The bus fare to Galway and lunch are not included in the riding holiday programme and are therefore at own cost. Of course, guests with their own transportation can take a day off riding anytime to go on a tour of Connemara, the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Aran Islands, Bunratty Castle, etc. We would be happy to advise about nearby “must sees”.
  • Day 8 8 : Departure

    You will be taken back to the station in Loughrea after breakfast.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights are not included

- Transfers can be arranged from the bus station in Loughrea (€12 based on a shared taxi, payable locally). Bus to Loughrea for all airports: http://www.buseireann.ie
We would recommend you rent a car from one of the international airports and make your own way to the centre. Airport transfers can be arranged on request, based on two people sharing: Shannon airport €140 per person, Dublin €180 per person.
2020 transfer rates have not been confirmed and are subject to change.

- There is a single supplement of £170 (€190) if you end up in a single room. This will be added to your invoice and refunded if a sharer is found for you.

- Children aged 5-12 yrs benefit from a reduced rate: €875/£770.


Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 or 2 BHS qualified instructor(s)

Logistic

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle

Accommodation

Double or twin room at the eco-lodge

Meals

Full board from dinner on the first day to lunch on the last day, except for one day when lunch is to your own account if you decide to go to Galway or explore further.

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverage and personal extra

Transports

Airport transfers or transfers from Loughrea (sea "dates and prices")
International flights bookable on request

Extra

Tips to local team

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement
  • March - April 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    04/04/2020 11/04/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    11/04/2020 18/04/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    18/04/2020 25/04/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    25/04/2020 02/05/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • May - June 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    02/05/2020 09/05/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    09/05/2020 16/05/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    16/05/2020 23/05/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    23/05/2020 30/05/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    30/05/2020 06/06/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    06/06/2020 13/06/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    13/06/2020 20/06/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    20/06/2020 27/06/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    27/06/2020 04/07/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • July - August 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    04/07/2020 11/07/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    11/07/2020 18/07/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    18/07/2020 25/07/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    25/07/2020 01/08/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    01/08/2020 08/08/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    08/08/2020 15/08/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    15/08/2020 22/08/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    22/08/2020 29/08/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    29/08/2020 05/09/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • September - October 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    05/09/2020 12/09/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    12/09/2020 19/09/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    19/09/2020 26/09/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    26/09/2020 03/10/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    03/10/2020 10/10/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    10/10/2020 17/10/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    17/10/2020 24/10/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    24/10/2020 31/10/2020 £930 Guaranteed departure Book now
    31/10/2020 07/11/2020 £930 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

You will find a herd of around 25 horses and ponies, mostly Irish breeds (Connemara, Irish Cob, Irish Sport Horse). All are well looked after and are kept out all year round. There are horses for every level and each rider will find its match.

Rider weight limit: 90 kg / 14,1 st/ 198 lbs

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

This holiday is open to riders of varied abilities. Guests will be taken out in groups of similar abilities. This is a relaxing riding holiday suited to people looking for peace and relaxation.

Novices riders are welcome to book additional lessons in the arena at an extra cost. Please note that more experienced riders can swap one of their trail rides for a jumping or cross-country lesson.

Children are welcome from age 4, but the itinerary may differ to accommodate them. Please note riding hours for the children are shorter than for the adults.

Pace

The trails are relaxed to include all three paces in the forests and countryside around the centre.

Tacking ability and participation

All riders are expected to groom and tack/untack their horses. You are welcome to help catch the horses from the field in the morning and feed them, but this is entirely up to you!

Trip conditions and Requested experience

No specific previous experience is necessary, although those with some previous experience will make the most out of this holiday.

Equestrian equipment

English tack. Some bitless bridles.

Helmets are mandatory and we recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit. Body protectors are mandatory on the cross-country course.

Travel info

Comfort

Accommodation at the eco-lodge and eco-house, in double or twin rooms. Triple rooms and family cottages are also available on request.

Bedrooms are large and individually designed, with natural materials.
Tea and coffee is readily available at the bar.
Please note that in keeping with the centre's ethos, you will find no TV in your room. WiFi access is available in public areas.

Meals

All ingredients are locally sourced and even home-grown in Esther's beautiful garden. The restaurant at Slieve Aughty has received an organic certification, and is one of the only certified restaurants in Ireland!
Breakfast: homemade bread, eggs, cold meats, cheese, cereals and porridge. All organic.
Lunch: Garden salads, bread, cheese, soup, pasta salad, homemade cakes
Dinner: An assortment of dishes including soup, bread, salads, lasagna, apple crumble. On Fridays, the centre runs a "Pizza party" using their stone oven for all the guests (in the summer and weather dependent).

Water, tea, coffee and apple juice are complimentary throughout your stay. Soft drinks, wine, beer, and spirits are all available at the bar.

Climate

Galway has an oceanic climate which is changeable and can be wet. In Spring the temperatures range from 8-12c. April is particularly pleasant. In summer (May-July) the highest average temperatures are 18-20c, whilst in Autumn (Aug - Oct) the temperatures range from 14-18c. September is considered to be mild and temperate. The coldest months are January and February and sometimes temperatures drop below zero. Snow is rare, but there can be heavy rainfall at any time of year.

Guide and local team

The centre is family-owned and operated, and has been open since 1986. Your hosts are Esther and her daughter Merel, who manage the property to create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere where guests feel like part of the family. Your riding guides are Dylan, Marie and Danielle, all BHS qualified and great company on the trail.

Tips

Tips are left to your discretion.

Packing list

Head
- Helmets are mandatory. Your riding hat must comply with the official regulations (fixed peaks are not acceptable when cross-country jumping).

Upper Body
The weather can be very unpredictable in Ireland so we recommend bringing tops you can wear in layers, T-shirts, sweatshirts and vests etc.

- Body protector (if jumping)
- Half or long-sleeved cotton shirts (to provide protection from the sun) or T-shirt in a quick-drying material
- A light raincoat that you are comfortable in
- A lightweight fleece or jumper
- A swimsuit

Legs
- 2 pairs of jodhpurs or riding trousers
- 1-2 pairs of trousers suitable for dinner at the Conor's bar
- Cotton or synthetic underwear (non-irritant)

Hands and feet
- Short jodhpur boots and half chaps are the best option as they are much cooler and easier to transport, but if you are used to riding in your long boots and want to wear them this is fine.
- Lightweight shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves

Other useful items
- Toiletries
- Small medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor (at least 30+)
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..

Our Recommendations
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (passport, camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- Any liquids in your hold luggage, such as shampoo, moisturizer, over 100ml should be decanted into small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- In your hand luggage take any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Travelling in your boots/ hiking shoes and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in you hand luggage is highly recommended - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Visa & Health

Formalities

British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Visas
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Ireland

The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Please visit for the FCO website for up-to-date information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ireland/entry-requirements

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade de la République d'Irlande
    4 rue Rude
    75116 Paris
    Tél. : 01 44 17 67 00
    Fax : 01 44 17 67 60
    paris@dfa.ie
  • Ambassade à l'étranger
    66 Fitzwilliam Lane
    Dublin
    Tél. : 353 (1) 277 50 00
    Fax : 353 (1) 277 50 01
    admin-francais.dublin-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr
  • Ambassade d'Irlande
    Kirchenfeldstrasse 68
    3005 Bern
    Tél. : +41 31 352 14 42/43
    Fax : +41 31 352 14 55
    berneembassy(at)dfa.ie
  • Ambassade d'Irlande
    89/93 Rue Froissart
    1040 Bruxelles
    Tél. : (02) 230 53 37
    Fax : (02) 230 53 12

Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Ireland. The country has a relatively good public health infrastucture, with hospitals, generally good doctors and widely available medicines etc.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

The electrical supply in Ireland is 230v 50hz. The plugs and sockets are a three-pronged formation, the same as those used in the United Kingdom. If your appliances operate on a different current you will need a power converter and plug adapter.

Budget and money

Ireland has adopted the Euro (ISO code: EUR, symbol: €) as its official currency. One Euro is divided into 100 cents, which is sometimes referred to as eurocents, especially when distinguishing them with the US cents.
Euro banknotes come in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. The highest three denominations are rarely used in everyday transactions. All Euro banknotes have a common design for each denomination on both sides throughout the Eurozone.
The Euro coins are 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, €1 and €2. Some countries in the Eurozone have law which requires cash transactions to be rounded to the nearest 5 cents. All Euro coins have a common design on the denomination (value) side, while the opposite side may have a different image from one country to another. Although the image side may be different, all Euro coins remain legal tender throughout the Eurozone.
Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted, though American Express can be a bit harder.

Telephone and jetlag

The telephone dialling code is +353
Ireland is in the same time zone as the UK, so GMT.