Ride Overview - Dublin Horse Show and County Wicklow Ride
Enjoy the Dublin Horse Show and ride across the heart of Ireland’s horse country! This 7-day custom-curated riding holiday gives a taste of lively Dublin city, the world-famous Dublin Horseshow, County Wicklow’s majestic Powerscourt Gardens & Estate and stunning Co. Kildare. Luxurious accommodations, stunning scenery and exclusive riding access to iconic sites along Northern Ireland’s magnificent Causeway Coast are provided. Game of Thrones fans will have an opportunity to ride to Ballintoy Harbour, the setting for the Iron Islands and Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke. Included in this horseback riding vacation is a taste of lively Dublin, County Wicklow’s majestic Powerscourt Gardens, the famous Irish National Stud and the beautiful Japanese Gardens. Non-riders can enjoy golf at the famous Royal Portrush while the riders traverse the trails. A memorable adventure on the Emerald Isle! RIDE IN IRELAND
Ride Itinerary - Dublin Horse Show and County Wicklow Ride
Upon arrival at Dublin Airport, collect your bags and head to the arrivals hall where you’ll be welcomed by your driver/guide and safely transported into Dublin’s city centre. An icon in a city of greats, The Westbury Hotel surrounds its guests in luxurious style, placing them at the very center of the city’s social and cultural riches. An iconic Dublin hotel, The Westbury occupies a prime position between Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green, Europe’s grandest garden square–perfectly located for exploring the most exciting sides of Dublin. At its front doorstep lies Grafton Street–renowned for its color, street artists and luxury shopping; whilst Dublin’s ‘Creative Quarter’, a vibrant network of streets filled with lively bars, restaurants and quirky stores runs behind the hotel. The afternoon is at your leisure—relax at the hotel or explore this vibrant city. Take in sites such as Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, experience the Connoisseur Tour at Guinness Storehouse or treat yourself by indulging in a Dublin institution: a sumptuous afternoon tea in the Gallery of the Westbury Hotel! This evening, head out and experience one of Dublin’s many fabulous restaurants or perhaps take in an Irish Cabaret—complete with ballad band, champion Irish dancers and a three-course traditional Irish dinner. Hotel: The Westbury, Dublin
After a leisurely breakfast, escape the bustle of the city and head south for an exciting day in the Irish countryside. Your first stop today is County Wicklow, “The Garden of Ireland,” 40- minutes from Dublin where you’ll visit the world famous, Powerscourt Estate, home to the world’s most spectacular gardens. Set against the backdrop of the Sugarloaf Mountain, Powerscourt Gardens are a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statuary and ornamental lakes with secret hollows, rambling walks, and walled gardens, with over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs. Inspiration for the garden design followed visits to ornamental gardens at the Palace of Versailles, Schönbrunn Palace near Vienna, and Schwetzingen Castle near Heidelberg. From the ornate Italian gardens, to the formal walks of the Rose Garden and kitchen gardens, there is plenty to see and explore. Next, you’ll head towards Glendalough (the Glen of Two Lakes) one of the most important sites of monastic ruins in Ireland where you’ll visit St. Kevins Church and the Round tower– but first stopping for lunch at The Wicklow Heather, idyllically situated in the picturesque village of Laragh deep in the Wicklow Mountains. From Glendalough you’ll head to Irish National Stud & Gardens—one of Ireland’s true treasures. This world-renowned stud farm is the home of equine royalty—stallions can be seen and admired alongside mares, frolicking foals and athletic yearlings. See retired equine stars like Vintage Crop, Moscow Flyer or Kicking King on the stud’s ‘Living Legend’s team and learn the history of horseracing in the horse museum where upon entering are greeted by the skeleton of Arkle, arguably the world’s greatest racehorse in the world! Enjoy a stroll around the Japanese Gardens and Millennium Gardens before returning to Dublin for your evening and overnight. Hotel: The Westbury, Dublin
After breakfast your driver/guide will bring you to the world-famous Dublin Horseshow. Since it was first held in 1864, the Dublin Horse Show has become a Dublin institution–A celebration of Ireland’s affinity with the horse–from the best show horses to the best international show jumpers—the show is a great place of action! International competitions taking place include the Land Rover Puissance, The Longines International Grand Prix and a Hunt Chase! You can shop ‘til you drop with over 300 trade stands selling everything from riding apparel & tack to jewelry & home décor—no doubt, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
After breakfast, your driver/guide will safely transport you to Ireland’s stunning north coast to the award- winning McKinley Family farm located in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Here you’ll meet the McKinley family, BEI guides & the trusted team of BEI horses. While recharging over tea & scones, you’ll hear fascinating stories and learn about life across the ages on the Causeway Coast. After a short riding assessment, mount up & enjoy a trek around the 1000-acre farm where you’ll learn details of your exciting coastal trek. Canter to the top and take in sweeping 5- county views & the coastline of Scotland, guaranteed to take your breath away—it’s a perfect start to your epic-riding holiday! After an invigorating farm trek, say goodbye to your horse for the day and head to the award-winning Bushmills Inn for the evening. You’ll find your bags waiting and a warm Irish welcome from the hospitable staff. Relax in front of a roaring turf fire while enjoying a nice pint of “the black stuff” as you mingle with new and old friends. Enjoy dinner at Bushmill’s Inn or listen to a live music session at the Inn’s Gas Bar. Retire to your spacious room for the evening in preparation for the next day’s adventures. Hotel: The Bushmill’s Inn
Enjoy a hearty full Irish breakfast before setting off to begin your adventures in County Derry. Your driver will transport you to the seaside village of Castlerock where tacked horses await. It’s time to warm up the horse’s legs, and you’re own, with a short ride on Castlerock’s idyllic stretch of sand. Take in the views and experience your first spray of the Atlantic Ocean. Now that we are awake, its time to make our way towards the iconic Downhill beach where miles of open sand, waterfalls and iconic views await. Enroute, your group will pass the ancient trees of Mussendun before the journey continues past the ruins of Downhill House which was Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol’s, 18th century home. Marvel at the architecture and expanse of the flamboyant Georgian ruins before your gaze is taken by the lonely Mussenden Temple, regally perched 120-feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by the Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Rome, Mussenden Temple was used as a summer library for Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol. Pass the magnificent Bishop’s Gate before getting your first glimpse of Downhill beach, taking in the panoramic views of the ocean and landscape as you ride. Downhill beach is best known for its magnificent mountain backdrop, cliff scenery and views across to Scotland & Donegal. As you enter the beach, you can stop at the foot of the cliff where Mussendun Temple is located for an ideal picture opportunity before taking a swift canter or gallop across miles of flat, open beach crossing the river on to Benone Strand, with miles of more sand beach to enjoy. As you pull up at the end of the beach, we stretch our legs, stop for a toilet break and give the horses a rest before riding back across the golden sands, through sand dunes, stopping to view the waterfalls cascading of the majestic cliffs of Bennnevanagh mountain and enjoying some time in the spray of the Atlantic. Your group will leave the beach and, after a brief hill climb, with panoramic views of ocean and landscape, will sneak past the Bishops Gate on your way towards the seaside town of Castlerock. You’ll stop for lunch at a local coffee shop and restaurant, Crusoe’s, renowned for its unique Panini’s and homemade soups, to rest and recharge before heading out again. After transporting the horses 5 miles to Binevenagh Mountain, you will work off lunch with a leisurely ride through the forest to Binevenagh Lake, high up on the plateau which has magnificent panoramic views looking out over the North coast, Lough Foyle, Donegal, Derry city, the Antrim Hills, south to the Sperrin mountains and was also used by HBO as a filming location for the TV hit series Game of Thrones! You’ll dismount for the day and drive back to your accommodation for the evening to reflect on the beauty of the spectacular landscape where we have just spent the day. Hotel: The Bushmill’s Inn
Today, you will start your ride at the Whiterocks beach so named because of the white chalk cliffs and caverns set back from the water’s edge. The west end of the strand is adjacent to the sea side town of Portrush and backs on to one of the top grass links golf courses in the world, the famous Royal Portrush, host to the British Open which is part of the 2019 Masters Competition. The White Rocks beach also looks out over the Skerries (a small group of islands off the coast of Portrush) and the iconic Dunluce Castle, Donegal and the Western Isles of Scotland. You will have the opportunity to ride along the edge of this famous golf course which was used for the 148th Open Championship in 2019. Stop for photographs or to get photographed with your partners if they happen to be playing on this fabulous course. You’ll ride on to Dunluce Castle and take a tour of the castle, learning some of its intriguing history (especially the bit about the kitchen & staff plunging into the sea during a storm in 1639). While here, we will have some refreshments at the Dunluce Castle Cottage tearooms, before riding on to the tiny harbour town of Portballintrae on route to the Giants Causeway. As you ride through the quaint coastal village of Portballintrae, you will begin to see the rugged headlands surrounding the Giants Causeway. You will cross the River Bush, on its way to meet the Atlantic after being used to create the world famous Old Bushmills Whiskey. Its time to enjoy your second beach of the day! Breath in the fresh sea air as you trot and canter across the sand and in the gentle swell of the sea. The ride continues as you follow an old tram trail across sand dunes and past the stately Runkerry House before arriving at Northern Irelands most famous UNESCO world heritage site. This unique world heritage site is the final destination of your three day riding vacation. Here we will load up the horses and stop for a meal, before saying our farewells for the day. Afterwards, you can check out the new world class visitor’s centre and you must explore this unique heritage site and take in this natural wonder before our transport arrives to bring you back to your accommodation. Overnight: The Bushmills Inn
Today, you will start off at Ballintoy on the coast, where after tacking up, you will follow an old off- road track with splendid views of the coast, to the breath taking white sand beach of Whitepark Bay, a 3-mile long beach on the famous Causeway Coastal Route. Whitepark Bay is a beautiful stretch of pristine beach located on Co. Antrim’s north coast near the picturesque village of Ballintoy. With a beach so pure it shines for miles (on even the cloudiest of days) it’s the perfect backdrop for a refreshing trot, canter or gallop! You’ll take our time playing on the beach & in the ocean before cantering over the smooth sands! If we’re lucky the famous “Sunbathing Cattle” will be on the beach basking in the sun’s warmth. You will spend your time romping and capering along the 3 mile stretch of pristine, resplendent white sand and explore the rolling sand dunes of the area below the backdrop of the rugged surrounding cliff faces which were once home to some of the earliest human settlers in Ireland. Savor the taste of the tantalizing sea air, feel the blustering and energizing wind on your face and the radiant rays of the Irish sunshine on your back on this invigorating ride.Afterwards, you’ll make our way over sandy dunes and across lush farmlands for lunch at the Red Door Cottage Tea Room, operated by Nigel & Joanne McGarrity and family. This traditional Irish tearoom sits in an idyllic rural area surrounded by grazing cows & sheep one side and the mighty Atlantic on the other. Enjoy a pint, glass of wine or a cup of tea on the outdoor patio or head inside to dine. Expect good, straightforward locally sourced main dishes such as seafood chowder or Irish stew, terrific sandwiches and, quite literally, the best homemade desserts in Ireland! The Red Door Cottage is the perfect place to rest and recharge before continuing our ride of exploration on private farmland in the hills above the picturesque village of Ballintoy. You will look out over Ballintoy Harbour which was mainly associated with salmon fishing. In its heyday, cartloads of salmon made their way round hilly roads to catch the train at Ballycastle and onwards to Belfast. Game of Thrones fans will recognize Ballintoy Harbour as the setting for the Iron Islands and Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke. Like most places along the north coast, the views from these hills are spectacular and offer some amazing photo opportunities.We look down on Ballintoy’s most distinctive site, the white Ballintoy Parish Church, perched on a hill overlooking the vast Atlantic. Ballintoy Parish Church was built in 1813, in replacement of the original church built in the early 17th century. It is one of the most scenic churches in the country and is often pictured with the stunning view of Rathlin Island in the background. Many notable landed families are buried in the church’s cemetery including The Stewarts of Ballintoy, Downing Fullerton and members of the Stewart-Moore family. As you ride to your destination, you will be looking down on to the cliffs surrounding one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, the Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge. From there, you will take in the vista of this spectacular coastline hugging the wild Atlantic ocean, looking out over the sea to Rathlin Island, the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and the Western Isles of Scotland before finally stopping and saying farewell to the horses and team after a full day of off-road riding. Overnight: Dublin Hotel
Transfer to the airport.
Ride Details - Dublin Horse Show and County Wicklow Ride
Dates: Contact us for dates
Best Months to Ride: April – October. Peak season is July, August
Riding days: 4
Maximum Daily Riding Hours: 3 – 7
Horses: Irish Vanner Cobs, Irish hunters
Riding Ability: INTERMEDIATE: Confident and in control at all paces including posting trots, two point canters and gallops in open country.
Group size: 1 – 10
Non-riding Activities: tour of Dublin, County Kildare and County Wicklow, golf
Accommodations: 4**** and 5**** hotel/inns, based on availability
*Price: Contact us for prices.
*This price will fluctuate with the USD/EURO exchange and will be fixed at your final payment.
Includes: 6 nights accommodations, all breakfasts and some lunches, horse, tack, guide, transfer to and from airport, entry to Dublin Horse Show, Powerscourt Garden, Irish National Stud & Gardens and Japanese Gardens and Millennium Gardens
Not Included: airfare, some lunches, all dinners
ANNUAL TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL:
Dublin Horse Show and County Wicklow Ride: Gallery
Dublin Horse Show and County Wicklow Ride