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4 Day Countryside and Coast Adventure

4 Day Countryside and Coast Adventure

At a Glance

4 Day Countryside and Coast Adventure

Description: Enjoy quality accommodation and horse riding through verdant countryside, into the wild heather clad North Antrim Hills and through enchanting forests before riding on coastal terrain of clifftops, mountain paths and beaches with splendid views of the ocean on route

Duration: 4 Days, 3 Nights

Includes: B&B Accommodation x3
Tea and Fresh Baked Scones on Arrival, Knowledgeable Trekking Guide, 3x Lunch, Riding at well-known Game of Throne locations, Horse Transport, History Overview of Coast, Spectacular Trail Riding, 5* Coastal Riding, The Best Views in Ireland!

Cost: From £995

At a Glance: 4 Day Countryside and Coast Adventure
Description: Enjoy quality accommodation and horse riding through verdant countryside, into the wild heather clad North Antrim Hills and through enchanting forests before riding on coastal terrain of clifftops, mountain paths and beaches with splendid views of the ocean on route
Duration: 4 Days, 3 Nights
Includes: B&B Accommodation x3
Tea and Fresh Baked Scones on Arrival, Knowledgeable Trekking Guide, 3x Lunch, Riding at well-known Game of Throne locations, Horse Transport, History Overview of Coast, Spectacular Trail Riding, 5* Coastal Riding, The Best Views in Ireland!
Cost: From £995

Ride Details:

These four days of horse riding on the world famous Antrim hills and North Coast have everything that is included in your dreams of horse riding in Ireland. 

You will spend two days riding through, verdant countryside, into the wild heather clad North Antrim Hills and through enchanting forests before riding on coastal terrain of clifftops, mountain paths and beaches with splendid views of the ocean on route to our final destination of Glenariff Forest Park deep in the famous Nine Glens of Antrim with its waterfalls at Lara Lodge. This ride includes two days point to point riding stopping overnight at a B&B along the way. As you ride on our Irish gypsy cobs or Irish sports horses you will experience the beauty and wilderness of the Glens of Antrim, its coastline and indulge in Irish hospitality!

This ride is available daily with times to be prearranged with the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland team.

 

DAY 1

On arrival Mr. McKinley, members of the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland (BEI) team and “Lanna” the resident farm dog will greet you with a warm, genuine welcome!

Before meeting our horses, we’ll make our way to the converted loft above the stables to enjoy scones freshly baked scones, made by Mr McKinley’s wife Mary, along with tea and coffee. Here you will listen to fascinating stories & history of the area which you will be riding through in the coming days as well as exciting details of our plans for the ride.

We’ll head to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses (if you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking).

After selecting a horse and a riding assessment we will get your muscles adjusted gently and build up your fitness by riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills with its heather clad slopes, looking down on to green pasture away below and passing the old peat banks that were the traditional source of fuel in Ireland for generations. We can stop and do some peat cutting with the old traditional peat spades and get a few photographs of the piles of peat drying for fuel.

Having spent 4 to 5 hour at the centre, met the BEI team, familiarised yourself with your horse, the details of your ride and some of the history and heritage of the country you will be riding through, you will be collected and taken to your accommodation in the nearby coastal town of Ballycastle. Ballycastle is a beautiful coastal town which is renowned for its bustling local pubs, cafes and local shops as well as stunning views across the sea to Scotland. No matter what your plans are you must try the honey comb ice cream from Maud’s Ice cream parlour and a pint of Guinness from O’Connor’s bar on the mainstreet.

Get a good night’s rest and be ready for three full days of riding.

Overnight: Ballycastle, County Antrim

DAY 2

After breakfast you will be picked up and taken back to the stables for a full days riding on a trail east of the centre. From the stables, you will make your way across verdant pasturelands, crossing a stream or two before climbing up onto the moorland above the farm to take in a sweeping 5-county view of Northern Ireland and as far away as counties Donegal, Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh!

As we ride higher and further out into the Antrim Hills to the summit called the “Croaghan” we will have a 360-degree panoramic view of the beautiful Irish countryside.

From Croaghan, take a long look out over the Glens of Antrim, looking north to Scotland and Scotland’s Ayrshire Coast, Mull of Kintyre, Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles. Also looking over to Rathlin Island, an island off the coast of County Antrim and the northernmost point in Northern Ireland. Additionally, take in County Donegal’s Inishowen & Malin Head—the northernmost point in Ireland. Western views look out over the River Bann to the Sperrin Mountains and south to County Down’s Mourne Mountains and to Slieve Beagh in County Monaghan in Southern Ireland.

As the team descends Croaghan, making their way over the trails and hills, one thing will become clear–the aura of the surrounding lands are serene and tranquil, mystical and awe-inspiring

From Croaghan we ride and gradually climb to one the best 360% panoramic views in Ireland and maybe even much further afield. This is the peak of Orra Mountain (Slieve An Orra), specifically chosen for its historical significance and breathtaking views. Orra Mountain is best known as the site of a ferocious battle between rival Irish clans in 1583, but on the top of the mountain there is a memorial erected in the honor of  7 US airmen who lost their lives there in October 1942,  when their WWII B17 crashed on the mountain during heavy cloud cover.

From this mountain’s peak it is possible to look out over the Glens of Antrim, north to Scotland and Scotland’s Ayrshire Coast, Mull of Kintyre, Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles. Also looking over to Rathlin Island, an island off the coast of County Antrim additionally, take in County Donegal’s Inishowen & Malin Head—the northernmost point in Ireland. Western views look out over the River Bann to the Sperrin Mountains and south to County Down’s Mourne Mountains and to Slieve Beagh in County Monaghan in Southern Ireland.

As the team descends Orra, making their way over the trails and hills, one thing will become clear–the aura of the surrounding lands are serene and tranquil, mystical and awe-inspiring.

When we arrive at our destination, the horses will be transported back to the farm and your driver will be waiting to transport you to your accommodation where you can relax, before heading out to enjoy dinner in a local restaurant and maybe call in to a pub to finish off the evening. Our BEI team are on hand to help you plan your evenings itinerary and specialise in helping you to become immersed in the local community and culture for those who wish to do so.

Overnight: Ballycastle, County Antrim

DAY 3

Today starts of a two-day point to point ride that will finish deep in the Nine Glens of Antrim. The Glens are a series of coastal valleys in a range of mountains all running down to the ocean. Our final destination is the mystical waterfalls in the Glen of Glenariff, known as the Queen of the Glens for its scenic beauty and tranquillity. 

Horses and riders are transported to Murlough Bay, a secluded bay on the North Coast. This is a hidden gem, off the beaten track and was used as a filming location in the TV hit series, Game of Thrones.

It is sheltered from the North west winds blowing in off the sea, and here you will find something that is unusual on the Causeway Coast. Here trees flourish on the grassy slopes and you will often come across wild deer roaming across the green pastures overlooking the western Isles and Highlands of Scotland.

Our journey continues after Murlough as we ride towards an old disused track through the mountains which was once the old coach road to Cushendun in the Glens of Antrim. We will ride past Loughareema known locally as the Vanishing Lake and surrounded by Irish myths and legends. Here your guide will regal to you the story of the coachman and horses lost in a terrible storm!

We will follow the old coach road through the hills with views over the Irish Sea and into the Glen of Glendun, one of the famed Nine Glens of Antrim. Here we will find a secluded area of pasture where the horses can enjoy the grass while we take a rest and enjoy a freshly prepared picnic looking down into the Glen of Glendun.

Once refueled and rested, we will follow the Glendun River (that’s sometimes meandering and other times a raging torrent) as we make our way to the picturesque village of Cushendun. On our way, we will be viewing stunning fauna & flora, riding through ash and hazel in this beautiful Glen characterized by bright green rowans, purple heather and soaring birds of prey.

The scenic village of Cushendun was designed in 1912 by Clough William Ellis at the request of Ronald John McNeill, 1st Baron Cushendun. The village’s Cornish appearance was deliberate–designed to please the Baron’s wife, Maud, who was born in Cornwall, England. After Maud’s death in 1925, he erected a row of whitewashed, quaint cottages in her memory—affectionately known as Maud’s Cottages.

Riding on Cushendun strand we will pass the ruins of Carra Castle before making our way to the famous Cushendun Caves—an impressive system of caves formed over 400-million years ago. More recently, the caves doubled as the caves of ‘Storm’s End’ in the HBO hit series, Game of Thrones.

An unusual character of Cushendun is “Johann the Goat”, a bronze sculpture situated close to the mouth of the River Dun. Johann lived in the harbour area for many years, grazing the riverbanks and welcoming visitors bearing apples or carrots. In 2001, he was the last animal to be culled during the foot and mouth outbreak. His statue remains a memorial to the farmers in the district who lost their livestock. Today, another goat carries on Johann’s tradition and can be seen resting beneath the feet of Johann’s sculpture or grazing along the banks.

We will call into to Mary McBrides authentic Irish pub in the village for a more substantial lunch and to meet some locals. We will the start the last leg of the days ride as we venture up the Glen and finish high on the Torr Rd above the village at the Villa B&B, which is a spectacular location in itself.

The Villa B&B serves as our coach house where both horses and riders are liveried for the night. The splendid views out over the coast and sea to Scotland and looking down on to the coastal village and bay far below are only matched by the warmth and hospitality of your hosts, the Scally family, at the Villa B&B.

Overnight: Cushendun, County Antrim

DAY 4

After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the Villa B&B,  Its time to tack up our horses and prepare for the final day’s ride, deep into the mystical Glens of Antrim. As we make our way east, we will cross the beach passing through the sleepy and quaint village before climbing up onto a quiet coastal road with fantastic views over the sea to the western Isles of Scotland and the Scottish mainland just 12 miles away. This point marks one of the shortest sea passages between Ireland and Scotland and in centuries gone by, the sea you are overlooking would have been filled with ships and galleys carrying supplies or heading to war. This route takes us through the next village of Cushendall where we will stop for refreshments close to the old Curfew Tower in the centre of the village which once served as a garrison to protect the village from campaigns by the Irish clans.

We will follow Cushendall beach on our journey through the Glens and make our way past the remains of Red Bay Castle once a stronghold of the Mc Donnell clan and past the caves once used as a hedge school when formal education was forbidden.

Our next beach is adjacent to the village of Waterfoot and located at the base of the glen of Glenarriff. Here we can canter and gallop across the bay while enjoying stunning views. From here we make our way through what is often described affectionately as the “Queen of the Glens” riding to the head of this beautiful glen and Lara Lodge at the bottom of Glenariff Forest Park.

As we meander up the Glen and through this oasis of tranquility you will become enchanted by its beauty and strengthen the bond you have with this land. At the head of the Glen, we will dismount and untack our horses after four days of riding before taking a short walk to view the splendid and iconic waterfalls that this park is renowned for. We will relax in the restaurant at Lara Lodge and over a meal, share photos of your riding excursion deep in the fabled and mystical Glens of Antrim.

At this stage, we will send for transport for the horses back to base and say our farewells as you continue on your journey of exploration in Ireland.

OR (optional add-on)

You can also choose to spend an extra night as guests of the McKinley family with a farewell dinner and evening of entertainment:

 We will organise for you to be taken to your accommodation in Cushendall where tonight we will gather for a farewell dinner to celebrate our tour and finish off with a memorable evening in Johnny Joe’s pub with traditional music. Here, you will strengthen your connections with the place and its people as we introduce you to the regulars and you enjoy the music, dance and the local craic.

Overnight: County Antrim

Locations where we ride:

North Antrim Hills Slieve an Orra Mountain
Croghan Mountain Murlough Bay
Vannishing Lakes Glendun Coach Road
Cushendun Caves & Strand Cushendall village and strand
Glenariffe beach Glenariffe forest park

What’s Included in the Trip:

B&B 3 nights Accommodation Tea and Fresh Baked Scones on Arrival
2 picnic lunches 2 lunches at local establishments
Riding at iconic Game of Thrones filming locations Knowledgeable local guide
Luggage transport Horse Transport
History Overview of Coast Spectacular Trail Riding
5* Coastal Riding The Best Views in Ireland!

Optional Add-ons
1. We can arrange for you to be picked up at any airport or from anywhere in Ireland and transport you after your riding tour, to wherever you require.
2. Hire of photographer for a day/half day
3. Upgrade to Hotel accommodation can be arranged
4. Itinerary planning for non-riding partners such as for Golf, fishing, sightseeing, genealogy. Check out our Out of Tack page and our itinerary planning website at www.premierexperiencesni.com.

5. Farewell dinner and evening of entertainment hosted by the McKinley family

2019 Rates and Dates 

£995pps to join a group ride starting on any of the below dates:

Every Monday from:

4thMarch 2019 to 5thof November 2019 

*The above group rate is based on a minimum of 2 riders. In the event of only one rider being booked in, the ride can still take place however an additional supplement of £250 will be added to bring the price up to the one person rate below. Check out our T&Cs for more details:

Flexible starting dates

This ride is also available to start on the date of your choice at the following rates:

4 Persons – £995pps

2 and 3 persons – £1150pps

1 person – £1330pps 

​Single Room Supplement of £30 per night applies