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7 Days of Castles, Coast and Countryside Experience

7 Day Castles, Coast and Countryside Horseback Adventure

At a Glance: 7 Days of Castles, Coast and Countryside
Description: Experience Traditional hospitality in top quality B&Bs and enjoy some of the world’s best horse-riding opportunities.
Duration: 7 Days, 6 Nights, 5 Days Riding
Includes: See the details further down the page
Cost: From £1680

 

 

Trip Details:

This exciting 7 Day, 6 Night riding holiday is made up of everything that makes the north coast world famous: white sand beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant country sides, enchanting forests, mountainous trails and Irish hospitality! You’ll spend your time in and around the magnificent Causeway Coastal Route stopping at key iconic locations & sites along the way. There are no other treks in Ireland that include such spectacular sites and scenery– this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime riding holiday.

Each day you’ll be in the saddle approximately 7 to 8 hours with several breaks throughout the day but you are welcome to vary the amount of time that you ride with us and we will happily arrange for you to be transported to where ever or to whatever you wish to do.

This ride is for Intermediate to Advanced riders. Not suitable for beginners.

Trip Details:

This exciting 7 Day, 6 Night riding holiday is made up of everything that makes the north coast world famous: white sand beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant country sides, enchanting forests, mountainous trails and Irish hospitality! You’ll your time in and around the magnificent Causeway Coastal Route stopping at key iconic locations & sites along the way. There are no other treks in Ireland that include such spectacular sites and scenery– this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime riding holiday.

Each day you’ll be in the saddle approximately 7 to 8 hours with several breaks throughout the day but you are welcome to vary the amount of time that you ride and we will happily arrange for you to be transported to where ever or to whatever you wish to do.

This ride is for Intermediate to Advanced riders. Not suitable for beginners.

 

 

Sunday  

Welcome to Ireland! You can arrive in either Belfast or Dublin. We can arrange for our driver to collect you from either location and whisk you off on the beginning of your Irish adventure. You will journey northwards and, if it tickles your fancy, you can opt to travel along the renowned Causeway Coastal Route, lauded as one of the top 5 road journeys in the world. This beautiful drive will give you a taste of the rugged coastlines and sweeping sea views that you will experience over the course of your holiday.

The coastal route is dotted with historic castles and a changing canvas of natural landscapes–incredible fishing villages, quiet beaches, rolling green hills with lush hedges, mountain streams and rugged coastlines with majestic cliffs—all overlooking the magnificent sea.

On arriving at your accommodation someone from the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland team will meet with you to provide information and advice about the area. We will arrange to take you to our centre the next morning to begin your Irish horse riding vacation.

You can spend the night at your leisure in your accommodation or by exploring the beautiful coastal town of Ballycastle. 

Overnight: Antrim’s North Coast 

 

Monday

After breakfast we’ll make our way to the McKinley Family farm located in the beautiful County Antrim countryside This magnificent hilltop farm is surrounded by 1,000 acres of rolling hills lush with grass and dotted with white, fluffy sheep. As you make your way up the long, scenic driveway, it soon becomes clear, this isn’t any ordinary “Irish Farm”.

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 heading to the stables, we’ll make our way to the converted loft above the stables to enjoy fresh-baked scones and tea, listen to fascinating stories & history of the area and exciting details of the week’s ride.

We’ll head to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses and if you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking. After selecting a horse and a riding assessment we’ll hit the trail, riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills. This takes us riding on mountain tracks, roads and trails through forests and to 360 % viewing points from where with weather permitting, we will have views over the Glens of Antrim, almost all of Northern Ireland, parts of Southern Ireland and across the sea to Scotland.

You are welcome to ride from 3 to 6 hours depending what you feel is best for you on your first day of riding.

Overnight: County Antrim

 Tuesday

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. Depending on the high tide times we will start of riding on Castlerock beach and follow the beach to the adjoining Downhill beach riding on the sand below the towering basalt cliffs and towards 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 and sits behind the ruins of the Earl’s 18th century home, Downhill House.

As we round the cliffs and headland arriving on to Downhill beach with its magnificent mountain backdrop, cliff scenery and views across to Scotland & Donegal, we’ll take a swift canter or gallop across miles of flat open beach crossing the river on to Benone strand, with more miles of  sand beach to cover until we arrive at Magilligan Point from where the ferry leaves to take vehicles and foot passenger across Lough Foyle to Co Donegal, we will tie up our horses and stop for some refreshments at the Point Inn before riding back across the golden sands, through sand dunes stopping to view the waterfalls cascading of the majestic cliffs of Bennnevanagh mountain.

We’ll leave the beach and, after a brief hill climb, with panoramic views of ocean and land, will sneak through the Bishops Gate, which was once the entrance to Downhill House towards the seaside town of Castlerock. We’ll stop for lunch at a local coffee shop & restaurant, Crusoe’s, renowned for its unique Panini’s and homemade soups, to rest & recharge before heading out again.

We’ll transport the horses to Binnnevenagh mountain and work off lunch with a leisurely ride through the forest to Binnevannagh Lake, high up on the plateau with magnificent panoramic views looking out over the North coast, Lough Foyle, Donegal, Derry city, the Antrim Hills and south to the Sperrin mountains.

We’ll dismount for the day and drive you back to your accommodation where you will reflect on the beauty, experiences and the spectacular landscape of the area where we spent the day.

Overnight: County Antrim

 

Wednesday

Today we will start our ride at the White Rocks 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 Golf Club, 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. While riding here there is the opportunity to ride along the edge of this famous golf course for photographs or to get photographed with your partners if they happen to be playing on this fabulous course.

We’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 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 we ride through Portballintrae and on to the Giants Causeway we will cross the River Bush and follow an old tram trail across sand dunes and past the stately Runkerry House before arriving at this world heritage site.

Here we will finish our ride for today, loaden up the horses and have something to eat before checking out the new world class visitors centre. Afterwards you must explore this unique heritage site and take in the natural wonder before returning to your accommodation.

Overnight: County Antrim

Thursday

Today we will start off at Ballintoy on the coast, where after tacking up we 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!

We’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. Savour the taste of the tantalising sea air, feel the blustering and energising wind on your face and the radiant rays of the Irish sunshine on your back on this invigorating ride.

Afterwards, we’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.

We 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 we ride to our destination, we will be looking down on to the cliffs surrounding one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, the Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge. From here we 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: County Antrim

Friday

Today after riding in the forest above Ballycastle, we will be taking an old disused coach road through the hills into the Glen of Glendun one of the famed Nine Glens of Antrim..

We’ll 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. 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.
Our day and riding holiday finishes here in this idyllic village in the fabled Glens of Antrim where the Glen of Glendun meets the Atlantic Ocean.

This evening, enjoy a farewell gathering, hosted by the McKinley family, with dinner in a local restaurant and a trip across the street to an authentic Irish pub for traditional music and time spent meeting our local characters.

Overnight: County Antrim

 

Saturday

After an enjoyable evening socialising with the BEI team and a good night’s sleep, it’s time to leave the North Coast of Ireland after having connected with this area in a very special way and taken part in one of the world’s greatest horse riding experiences.

Slán Abhaile

Locations where we ride:

Downhill Beach Binevenagh Mountain
Orra Mountain Benone Beach
Mussenden Temple Downhill Demesne
Castlerock Whiterocks Beach
Dunluce Castle Portballintrae-Bushfoot Strand
Giant’s Causeway Whitepark Bay
Ballintoy Village Glendun
Vanishing Lake Cushendun
Cushendun Caves & Strand Glendun River

What’s included in the trip:

 6 nights B&B accommodation 5 days of riding.
Daily Full Irish Breakfast  Lunches at local eateries x 5 plus refreshments
Daily Ground Transport on the North Coast (To and From accommodation each day) Welcome From BEI Guide at Accommodation on Arrival
Horse Hire All Tack & Equipment

 

Knowledgeable, informative and sociable Trekking Guides

Daily Horse Transport Around Coast

 

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.

2019 Rates and Dates 

£1680pps to join a group ride starting on any of the below dates:

Sunday March 3rd to March 9th

Sunday March 10th to March 16th

Sunday March 17th to March 23rd

Sunday March 24th to March 30th

 Sunday March 31st to April 6th

Sunday April 7th to April 13th

Sunday April 14th to April 20th

Sunday April 21st to April 27th

Sunday April 28th to May 4th

Sunday May 5th to May 11th

Sold Out – Sunday May 12th to May 18th

Sunday May 19th to May 25th

Sunday May 26th to June 1st

Sunday June 2th to June 8th

Sold Out – Sunday June 9th to June 15th

Sunday June 16th to June 22nd

Sold Out – June 23rd to June 29th

Sunday June 30th to July 6th

Sunday July 7th to July 13th

Sunday July 14th to July 20th

Sunday July 21st to July 27th

Sunday July 28th to August 3rd

Sunday August 4th to August 10th

Sunday August 11th to August 17st 

Sunday August 18th to August 24th

Sunday August 25th to August 31st

Sunday September 1st to September 7th

Sunday September 8th to September 14th

Sunday September 15th to September 21th

Sunday September 29th to October 5th

Sunday October 6th to October 12th

Sunday October 13th to October 19th

Sunday October 20th to October 26th

Sunday October 27th to November 2nd

*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 £270 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 – £1680pps

2 and 3 persons – £1830pps

1 person – £1950pps 

​Single Room Supplement of £30 per night applies.