There is an infinite number
of places to ride horses in Ireland, from the coast to the hills, to the
mountains and to old castle grounds. Dingle horse riding did me one better. You must experience the
magnificent Dingle Peninsula, a haven for beach riding and mountain trekking.
Dingle Horse Riding located right on the edge of Dingle village with extremely well-kept facilities and the horses are beautifully cared for. The girls explained to me that they receive thorough care are monitored year-round for fitness and health. The horses go out once per day to keep them fresh and loving their jobs, as opposed to doing multiple trails rides each day.
The Horse riding stable was founded in 1989 as a small, family-run business based in Dunquin on the Dingle Peninsula. The idea was to cater to those people who wanted to see the area on horseback rather than by car, bus, bicycle, or on foot.
By 1998, the operation had outgrown its base in Dunquin, and purpose-designed stables were built in Ballinaboula, just a mile outside of Dingle town. The move enabled the further expansion of the business, and once settled into its new base of operations, it grew from strength to strength, building on its good reputation.
Now, 25 years later, Dingle Horse Riding is one of the most popular destinations for horse riding holidays in Ireland, offering inclusive, residential, and post-to-post equestrian adventures.
Dingle Horse Riding is approved by A.I.R.E (the Association of Irish Riding Stables) and Fáilte Ireland (The National Tourist Board) and is a member of Equestrian Holidays Ireland.
The traditional, purpose-built stables are located in the hills overlooking the Dingle Harbour, just 2 kilometers from the centre of Dingle Town.
They keep several horses in the yard all year round, and during the summer season they have as many as 20 stabled. They range in breed, colour and size from 15 hands to 16.2 hands but the stable favour the Irish draught hunter/cob type for their surefootedness, and turn of speed.
The stables Openings Hours are Tuesday – Saturday inclusive and is owned and operated by Susan Callery, a native of Dingle who also owns the Greenlane Gallery in Dingle Town. It is the perfect location for the most memorable, challenging and enjoyable horse riding holidays you will experience anywhere in the world.
Dingle Horse Riding offers a variety of riding options to cater to your needs. They can accommodate everyone from a beginner in search of a fun and memorable introduction to horse riding, to advanced riders searching for exciting and challenging rides in open countryside. Helmets, boots and rain-wear available.
THE GAELTACHT TRAILS - These treks are suitable for intermediate and advanced riders and for novice riders after discussion and assessment. The stable have numerous routes they can offer, so if you would like to book more than one ride, different routes will be taken.
The Cnoc an Cairn mountain trek takes you into the hills behind Dingle overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with its rugged off-shore Islands; Here you overlook the most westerly point in Europe. On the brow of the mountain the group is split according to ability; experienced riders are taken on the canter track whilst beginners continue on the scenic route.
The riders head down through Dingle town and out around the Harbour hoping for an opportunity to see Fungi, the Dingle dolphin. On the Banks beach, in the shadow of ancient ruins, you can take an exhilarating gallop along the shore before cooling off in the sea and making your way to the Stables via Dingle town centre with its colourful pubs, galleries and restaurants that you might want to visit after your trek! This ride is a good option for experienced riders who don’t have time for a long ride.
SHAMROCK TRAIL - This trek is suitable for beginner, novice intermediate and advanced riders. This ride can be easily adapted to suit a range of riding experience and is a good option for experienced riders who don’t have time for a long ride. The Shamrock Trail takes riders on a similar route as the Cnoc an Cairn Mountain Ride, however it covers three ridges of the mountain and allows for even more spectacular views as you walk, trot, and canter along the paths.
The Dingle Shoreline and Mountain Trail - This trek makes its way through Dingle Town to Dingle Beach (see descriptions above). It continues on into the mountains above Dingle Harbour. Please note this trek is not available during June, July and August due to heavy traffic in Dingle Town.
The Kilfountain/ Muirioch Trail - This trek goes to Muirioch Beach following the Saints Way and Bohareens (small single track roads). Along the route are spectacular views of Mount Brandon and Cruach Mharhain and Mount Eagle can be seen in the distance. When we reach Muirioch we gallop on the beach with fantastic views of the Three Sisters and Ceann Sibeal and pass the ancient Gallarus Oratory (a 12th Century church) on the way home.
Times: These treks leave the yard at 10:30, 13:30 (& 16:30 during the summer) daily by appointment. There is also early morning and late evening trails for those of you looking for something a little different and who wish to take advantage of the wonderfully long summer daylight hours.
WILD ATLANTIC TRAILS - These treks and suitable for intermediate and advanced riders only. The stable has a wonderful variety of trails situated on the spectacular Dingle Peninsula. These allows you to follow scenic shorelines, bohareens (small single track lanes), meander along the Pilgrim’s Route and gallop across beautiful sandy beaches.
Routes will vary according to weather and tides. Rides that include the beach are tide-dependent, so the departure times change regularly. The stable requires a minimum number for these treks so contact the stable regarding availability and they will advise you at the time of booking. These treks are routes which start and end in Dingle at the Stables.
Dingle Horse Riding Holiday Options
These three day to full week trails take riders around the Peninsula, through breathtaking scenery in areas of outstanding natural beauty. The groups are kept small and you will ride for around 5 to 6.5 hours depending on the pace.
On the week long trail, you will explore both the south western area of the Dingle Peninsula and the north coast via the Conor Pass, which is one of the highest Irish mountain passes. You will overnight at each destination before returning to Dingle at the end of the week.
Riders look after their own food apart from breakfast; Dingle and the Peninsula is renowned for its superb restaurants and cafes. If you have a specific date you are looking at for a riding holiday contact the stable and they will try their best to put a package together, but they would need a minimum of 5 riders to do so.
WEEK LONG TRAIL includes:
· On arrival, canapes and beverages, including the stables wonderful Dingle Gin
· 6 x nights Bed and Breakfast
· 6 x days trail riding the Dingle Peninsula
· 2 x picnic lunches
· Transfer of riders/horses/luggage and all necessary equipment between venues
· Cocktails & Canapés on our final evening
Example Of A Week-Long Trail:
DAY 1: On arrival at Dingle Horse Riding, you will meet your fellow riders and trail the local Dingle area; this allows us to ensure that all our riders are happy with their allocated horses. After Canapés and refreshments the group heads via Kilfountain River to the most westerly mainland point in Europe, towards Smerwick Harbour (the sight of much of the filming for Ryan’s Daughter). Riding down towards the ancient Gallarus Oratory (a 12th Century church) you will see magnificent views of The Three Sisters and Ceann Sibeal.
At Gallarus you can take the opportunity to explore Gallarus Oratory and also see an audio visual display of the surrounding Peninsula that you will trail over the next 6 days.
Tonight you will stay in the village of Ballydavid where riders can avail of the local seaweed baths followed by a sauna and/or massage and a dip in the Atlantic to cool down and ease muscle ache.
DAY 2: After a morning gallop on Muiríoch beach the group heads inland across the Brandon Mountain Range via a section of the Pilgrim’s Route. Mount Brandon is the second highest peak in Ireland, and as you climb you can see spectacular views of the Dingle Peninsula, as far as the Blasket Islands and Skellig Rocks, as well as the Iveragh Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
The terrain is challenging; at the highest point you will cross the Pass at 400m, but the horses are surefooted and take it in their stride.
The group then continues down the mountain enjoying the vast panoramic views of Brandon Bay and its massive beaches heading towards the quiet village of Cloghane via magnificent valley lakes and narrow, winding bohareens overlooked by the Conor Pass, which was carved out of the cliff face during famine times.
Today, there will be a fair amount of trotting as the steep climb up and down means this ride is at a slower pace; the terrain is taxing on both horse and rider. Tonight you will relax in O’Connor’s Bed & Breakfast in Cloghane.
DAY 3: The most beautiful beach riding day; the beaches between Cloghane, Castlegregory and the Maharees were made for horse riding. You will spend the day cantering along many miles of unbroken (and largely deserted) wide sandy beach, stopping for lunch at a local pub in Castlegregory.
In the afternoon there will be more beach riding before you cross back over to the southern side of the Peninsula towards Kilgobbin and Camp. Today you will cover many miles at a fast pace, and both horse and rider will deserve a well earned rest. Bed tonight will be in the village of Camp.
DAY 4: This morning horses and riders set off towards Inch, passing through Gleann Na Gealt (the Valley of the Mad) via an ancient bog route with spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean. Inch Beach, made famous by its part in the film Ryan’s Daughter, is a world renowned strand that attracts all types of water sports: surfing, snorkelling, fishing, gliding, and of course horse riding.
The surrounding lanes and bohareens offer spectacular views of Cathair Con Rí, Inch, Dingle Bay, and the Ring of Kerry. After lunch at the famous Foleys Pub you will head for spectacular gallops along Inch. Tonight the stay is at Inch Guesthouse above Sammy’s Restaurant and the beach.
DAY 5: After a morning Atlantic wade the group climbs up to the Dingle Way to take advantage of stunning views of the Wild Atlantic Ocean and the valleys around Lake Annascaul, carved out by glaciers and giants over millions of years!
After a picnic lunch at the Lake under the Slieve Mish range you will explore Átha-na-Scáil, meaning, in English, the River of the Hero, the legendary hero being Cuchulainn whose grave is reputed to be on the side of the mountain above Droumavalla, north of Annascaul.
This evening the horses are boxed from Annascaul village (The birthplace of Tom Crean the Antarctic explorer) to Dunquin for the spectacular Great Blasket Island Wild Atlantic Way trail tomorrow and tonight you will stay at The Lantern Townhouse in Dingle town.
DAY 6: From Dunquin Village you ride into the hills behind Graigue where you canter the most westerly point in Europe overlooking the Great Blasket Islands where Ryan’s Daughter was filmed.
You will trace the coastline for views of Ceann Sibeal, The Three Sisters and Cloghar before following the old Caharoo bog road from Dunquin over the Clasach and Mount Eagel, following part of the Pilgrim’s route.
On arrival in the village of Ballyferriter horses and riders head for a gallop on Beal Ban beach before heading for Kilmackader through the beautiful countryside and green roads of the West Kerry Gaeltacht.
As you complete your ride, you will have covered many miles over the last six days, had some fantastic riding and enjoyed the most spectacular views Ireland has to offer.
The group will meet back in Dingle Horse riding for conversation, libation and theorisation! And spend the night at the Lantern Townhouse in Dingle where you will be able to sample the culinary delights of the many cafes and restaurants Dingle has to offer.
MINI TRAIL includes:
· 3 x days riding
· 3 x Bed and Breakfast
· Transfer of riders/ horses/luggage and all necessary equipment between venues
How To Find Dingle Horse Riding Stable
GETTING THERE BY PLANE
Kerry Airport (KIR): Tel: +353 (0)66 976 4350/(0)66 976 4644
Kerry Airport is located 40 miles from Dingle, approximately an hour away by car. This is the most convenient Airport to Dingle, but it is very small, and flights into Kerry are limited.
Shannon Airport (SNN): Tel: +353 (0)61 712000/(0)61 71 2400
Shannon Airport is located 110 miles from Dingle, approximately two and a half hours away by car. While further away, Shannon is a much larger Airport and flights landing here are more regular. If you are flying from anywhere other than Europe, this is where you should land.
GETTING THERE BY CAR
From Kerry Airport: Look for signs to Tralee via N22. Turn Left onto N86. (Follow directions from Tralee)
From Shannon Airport: From the Airport, follow signs into Limerick. In Limerick, turn right onto N18. Continue on for about a mile and turn right onto N20 which becomes N21. Take N21 all the way to Tralee and turn right onto N86. (Follow directions from Tralee)
From Tralee: Take N86 to Camp. At the fork in the road continue left* on N86 into Dingle. At the first roundabout, go straight through. At the second roundabout turn right, continue to the T-junction and turn left onto Main Street.
*For brave drivers, bear right towards the Conor Pass and follow it into Dingle. Take a right at the T-junction onto Main Street.
From Main Street, Dingle: Continue up Main Street (it is one-way) out of town. You will pass a Fire Tower on your right, take the right hand turning immediately after the Fire Tower. Follow the signs for DINGLE HORSE RIDING from there. They are conveniently located about five minutes from town.
You must complete a booking form:
Please ensure to give Dingle Horse Riding as accurate information as possible in relation to your riding ability, health, weight and fitness level when completing your booking form.
All riders will be assessed again in the arena before you are allowed to leave the yard. If you are unsure of your riding ability, it is better to err on the side of caution and drop down a level of riding experience when booking. If your riding ability does not match the level you indicate on the booking form the stable will try their best to accommodate you, but it is likely that you will incur the cost of the original ride you booked. This is due to advanced preparations the stable needs to make on your behalf to ensure the right guides and horses are available for each ride.
As the stable only have the information on your booking form to guide them its accuracy is of the highest importance.
If you are unsure of your riding ability, or have any other queries, please do not hesitate to contact the stable.
The stables Opening Hours are Tuesday - Saturday inclusive.
Tel: 353 86 821 1225
Booking Form: https://www.secure247.eu/dinglehorseriding/?page_id=4