Taking the horse on hols...

Holidaying in Ireland with your horse might just be the job this year

IDEAL SETTING: Cantering across the lake at the glorious CastleLeslie in Co Monaghan
IDEAL SETTING: Cantering across the lake at the glorious CastleLeslie in Co Monaghan
SPECTACULAR: The views in Connemara from horseback are truly spectacular and offer the perfect getaway for the holiday season
Siobhan English

Siobhan English

If you are holidaying in Ireland later this year and don't fancy spending your time sightseeing by car, or sitting on a beach waiting for the sun to appear, why not bring your horse along to some of the best equestrian destinations this country has to offer and make the most of our weather, hail – rain or shine.

Let's face it, horse owners are unlikely to take a riding holiday in Ireland riding a stranger's horse, but if it's your own, the idea seems far more appealing.

As well as being something completely different for yourself, the change of scenery will certainly benefit your horse's mental health.

So, instead of leaving your horse at home this year, why not load up your horsebox and head for the wilds of Connemara, gorgeous woodland trails in Monaghan, or a cosy campfire in Wicklow.

We take a look at three great locations in Ireland – all offering completely different packages to suit all tastes.

Co Monaghan

Without doubt, this is one of the most beautiful locations in Ireland and a night's stay in the castle is an amazing treat.

There's also the option of staying in the nearby Lodge, the Village Cottages, or the self-catering Old Stable Mews deep in the woodland on this 1,000-acre estate.

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The Lodge overlooks the stableyard, where your horse will also receive the best of everything during his stay.

Avail of the cross-country course, or simply hack along the countless bridleways. The choice is yours.

A one-night stay with bed and breakfast (horse livery included) starts at €130. See www.castleleslie.com.

Connemara Escapes

This exciting new venture is the brainchild of Caitriona Goaley and her husband, Ciaran Mac Con Iomaire.

They have created riding holidays with a difference in the most beautiful part of Ireland and Irish culture plays a major role in each package.

Not only will you enjoy this wild landscape from the back of your horse, but you will also get to visit places such the Killary Fjord and learn about shellfish harvesting.

It is amazing the amount of Irish people who have never had a tour of Kylemore Abbey. Now is your chance.

The accommodation is second to none, with fine dining included at Ballynahinch Castle, Renvyle House Hotel, and Cashel House Hotel.

'Bring Your Own Horse' packages start at €350 for two nights' accommodation and three days' riding.

This includes full-board for horse and rider.

See www.connemaraequestrianescapes.com.

Co Wicklow

The Munny Trail in Shillelagh, Co Wicklow was launched several years ago and this cross-country course has proven to be hugely popular with all levels of riders.

A new attraction is the overnight tented accommodation, so riders can now turn it into a mini holiday if they wish.

Glamping is the new craze across Ireland for walkers and cyclists, but this is the first glamping site to cater for horses. Accommodation is very affordable and starts at €35 per person sharing.

Each yurt and tent sleeps four people and is ideal for groups of friends looking for a fun weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Stable your horse for just €10 a night, light up the barbecue and relax by the campfire. Sheer bliss. To contact email: the.munny.trail@gmail.com

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