Donegal North Explorer

Donegal Ireland: (IT-IRDON1)

Donegal Ireland
On this new ride we explore the most north-westerly part of the rugged island of Ireland - taking you through an amazing variety of terrain, high into the mountains, gallop over isolated beaches and meander through regions where Irish is still the first language.

The trails will take you along miles of beautiful coastline of secluded sandy beaches and coves. You will climb high into the mountains meander through moors and bog and traverse isolated sand dunes with views of the sea and headlands. Each day you will take a different trail where you will discover contrasting landscapes. For example – The Famine Trail. Leaving the coast for a day with a packed lunch you will head towards the impressive Muckish Mountain, traversing old tracks built one hundred and fifty years ago during the famine that will take you into eerie silence, only horses can use the tracks as they were originally for horses the only mode
The rider becomes eternally bonded to the magnificent beauty of this region, never to be forgotten. Combined with the best Grade A accommodation and food in the area, the most knowledgeable of guides and of course the finest of equine stock, this is an essential equestrian experience for everyone with a love of horses and the outdoors.

Your lodgings are situated on the shores of Sheephaven Bay, in the beautiful village of Dunfanaghy, County Donegal. The hotel enjoys panoramic views of the Bay and the striking scenery of Horn Head with spectacular walks and many hidden attractions is home to a variety of seabirds that can be spotted off the cliffs. Just a short stroll from the hotel and the golden sands of Killyhoey Strand await you. Here is the place to unwind as you absorb the beauty of a landscape never to be forgotten. The en-suite bedrooms are tastefully furnished to a high standard. You will enjoy quality cuisine complimented by excellent wines in the relaxed ambience of the 'Tramore Restaurant'. Friendly efficient service, quality cuisine and warm hospitality are the hallmarks of the family owned and managed hotel.
Nothing has been forgotten to ensure that this is the best week of your horse riding life!


This is a stationary ride where all nights are spent at the same location.

Your lodging with be at a lovely country hotel in Dunfanaghy at the north-west corner of the Donegal region of Ireland. The hotel is overlooking the spectacular scenery of Sheephaven Bay.
The family hotel was established in 1922 and the current owners are proud to carry on the tradition of welcoming guests and providing a unique holiday experience in one of the most beautiful locations in Ireland.

The rooms are tastefully decorated and all come equipped with ensuite facilites, television, tea and hospitality tray. A number of rooms have views of Sheephaven Bay and Killahoey Beach whilst others enjoy views of the mature walled gardens.

Please note all rooms are non-smoking rooms.

Room Occupancy
If we are unable to find another rider to share the room with you, a single supplement fee applied.
Single room accommodations are subject to availability.

All meals are included with your trip.

You will experience high quality Irish cuisine served in the relaxed ambience of the Seascapes restaurant with spectacular views of Sheephaven Bay. A wide variety of dishes using high quality fish, Irish meats – steak, pork, lamb, poultry - as well as vegetarian dishes are cooked from freshly prepared ingredients using mainly local produce. The desserts are freshly prepared in the kitchen using our home grown fruits from the hotel gardens e.g. Rhubarb, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, Apples and Pears are all used in our home baked desserts, jams and preserves. Popular home baked desserts include Pavlova, Apple Pie and Rhubarb crumble. Home baked wheaten bread, shortbread, fruit cakes and scones served with fresh cream and homemade jams are a real treat which all our customers enjoy.

The restaurant wine list has been compiled to compliment your dining experience and has an exciting range of old and new world wines (not included in price). 

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to all dietary restrictions with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Experience
To enjoy the trail it is recommended that you can canter with comfort.

We have a varied selection of horses to suit people with all levels of horse-riding ability, from little Shetland ponies for the tiny tots to Connemara ponies, quiet cobs, Irish hunters, all of which are sure footed when crossing the mountain paths and willing on the beaches.

The stables located on the grounds the Hotel and has been in operation for over 30 years. It is now managed by John and Helen along with their daughter Niamh. John is a third generation Master Farrier and Helen is an approved instructor with the British Horse Society and the Association of Irish Riding Establishments. Helen also has a qualification in stud management from the Irish National Stud management where she studied in her early years of training.


Sample Itinerary -
subject to changes

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
You will arrive at the hotel in the afternoon, where you will meet your hosts Derek and Gerarda. After check in, you can relax and explore the village or simply unwind with a gentle stroll along Killahoey Strand just a few minutes walk from the hotel. The quaint whitewashed yard of stables is literally up the garden path beside the old Lookout Tower. Call up to the Stables and meet Helen and the welcoming staff who will introduce you to your horse which Helen has selected for you from the information you have provided. In the evening you will enjoy dinner at your leisure, complemented by fine wines in the Tramore Restaurant overlooking Sheephaven Bay and Horn Head.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at country hotel in Dunfanaghy

Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
After breakfast, stroll through the magnificent gardens and meet your horse and guide at the stables, conveniently located in the hotel grounds. The morning is given over to assessment to ensure each rider and horse is suitably matched. This ride consists of an hour on the beach and the second hour ambling up an incline skirting the forest to the top of Horn Head allowing the rider to soak in the beautiful scenery and panoramic views of Sheephaven Bay and its wonderful patchwork of rugged coastline and sandy secluded strands, the Derryveagh Mountain Range with impressive Muckish Mountain andMount Errigal, Portnablagh and the charming coastal village of Dunfanaghy itself. This ride is permitted by the tide as you need to be able to cross the bay to reach Horn Head. Return to the hotel for lunch. You will have the afternoon free to explore the village or just relax.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at country hotel in Dunfanaghy

Day 3 (Monday): Muckish Mountain Ride
Leaving the coast for a day, with a packed lunch, we head towards the impressive Muckish Mountain. Traversing old tracks built 150 years ago during the famine takes us into eerie silence, only horses can use the tracks as they were originally built for them. Nowadays they are overgrown but serve our purpose very well. As we get closer to this mountain, we come into the now dismantled Falcarragh-Burtonport railway, made famous by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in the film 'The Railway Man'. The surface is ideal for long canters. After lunch we cross three rivers by means of ancient fords. We hack amid a patchwork of stonewalls and quiet country lanes, taking us in the direction of Errarooey, where the horses overnight in a green pasture. The horses have one of the most awe inspiring wild view, (although they'd never realise it as they happily munch on the sweet grass after a long day), they overlook the Atlantic, heavenly golden beaches and Tory Island, legendary Kingdom of the Celtic cyclops Balor of the Evil Eye. Our tired riders return to the hotel for a well deserved dinner and overnight.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at country hotel in Dunfanaghy

Day 4 (Tuesday): Ride back to the Stables
After a hearty Irish breakfast riders are reunited with their horses who have a belly full of summer's sweet grass at Errarooey. Tidal and weather conditions permitting, the day starts with another long memorable canter on the beach. Today's ride is a contrast from the wild and remote heather clad hills as we experience the diversity of the countryside. We walk past old farm buildings, along a small twisty country lane with grass growing in the middle of it to get to some rough pasture and farmland by the sea. We cling to the hillside as we cross a high headland, the intense beauty of the Atlantic ocean and the high rocky cliffs, as we turn a corner the view of Tramore beach below is an unforgettable sight. As we descend the anticipation of the canter on the beach is felt. Cantering along the waters edge as the waves crash is long awaited. We have worked up a great hunger and so happily return for a well deserved lunch.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at country hotel in Dunfanaghy

Day 5 (Wednesday): Free Day (no riding)
This day is yours to relax and unwind, with plenty of things to do in Dunfanaghy, why not take a stroll around the village and visit The Workhouse and the variety of exclusive Irish Craft shops all within walking distance of the hotel. If you enjoy walking, you can choose from the many beautiful local walks in the area from the publication 'Rambles in Dunfanaghy' which is available at reception. We can also arrange fishing trips, bicycle hire with ordanance survey map and suggested routes, which will allow you to explore some of the scenic beauty spots around Sheephaven Bay and Horn Head. If you would prefer a leisurely round of golf around the breathtaking scenery of Dunfanaghy Links Course, just five minutes from the hotel, we can also arrange this for you.
The village has several speciality shops for you to browse through at your leisure. The Tweed 'n' Fashion/Crafts Shop has a fine selection of quality Irish garments and crafts for sale as well as a fine range of Irish made Chutneys, Jams and Irish made chocolates.
Muck'n'Muffins produce individually designed handmade pottery on site. You can also choose from the wide range of pottery available and just to round it off, you can enjoy a cappuccino upstairs in the cosy teashop overlooking Sheephaven Bay.  Just outside the village we have The Workhouse, first opened on the eve of the Great Famine in 1845 with an exhibition of the harrowing experiences of the famine victims. You can also purchase Irish made crafts in the craft shop and enjoy a coffee and home bakes in the coffee shop. Next door The Gallery/Craft shop has a fine exhibition of paintings by various artists, including the famous watercolour artist Frank Eggington as well as Irish crafts for sale.
Virginia's Health Studio, Portnablagh. Virginia specialises in personal health treatments including Reflexology, Swedish Massage, Reiki and Stress management.
Narosa School of Surf Why not get out on one of the fantastic local blue flag beaches with Narosa? Fantastically fun and fully qualified instructors help you into your first waves, they provide all the just bring along some suncream and a towel!
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight at country hotel in Dunfanaghy

Day 6 (Thursday): Sheephaven Bay Ride
Today the trail ride takes us through meandering country lanes bordered by weathered stonewalls, overlooking the indescribable view of Sheephaven Bay. With Port na Blagh (the Port of Many Colours) picturesquely sheltered against the Atlantic. We have an exhilerating canter along the strand at Marble Hill to open up the pipes. As we progress through the day, we leave behind the coastal scene and approach the rugged expanse of the Derryveagh Mountains. We ride under the shadow of the mighty Muckish Mountain and its foothills, where the Golden Eagle reigns supreme. We follow abandoned railway tracks through the wilderness with nothing but sheep to block the way.
We descend out of the mountains returning to the coast, to home just in time for dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at country hotel in Dunfanaghy

Day 7 (Friday): Tramore Beach Ride
As we saddle up for the final day of the Trail Ride, mixed emotions overcome the group. We head back over to the ever stretching strand of Tramore - a wild and windswept affair that impresses those who make the journey. We have a last glance of the natural beauty of Donegal, we hear the final thunder of our horses hooves across Tramore's golden sand...
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at country hotel in Dunfanaghy

Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Departure after breakfast
Meals included: Breakfast

Rates and Dates for Donegal North Explorer

Rates include:

Accommodations in standard rooms, Most meals & 5 riding days
Non Riders: Accommodations & Most meals
Boots and helmet can be provided

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20218 day Ride (high)€1770$2110
    • Non-rider discount(€850)($1005)
  • B
    20218 day Ride (mid)€1695$2020
    • Non-rider discount(€825)($975)
  • C
    20218 day Ride (low)€1610$1920
    • Non-rider discount(€780)($920)
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.19

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2021 Transfer to/from Dublin, per car (1-4 passengers), per way
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
290 $345
2021 Transfer to/from Donegal airport, per car (1-4 passengers), per way
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
60 $75
2021 Single supplement 230 $275
2021 Superior Room Upgrade, pp 230 $275
2021 Transfers available from other cities/airports - please inquire
- to be paid locally
0 $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 08/14 - 08/21 8d / 7n 8 day Ride (high) 4 /10 Expired
A 2021 08/27 - 09/03 8d / 7n 8 day Ride (high) 4 /10 Expired
B 2021 09/03 - 09/10 8d / 7n 8 day Ride (mid) 4 /10 Expired
B 2021 09/18 - 09/25 8d / 7n 8 day Ride (mid) 4 /10 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Lunch on Day 5, Drinks & Transfers


Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Donegal North Explorer Ride (IT-IRDON1):

The hotel and stables had all the safety measures in place in 2020 and will continue with these measures when they open again this year.
At the moment the hotel is closed and we do hope to reopen in March but it will depend on the restrictions in place.
I guess for Modifying and Cancellation Conditions we will have a better idea once we are back open again.

All our team have received rigorous training and at all times there will be a Covid representative on the premises should you have any queries or concerns. Further, we have a Covid-19 Operating Team who will monitor and amend the policies as required to ensure that we always have your safety and that of our team in mind.

• We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all areas with special attention given to high use touch points in line with recommendations from the government.
• Hand sanitising stations have been set up in all entry and exit points of the hotel.
• Some of our team may wear PPE if deemed necessary for some tasks and in accordance with the hotel’s policy.
• In addition to the advised hand washing routine, our team will be using hand sanitisation gels rated above 60% alcohol.
• All linens and towels have been laundered to the highest standard in accordance with HSE guidelines.
• All areas of your accommodation have been deep cleaned and sanitised by our trained team with enhanced cleaning of high use touch points.
• Some items such as reading materials and soft furnishing have been removed for health and safety reasons but don’t worry, we are here to help in whatever way we can.
• Lobby and Restaurant areas will be rearranged to adhere to social distancing measures and our team are implementing new reservation procedures in line with the recommended
• Breakfast will be an A La Carte menu served at the table and it will require pre-booking. Or why not treat yourself to breakfast in bed? You deserve it!

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at

Other Info
Meeting: Dunfanaghy
Airport: Donegal (CFN), Derry
Transfer: Transfers can be arranged by taxi from multiple cities (to be paid locally).

                                            Letterkenny area














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Source: NOAA


The weather is mild but changeable and rain can be expected at any time of the year. Parts of the country are oceanic, and as you move further away from the coast the conditions become slightly more temperature- however the prevailing factor across the whole country is that few temperature extremes are experienced.

Ireland is affected by the North Atlantic Drift, so this has a moderating affect on the climate and keeps winter in Ireland warmer than places of similar latitudes. Its northerly location, however, means that summers never get particular hot either. The climate is generally fairly typical of an insular climate and is moderated by the moist winds that blow across the island. These winds prevail from the south west, off the Atlantic, and can reach particular high speeds at times of the year.

On the whole the west coast is much wetter than the east coast. Inland Ireland gets warmer in the summer months than the coastal region, though on the flipside it also gets much colder in the winter. These temperature differences are not that great, with central Ireland only being a few degrees cooler than the coast. In the center of the country across the year will record about 40 days below freezing, however on the coast the mercury will only fall below 0 C (32 F) on average 10 days per year.

What To Bring:
A client's helmet will need to meet one of these standards:
  • EN 1384:1996
  • PAS 015:1998
  • SNELL E2001
  • ASTM F1163
  • BSEN 14572
  • BSEN 1384:1997
Regular riding wear (jodphur, boots, helmet). Chaps and leggings with short boots are also acceptable. Riding gloves, raingear, warm wind jacket and a sweater should also be included in riding wardrobe, as Irish weather can be unpredictable. In Ireland riding helmets are mandatory. The riding centre has several models to choose from, but you might be better off to bring your own that fits.
Otherwise comfortable clothing - there is no dress code. Cell phone rental is available and can be pre-booked through

If you are traveling from the USA you may wish to check out unlocking your cell phone to use and Irish SIM card. Check out or


This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets


Visa (check with your consulate)



Riding pants or Jodhpurs (used if possible!)

Riding boots (there will be contact with salt water on the beach) + Minichaps

Riding helmet  (mandatory)

Riding gloves

Rain coat/Wax jacket, possibly some overpants

Seat saver (possibly)



Jacket or sweater for cool evenings

Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts



Underwear and socks


Light summer jacket

Warm jacket

Comfortable shoes/sneakers




Personal Toiletries

Insect protection

Personal medications

Sore cream (for the emergency)

Sewing kit


Adapter for electric appliances

Camera and enough extra batteries

Belt pack

Address book and pen (for postcards!)

Sun glasses with strap

Sun tan lotion and lip balm (for the ever hopeful)