Coast Trail

Connemara/Galway Ireland: (IT-IRRT02C)

Connemara/Galway Ireland
Enjoy the fresh and salty breeze from the Atlantic Ocean as you trek through the contrasting landscape of the beautiful Connemara region of Ireland. The Connemara is a wild and barren region west of the city of Galway. It is a stunning patchwork of bogs, lonely valleys, pale grey mountains and small lakes that shimmer when the sun shines. This ride explores the coast where the mountains meet the sea in a maze of rocky islands, inlets and sparkling white beaches.
The Connemara is a land both wild and tame, a vast region where you will meet a very special man, Willie Leahy, who will be your guide during your week or more of trekking through the Gaelic West. For beginners and experienced riders alike, Willie matches you with suitable horse as your partner and leads you to the discovery of the very special and old Coast Trail. 


This is a progressive ride, so nights will be spent in different locations. 

You can opt to stay in various guesthouses or hotels during your stay. All rooms are based on double/ twin occupancy. Please note those booking guesthouse accommodation may sometimes stay in small hotels depending on the availability of guest house room availability. Exact lodging will be confirmed 2 weeks before the trip's start. 

Hotel Accommodations - subject to changes based on availability
All hotel options have rooms with private baths. WIFI is available in all hotels. Laundry facilities are available at some of the hotels for an average price of 8 Euro per load.
Night 1 & 2: Carna Bay Hotel in Carna
Night 3 & 4: Zetland Hotel in Cashel Bay
Night 5 & 6: Loughrea Hotel and Spa in Loughrea

Carna Bay Hotel in Carna
This small hotel offers comfortable and modern accommodation in the heart of Connemara. The rooms all come with free Wi-Fi, a TV and a private bathroom.
Laundry services are available at this property.

Zetland Hotel in Cashel Bay
This impressive country house is located on the edge of the Cashel Bay, surrounded by a typical Connemara landscape. Each bedroom is individually decorated with antiques, giving the hotel a charming atmosphere. All rooms are fitted with a television, telephone, private bathroom with hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities. Wireless internet is available in common areas. Guests can go for a walk in the garden to enjoy the beautiful view over the coast.

Loughrea Hotel and Spa in Loughrea
This hotel offers amazing views of the nearby lake and provides stylish accommodations. The rooms all come fitted with a flat screen TV, a kettle, ensuite bathrooms and free Wi-Fi access.
The property also offers spa services at an extra cost.
Laundry services are available at this property.

Guesthouse Accommodations - subject to changes based on availability
Rooms with private baths in all accommodations except last 2 nights.
Night 1, 2, 3 (& possibly 4): Sonas B&B in Carna
Night 4: Sonas B&B in Carna or Marion Keane near Maam Cross
Night 5 & 6: Guesthouse in Loughrea

Sonas B&B in Carna
This charming B&B offers 4 simply decorated guestrooms, all fitted with a TV, tea & coffee making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and a private bathroom with hairdryer. The house benefits from a lovely view toward Finish and Mynish islands.

Marion Keane near Maam Cross
This lovely farmhouse welcomes you with tastefully decorated bedrooms all with private bathroom.
The house has 2 common areas where guest can relax, play pool, watch TV or read a book. There is Wi-Fi access and laundry services available at this property.

Fairhillhouse in Loughrea
This small guesthouse has been run by the same family since 1830. It offers guest 20 ensuite bedrooms, all equipped with a kettle, a TV and free Wi-Fi access.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we are unable to find another rider to share.
Triple occupancy is only available for the hotel option.

All meals are included from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 7.

Start each day with a hearty Irish breakfast complete with hot porridge, fruit, yogurt, muesli, brown bread, bacon, sausage, eggs, and toast along with juices, coffee and tea.
Picnic lunches are provided along the trail. Picnics consist of bread, cheeses, cold meats, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cookies and various sodas, tea, and coffee. You will prepare your sandwiches in the morning yourself.
Evening meals are at the B&B's or hotel’s restaurant. Meals are wonderful and are typically four courses with a variety of dishes and choices.

Dietary Restrictions
Vegetarian or other dietary requests can be accommodated with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Rider Requirements
Participants must be able to gather, catch, tack and untack the horses, mount and dismount unassisted.
Riders need to be comfortably at a walk, long trots, canters and short gallops, riding up and down rocky hills, for 5-6 hours a day. We also ask riders to be independent as there is little direction or instruction given while on the ride. Finally, you should be flexible; the outfitter does not run on a strict schedule
Please note there can be novice riders joining the riding group!

Your host maintains approximately 200 horses, each very fit, willing to walk out and well-suited for the terrain. These Irish Hunters and Connemara ponies of varying sizes are known over the world over for their fantastic jumping ability, gentleness, intelligence and stamina. There is a horse to suit every rider’s needs. The outfitter knows his horses well and is adept at matching horse and rider.
The horses are not groomed as they live outside during the summer. However, riders are welcome to bring a small brush if they wish to groom and tidy before riding.
The first day will take at least an hour to select horses and get organized due to the size of the group. After gathering the horses, riders are asked to select a bridle and spend a brief time speaking with the outfitter about the size, temperament and preferences for a mount. Once a horse is chosen for the rider, he is asked to lead the horse to the tack trailer, select a saddle, saddle the horse and check the stirrup length and girth tightness. At lunch stops, the horses are untacked and are released to graze. After lunch, the horses are caught and tacked.

English tack is used for this trip. There are no saddlebags available, however, there are D Rings on the front of the saddle providing loops that a rain jacket or sweater can be tied to with leather thongs, Velcro or string. Water is not provided on the trail and it is suggested that a waist pouch with a water bottle be worn.

Riding Terrain
In the mountains, riders are advised to follow the guide rather their own path. The mountains can be quite boggy and rocky and the guide has years of experience in seeking a trail through them. The same applies on the beach, please stay behind the guide so that they can set the pace and route.

Guide and Staff
Willie is the very incarnation of an Irish horseman and will be your guide during a week of trekking through the Gaelic West. Your luggage is brought by car from accommodation to accommodation, while the catering problems are taken care of by other members of the team.

This trip is not confined to horse lovers. On demand, many activities such as river fishing and deep-sea fishing, golf, cycling, mountain climbing or walking the little deserted roads, swimming etc. can be organized. Non-riders will meet their riding partners every evening to share their daily experience in the hotel pub.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Monday): Toombeola to Shannadonnell
Meet at 10 am in Galway at the Meyrick Hotel (formerly Great Southern). The ride begins at Toombeola from where we ride over Cashel Hill and have lunch overlooking the sea near Bolgers where there was once a shop and pub. After lunch we ride along the road for about 15 min until we turn into a side road where we pass the Zetland Hotel. After another hour we leave the horses in Willie’s mountain in Shannadonnell for the night.
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Carna Bay Hotel or Sonas B&B in Carna

Day 2 (Tuesday): Shannadonnell to Mweenish
Drive into Willies mountain to catch and tack up the horses. Then we ride along beautiful lakes in Willies mountain and enjoy the stunning views of the landscape and vegetation. After we cross over the mountain, which takes about 1.5 hrs, we will we have lunch by a lake. After lunch we make our way off the mountain towards the sea, where depending on the tide, we either ride to Mweenish where we may leave the horses for the night, or ride out to Mweenish Island.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Carna Bay Hotel or Sonas B&B in Carna

Day 3 (Wednesday): Carna Bay
Depending on the tide, we ride out to Mweenish Island this morning (if not done yesterday) and explore the different beaches here or alternative we ride to Finish Island. After coming back on shore from the Island, lunch is eaten usually at Willies beach house. After lunch we can enjoy cantering on the beach and explore the sea side around Carna Village.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Zetland Hotel in Cashel Bay or Sonas B&B in Carna

Day 4 (Thursday): Mweenish to Derryrush
We ride from Mweenish into Carna village along little lane ways where we get over mountains with beautiful lakes and overlooking the sea. We will have lunch at the water tower. After lunch we ride up a quiet high mountain which overlooks Kilkerrin where there is a salmon farm. This brings us down to a road where we have to ride for about an hour to get to Derryrush.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Zetland Hotel in Cashel Bay or Sonas B&B in Carna or Marion Keane near Maam Cross

Day 5 (Friday): Derryrush to Rosmuck
This is a new ride and may change a bit going forward. We ride from Derryrush to Rosmuck village which is still along the coast and we have quiet an early lunch because we will have along ride in the afternoon over a beautiful moutnain looking over screebe lodge and the very famous screebe fishery. That’s brings us to the end of Friday where we have about one hour to get to oughterard once we come off the mountain.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Loughrea Hotel and Spa or Guesthouse in

Day 6 (Saturday): Dartfield Horse Museum
Spend the day at Willie's Dartfield Horse museum. Riders can trail ride around the museum, or test their skill on the cross country course. The event course has fences to suit all levels, from beginner to the advanced riders so everyone will have fun and the chance to improve their riding and jumping skills. Riders have the opportunity to look around the museum, which is dedicated to the Irish horse and Connemara Pony and is the only one of its kind in the world.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Loughrea Hotel and Spa or Guesthouse in

Day 7 (Sunday): Departure
Departure after breakfast. Please note that on your last day after the trail, you will depart from Loughrea.
Meals included: Breakfast

There are many things in the area for non-riders to do. They include river fishing, deep-sea fishing, golf, cycling, mountain climbing, walking, and swimming. There are also many interesting castles and other sites to see in the area. Non-riders should have a rental car for greatest flexibility.

Rates and Dates for Coast Trail

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals & 6 riding days
Helmets can be provided if requested in advance

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20227 day trip, AP - Hotel (high)€1840$2210
    • Single supplement€250$300
  • B
    20227 day trip, AP - Guesthouse (high)€1730$2075
    • Single supplement€200$240
  • C
    20227 day trip, AP - Hotel (low)€1800$2160
    • Single supplement€250$300
  • D
    20227 day trip, AP - Guesthouse (low)€1660$1995
    • Single supplement€200$240
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2022 Meet in Galway on Monday morning at 10:00 am
2022 Non-rider - 50% off

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
C 2022 05/02 - 05/08 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (low) 4 /15 Reserve
D 2022 05/02 - 05/08 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
D 2022 05/16 - 05/22 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
C 2022 05/16 - 05/22 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (low) 4 /15 Reserve
C 2022 05/30 - 06/05 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (low) 4 /15 Reserve
D 2022 05/30 - 06/05 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
D 2022 06/13 - 06/19 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
C 2022 06/13 - 06/19 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (low) 4 /15 Reserve
A 2022 06/27 - 07/03 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (high... 4 /15 Reserve
B 2022 06/27 - 07/03 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
B 2022 07/25 - 07/31 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
A 2022 07/25 - 07/31 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (high... 4 /15 Reserve
A 2022 08/08 - 08/14 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (high... 4 /15 Reserve
B 2022 08/08 - 08/14 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
B 2022 08/22 - 08/28 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
A 2022 08/22 - 08/28 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (high... 4 /15 Reserve
C 2022 09/05 - 09/11 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (low) 4 /15 Reserve
D 2022 09/05 - 09/11 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
D 2022 09/19 - 09/25 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Guesthouse ... 4 /15 Reserve
C 2022 09/19 - 09/25 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Hotel (low) 4 /15 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Transfers & Gratuities


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

For Coast Trail Connemara (IT-IRRT02C):

We offer to every customer the possibility to reschedule their trip at a later date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As long as travel is not free again between countries there won't be any trails in 2021.

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

Other Info
Meeting: Galway Hotel
Airport: Shannon
Transfer: Galway Hotel at 10:00am

                                            Galway 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.

The rain is usually a light drizzle of short duration which does not interfere with your riding as long as you have rain-wear suitable for riding. Please note, however, to bring either rain jackets and trousers, or long duster coats - riding capes (ponchos) are not permitted.

What To Bring:
In Ireland riding helmets are mandatory. The riding center has several models to choose from, but you might be better off to bring your own that fits.

A client's helmet will need to meet one of these standards:
  • PAS 015:1998
  • SNELL E2001
  • ASTM F1163
  • AS/NZS3838 2003
  • VG1 01.040 2014-12
Riders must wear hard hats, which can be rented at a minimal cost, and suitable footwear! Regular riding wear (jodphur, boots, helmet) or chaps and leggings with short boots are also acceptable. Riding gloves, rain-gear, a warm wind jacket and a sweater should also be included in the riding wardrobe, as Irish weather can be unpredictable.

Comfortable clothing - there is no dress code.

  • Jodhpurs or comfortable jeans – long hours are spent in the saddle, don't bring pants that will rub!
  • Long riding boots (leather or rubber) or short boots and chaps. Training and running shoes are not safe riding wear!
  • Pair of boot laces – you can use these to tie coats to the front of your saddle when not being worn.
  • The trail doesn’t use saddle bags, but feel free to bring your own if you want to carry cameras etc. We prefer saddle pads with pockets built in, or ones that sling over the horse.
  • Rain gear. Either waterproof trousers and jacket, or long riding coat. Definitely no capes! All rain gear should be lightweight, but hard wearing.
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
Cell phone rental is available and can be pre-booked through:

This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Personal Travel Insurance
Visa (check with your consulate)


Jodhpurs or comfortable jeans (used if possible!)
Long riding boots: leather or rubber or boots and mini chaps.
Riding helmet  (mandatory)
Riding gloves
Windproof Jacket/Wax Jacket
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
Lightweight Waterproof pants and jacket or long riding coast. No capes


Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Underwear and socks
Bag for dirty clothes
Warm jacket
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sewing kit
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra batteries
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm