Atlantic to Markree

Sligo Ireland: (IT-IRSR01)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/ireland_markree_castle_ride.aspx

Introduction
Sligo Ireland
This ride explores the unspoiled Irish coastline, with its sandy beaches, deserted islands, mountains and forests of this most beautiful area of Western Ireland. Nestled between Knocknarea mountain and Union forest, on the Atlantic coast of Ireland, sits Carrowmore, site of one of the oldest collections of Megalithic tombs and burial chambers, some dating to 3500 B.C. This area is said to be the first site settled by man in Ireland.

This special corner of Ireland is not only home to prehistoric tombs but also to Irelands' foremost equestrian centre with excellent quality facilities, professional guiding and safe and well trained riding horses. From the endless Atlantic beaches for galloping to the green mountains and pine forests for gentle hacking, this truly is a horseman's paradise. The rides each day vary and are a mixture of all the gaits (walk, trot, canter with some lovely gallops), so you need to have a good seat and be able to control a horse in the wide open spaces.
While some riding days are far more relaxing, some days will be quite strenuous, so you should probably ride a few times before coming out on this adventure to be prepared as this will allow you maximum enjoyment and comfort. 

Friday is a sightseeing day and we will take you to visit all the places of interest and historical significance of this ancient region of Ireland, including a visit to Parkes Castle (a 14th century castle restored by the Irish government) and Yeat's Grave in Drumcliff. For those who wish to, we can  also organize a trip to the famous Celtic Seaweed baths (extra).

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride where nights are spent in different locations.

Description
Accommodations will be in nice hotels. Our accommodation is in twin rooms, please state if you are willing to share a room as many of our riders travel alone and would like to share accommodation.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Nights 1, 2, 3 & 4: Glasshouse Hotel in Sligo town centre
Nights 5 & 6: Strandhill Lodge and Suites Hotel

Glasshouse Hotel
It is a modern 4 star hotel built directly on the Garavogue river. Towering dramatically over the banks of the Garavogue river, The Glasshouse is the first design hotel of its kind in Ireland - a glittering beacon of quirkiness and color, in the center of one of Ireland's emerging vibrant and scenic cities. Through cutting-edge design and architecture, The Glasshouse has set a completely new standard of luxury accommodation.
Around every corner is a new surprise. An exciting journey that blends groovy with chic: through swirls of dazzling colors, retro-patterns and bright canvasses, across psychedelic carpets and shimmering windows.
The Glasshouse Breakfast Buffet is served in 'The Kitchen' each morning, and consists of fruit salads, juices, muesli, and a wide selection of breads and pastries. A full Irish Breakfast with fresh coffee or tea is also available.

Strandhill Lodge and Suites Hotel 
This is a 4 star boutique hotel with spectacular sea views within walking distance of sea and all restaurants and bars.
The hotel has 22 rooms of varying size. All rooms come with a view and overlook either Strandhill Golf Course, the Atlantic ocean or Strandhill village. Rooms all come equipped with a TV, private facilities and modern furnishings. There is free Wi-Fi  access.

Room Occupancy
If you are a solo traveler, please, state if you are willing to share a room as many of our riders travel alone and would like to share accommodation.


Meals
All Breakfast are included in this trip as well as 2 light lunches.

Breakfast is provided in the hotel each morning.
A light snack is also provided on Monday and Wednesday, and on the other days we stop at local pubs where one can can get lunch or a snack.

Dinners are not included. We purposely do not include dinner meals as part of the trip, because we want you to have the freedom each evening to explore the many restaurants in Sligo during the week and enjoy the social night atmosphere that Ireland is so well known for.
There are many restaurants and pubs in Sligo to suit all budgets. Main dish from 10-25 €. Lunches should be about €5. In the evening one can explore the restaurants and pubs in Sligo town and Strandhill seaside village, they are all within a 5 minute walk of the hotel. There are many restaurants there to suit all budgets and tastes. We are happy to recommend restaurants to guests and will happily advise of best pubs for traditional Irish Music.

Riding

Riding Experience
On the trail, the riders have a hugely diverse riding terrain, forests, mountains and Atlantic shore beaches. Our trail rides are described as intermediate level riding and riders need to be able to control a horse in canter in an open area riding in a group! Some days are quite strenuous while others are more relaxing. We much prefer if riders ride a few times per week prior to coming on a trail ride to build up their condition.
 
Horses
We have about 50 horses including Irish hunters, Cobs and Connemara ponies, of varying sizes. They are easily ridden, are used to the terrain and to having different riders each week.

Hard Hats
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.

Restrictions
Riders should be over 18 years old (unless accompanied by an adult) and there is a weight restriction of 100 kilos.

Riding Center Facilities
1 large indoor hall, 55m x 30m,
2 outdoor all weather rings 80m x 35m 45m x 25m,
3 cross country jumping courses, 1 novice and 1 intermediate and one all weather course.
There is a saddlery/equestrian clothing shop and a comfortable club house overlooking the indoor hall.

Staff
The director and owner is a former European Showjumping Silver Medalist and a member of the Irish equestrian team for many years.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
Guests arrive in Sligo and are welcomed by Declan our trail manager.
After a short discussion reaffirming the riding abilities and requirements of the riders, guests are shown to their guest rooms.
Meals included: none
Accommodation tonight is in Sligo Glasshouse Hotel.

Day 2 (Monday): Introductory Ride
Riders are mounted in a large indoor ring (around 10:30am) and are introduced to their mount for the week. Declan and Eugene, the trail guides, spend the next hour or so evaluating the horses and riders and their compatibility. The group are then taken out to the nearby trails to test the control of the riders outside. After a light lunch we go for a 2 hour ride outside.
We ride to Knocknarea mountain and we climb to the summit to the grave of one of Ireland’s greatest warriors, Queen Maeve (circa 3500 b.c.). From this vantage point one can really appreciate the beauty of this corner of the Emerald Isle.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Accommodation tonight is in Sligo Glasshouse Hotel.


Day 3 (Tuesday): Ride to Markree Castle
After a leisurly breakfast, riders have time to explore Sligo town and do some shopping.
Our ride today starts at 12:30pm from Carrowmore through Union forest (a large pine forest) and goes along old forest paths into Markree Castle estate. We ride through the castle grounds and to the castle stables where the horses will spend the night.
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation in Sligo Glasshouse Hotel.

Day 4 (Wednesday): Ride back to Carrowmore
Our morning ride starts at about 10:30am and takes us around the grounds of Markree Castle where we can see the remains of the old houses where the Irish peasants lived in the times when the English ruled this beautiful island. We'll have a short lunch at the castle stables and then begin our ride back to Carrowmore through Ballygawley forest where we can see the wild deer grazing.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Accommodation is in Sligo Glasshouse Hotel.


Day 5 (Thursday): Beach Ride
Have a large breakfast this morning because we don’t stop for lunch.
Before riding at 10:30am we'll take an escorted tour through the Carrowmore megalithic cemetery (circa 4000 b.c.).
Today's ride is an exhilarating beach ride across Cumeen Strand to Coney Island, a small island in Sligo Bay.
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation is in Strandill Lodge and Suites Hotel.


Day 6 (Friday): Sightseeing (no riding)
Today is the chance to relax after 4 days riding and recharge the batteries for the final day. Riders are tourists today and our organized escorted tour visits all the places of interest and historical significance of this ancient corner of Ireland, including a visit to Parkes castle (a 14th century castle restored by the Irish government) and Yeat's grave in Drumcliff.
For those who wish, we can organize a trip to the famous Celtic Seaweed baths (extra cost).
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation is in Strandhill Lodge and Suites Hotel.

Day 7 (Saturday): Beaches Ride
As today's ride is on the beaches our start time will vary. We usually try to start from around 10:30am.
Our last day’s ride is spent all on the beaches. We ride all around the Knocknarea peninsula from Kelly’s town to Culleenamore beach along the strand at Strandhill onto Cumeen Strand across to Carty’s strand. This is a truly fantastic day’s ride, very exhilarating and physically challenging!
Lunch is taken in the famous Strand Bar in Strandhill village, a surfing village.
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation is in Strandhill Lodge and Suites Hotel.

Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
Departure after breakfast.
Meals included: Breakfast

**Please note that the times and itinerary are subject to change due to weather and tidal conditions.**


Rates and Dates for Atlantic to Markree

Rates include:

Accommodations, All breakfast, 2 light lunches, 5 riding days, 1 day of organized sightseeing & Transfers
The center has some helmets to lend

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day trip, B&B€1450$1640
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Transfer from Sligo is included (airport or train station) 0 $0
2020 Transfer from Dublin Airport, pick up 2-3:30pm or 5-6:30pm, included 0 $0
2020 Single supplement 175 $200
2020 Non-rider, dbl, pp 870 $985

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 07/26 - 08/02 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired
A 2020 08/02 - 08/09 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired
A 2020 08/09 - 08/16 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired
A 2020 08/16 - 08/23 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired
A 2020 08/23 - 08/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired
A 2020 08/30 - 09/06 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired
A 2020 09/06 - 09/13 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired
A 2020 09/13 - 09/20 8d / 7n 8 day trip, B&B 4 /15 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Some lunches and all dinners, Beverages, Optional visit to celtic Seaweed baths & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Sligo Airport
Airport: Sligo / Dublin
Transfer: Sligo Train Station or Airport- included or take taxi on your own

Climate:
                                                    Sligo area

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

47

47

50

54

59

63

65

64

61

57

51

48

Average Low Temperature (°F)

38

38

39

42

46

51

53

53

50

46

42

38

Average High Temperature (°C)

8

8

10

12

15

17

18

18

16

14

10

9

Average Low Temperature (°C)

3

3

4

5

8

10

12

12

10

8

5

4

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

19

15

17

13

13

13

15

16

15

17

19

18

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Ireland, is famed for its luscious green terrain split up by rocky mountains and rolling hills. The saying goes in Ireland that you can tell the difference between summer and winter by measuring the temperature of the rain - so by this you can easily gauge that rain is a dominant feature and there isn’t a lot of temperature variation across the country.

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, so this should dispel common belief that Dublin is the wettest city in Ireland. Lying on the east coast, Dublin sees almost half as much rainfall as parts of the west 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 centre 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 country is made up of a ring of coastal mountains, with low lying central plains in the centre. Due to Ireland's mild climate and significant rainfall this has lead to luscious green terrain and plentiful vegetation which makes for very scenic and pleasant landscapes, which has lead to the island being called the ‘Emerald Isle.’ Home to rolling hills, mountainous rocky areas and dramatic green vistas, Ireland is a picturesque place to visit any time of the year.

What To Bring:
Regular riding wear (jodphur, boots, helmet) is required for this trip. 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.
Otherwise comfortable clothing - there is no dress code.

Cell phone rental is available and can be pre-booked through www.rentaphone-ireland.com
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 www.unlockitfree.com or  www.bilemo.com/unlock  

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets

Passport

Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR

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)

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING

Jacket or sweater for cool evenings

Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts

Jeans

Shorts

Underwear and socks

Pyjama

Light summer jacket

Warm jacket

Comfortable shoes/sneakers

Swimsuit

 

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING

Personal Toiletries

Insect protection

Personal medications

Sore cream (for the emergency)

Sewing kit

Handkerchiefs

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)