As you travel from Kenmare to Sneem on the Ring of Kerry you will pass through Blackwater Bridge. Passing alongside this famous route is part of The Kerry Way, a 200km marked trail through this peninsula. Predominately walkers territory, I recently found out that horses love it too and with Blackwater Stables it is possible to trek along sections of this scenic area.
To get to the stables, as you arrive at Blackwater Bridge, indicate to the right and leave the N70 just before the very sharp bend in the bridge. There are signposts guiding you too so it will be clear where to go. Continue along this road until you reach the stables which are on your left-hand side (about 5 minutes drive).
You will more than likely be greeted by the two dogs first, then Anne who runs the place and finally a head might poke out from over a stable door to see what is going on. The horses and ponies here seem pretty chilled out and content but still have a bit of spirit about them – Molly my companion was adamant she was getting some nice grass before we left the yard and it took some strength to convince her otherwise!
There are a number of options available and it is possible to do a 20-minute taster session or a 1, 2 or 2.5-hour trek around the area. Leaving the stables and making our way down the quiet road, Molly did her best to take me on the 1 hour route through a forest – with the heat of the afternoon, I don’t blame her for wanting to take the easy option but she was in for a treat as we were heading for the water to cool off on one of the longer rides.
As we approached Blackwater Bridge itself, the horses were as cool as a breeze with the traffic. Given the summer months, there was a constant stream of vehicles passing by but every driver slowed down very respectfully and the horses took it all in their stride.
We then made our way into the woods and it was time to relax, making our way downhill through the cool of the trees and away from the noise of the road. Pacing ourselves, we passed the Holy Well and Dromore Castle entrance before veering right to track down into the water.
With the tide in, we didn’t have to go too far out before the horses were up to their bellies in water and started drinking and splashing water. With neither horses and riders wanting to leave, we idled about for another while taking in the views towards Blackwater Pier and across towards Beara until everyone was sufficiently cooled off before carefully picking our way through the seaweed covered rocks and back on to the track.
Heading back up through the Kerry Way, Molly was well and truly revived from her dip and was full of speed as we cantered through the tracks towards the road again. Just like us humans, she was either revived from the sea water or else she was just thinking of dinner time back at home! A trek with Blackwater is the real deal – you get the freedom of a woodland hack on horses that are well-trained & calm but are still full of character and heart!
Making our way back to the stables (and Molly’s dinner time!)
If you are looking for another horse-centred experience in Ireland, definitely look up Slieve Aughty in Galway for the real deal – loved horses, taking you out across hidden Ireland, read on here: