If you are into horses or if you like the peace and quiet of the outdoors then you might like the Slieve Aughty Centre, near Loughrea in Galway.
Hidden away from country roads at the end of a laneway, what stands out for me about my latest visit here is the absolute stillness and quiet, where literally the only sounds you hear are birds chirruping out their favourite songs and the clippty-clop of the happy horses who get to call this place home.
I first visited here with a group of children and left promising to come back soon. Soon proved to be a little bit longer than preferred but I won’t leave so long until my next visit! They have been busy in the meantime. An organic restaurant has been added along with the cutest little cabins available to rent on a self-catering basis. Weddings are now also held here and I can imagine a wedding here as a blissful, chilled out affair.
I came for the horses and a trail ride here is a treat and an adventure! Tacking up, we learn that Slieve Aughty use bitless bridles so that was a first for me. Bento (my grey beauty) was raring to go, so off we set along the lanes towards the woods passing by really fun looking cross-country jumps and splashing through a flowing stream. As we went deeper into the woods my imagination went into over time and I was no longer on a Sunday hack in Galway but charging through the Game of Thrones set!! That daydream was ground to a halt when I tried pulling on the brakes (i.e. the reins and hence the bit) and realised that there was no bit – and we were at speed going down hill!!!
Easing off on the speed, the rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the coolness of the fresh woodland air and freedom of having the area all to ourselves.
If the thoughts of belting through the woods with no brakes do not appeal to you, there is a lovely far more gentle alternative; a picnic walk with a donkey through the hills. Talk about a birthday treat with a difference!
Slieve Aughty has delicious fresh food, drinks, facilities, ample space, parking and lots of friendly animals from horses, ponies, donkeys, a bossy looking Billy goat and one of the biggest but friendliest dogs I have ever met!
If you’d like more information about horse riding adventures do let me know.
In the meantime, if you are visiting Kerry, Blackwater Stables offer nice hacks along the Ring of Kerry. Read more here: