Homestay Horse Riding Holidays & English Language Course
Our Homestay Holidays are unique! Where else can you find a wonderful location with excellent horse riding facilities, carefully selected host families, guided tours with local knowledge and a friendly personal service? Our holidays help your child to realise their horse riding potential, improve their knowledge of the English language, explore and learn new skills from water sports to learning to play the Tin Whistle all whilst making new friends and having fun. We believe that our personal service assures parents of the student’s wellbeing. We provide a most suitable environment for your child to be happy in and help them settle into their new surroundings with ease.
A programme is put together for each student according to their riding ability, individual choices and length of stay. It is a progressive horsemanship programme with goals for each rider to work towards and achieve by the end of their stay. We aim to provide a fun environment with tuition given where needed and plenty of treks to explore the island from horseback with long sandy beaches and sand dunes, hills and valleys. See details on our treks here. Depending on individual riding abilities we can teach basic cross country jumping in the sand dunes, learn to develop a half seat and how to gallop safely across the beach. We provide sure footed home bred Connemara Ponies, Irish Cobs & Irish Draught horses. Stable management sessions are held as part of the programme covering all aspects of horse husbandry. This helps students to become more knowledgeable in their horse care and become more confident around horses and ponies.
Families are carefully selected from the local community and all live locally to the Equestrian Centre. Your child will become a welcome member of the family and will be treated as such throughout their stay. Internet is available throughout the duration of stay as well a bicycle. When it is raining the host family will transport students to and from the Equestrian Centre. Family members or friends may be accommodated in the same host family subject to availability.
Achill is steeped in history and has many cultural experiences for your child to learn about and explore. We take the students on a tour of the island and visit the most famous locations e.g. Grainne Uaile’s Castle, Keem Bay, Megalithic Tombs and The Deserted Village. Other traditions will also be explored such as Traditional Irish Music, Turf Cutting, Hay Saving, gathering Sheep & Lambs off the mountains for shearing as well as discovering the local wildlife, flora, fauna and sea life. Achill waters have a healthy population of Dolphin, Whale, Porpoise and Seals which can be viewed from land or by boat.
We run an Equestrian Centre & Pony Trekking Centre in Achill Co Mayo since 2002. We also breed our own Connemara ponies – ‘Keel Connemara Ponies’. Every year we foal up to six mares, many of the young stock take customers out on treks when they are older. We also own a Sheep Farm, Organic Butchers and an Award Winning Restaurant in the village of Keel. We are a large family of ten children, many of whom run several segments of the family business. Orla Calvey (B.Sc. (Hons), MBA Equine Business Management), runs the Equestrian Centre and is committed to providing a professional and efficient service. We believe our service is ideal for European Students wishing to improve their horse riding and English language skills.
Ireland’s ‘Adventure Island’ – the largest island off Ireland is now linked to Westport by the ‘Great Western Greenway’, the longest off road cycling and walking trail in Ireland. Achill has many activities such as water sports; kayaking, surfing, SUP, Kite Surfing, land based such as land yachting, painting, hill walking and golf. There is also fishing and ferry services to local islands such as Clare Island and Inish Gé. The island has a close knit community of about 3,000 residents who share five blue flag beaches and amazing windswept scenery. The island relies on its tourism industry but the main source of income for many families is agriculture.
Transport to & from Achill
Complimentary Pick Up & Drop off at Ireland West Airport Knock, Castlebar & Westport Train Stations.
All other pick-ups can be arranged and are priced separately.
Excursions & Activities Included in the Holiday
- Wildlife walks incorporating the Keel sandybanks, lake and seashore. Your guide will teach you about the local flora and fauna taking in some bird watching as well as a look out for sea life by the shore.
- Agricultural Show visits. There are many in the Mayo & Galway region and we compete with our homebred Connemara ponies.
- Learn how to save Turf – Irish fire fuel! And Hay for the horses – Irish Style!
- Boat Trip around the island with fishing for Pollock & Mackerel. A Great way to see the island whilst looking out for whales & dolphins.
- Learn to play the Tin Whistle – a traditional Irish music instrument. A sure way to impress your friends and family when you get home!
- Spend the day herding sheep and lambs for the annual shearing of their fleeces.
- A visit to the Ballycroy National park.
- Kayaking or surfing lesson
- Cycling the Great Western Greenway
Please note the numbers of activities and visits undertaken all depends on the length of stay. The longer your holiday the more chance you have of experiencing all activities. If there is a particular excursion you would like to explore during your stay please highlight this in your application.
Calvey’s of Achill on Facebook
Keel Connemara Ponies on Facebook
Achill Tourism - www.achilltourism.com
Mulranny Park Hotel - www.mulrannyparkhotel.ie
Discover Ireland - www.discoverireland.ie
Ireland West Airport Knock - www.irelandwestairport.com
Irish Rail - www.irishrail.ie