In Irish mythology, there is a spirit – a shapeshifter – called the púca. While variations on this myth exist, the púca often takes the shape of a glistening black horse. They are respected, revered, and sometimes even a little fearsome.
Legend has it if a púca tempts you onto it’s back, with their glowing golden eyes and flowing silken mane, you’re in for the ride of your life. Hang on tight!
They love to confuse, and sometimes scare, their riders; but they mean you no harm and will return you safely. Púca are also gifted with the ability to speak as a human. If you play your cards right, they’ll lead you away from any harm and offer you sound advice.
Now, I’m not saying Stable Mates has a púca writing this for you, but we do have some great advice on where to go horse riding in Ireland!
“We like to operate as a family, and all our customers receive that warm welcome when they visit.” -Tim Duggan
I had the pleasure of speaking with Tim Duggan of Killegar Stables, a family run business located in the hills just above the village of Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland.
Killegar Stables was started by Jean Morton, Tim’s mother, 45 years ago. Jean started her first riding school – when she was just a teenager – with a friend and three horses.
Later on, Jean briefly gave office work a chance, but it just wasn’t in the cards for her. Perhaps she, too, had a púca offering her sound advice. The moment of recognition came when a coworker asked her about her pension plans. She knew she needed a change, and thus – with a loan from her father – Killegar Stables was born.
Killegar Stables caters to all levels of horse riding ability and offers one, two, and three-hour horse treks. With 40 horses in all sizes, you’ll be sure to find a horse that’s the right fit.
Whether this is your first time in the saddle, or if you were in one before you could walk, Killegar has you covered. You’ll be matched with one of their horses and given a short instruction session prior to heading into the Killegar forest, which lies at the top of a glacial cut valley known as The Scalp. This wild and rugged landscape will leave you breathless!
The two and three-hour treks are open to intermediate and advanced riders only, and include the route for the one hour ride as well. These rides are led by two guides, so there is the option to split into a slower and a faster group if you’d like.
Killegar’s guests love having the option to choose between a leisurely ride or a fast-paced equestrian adventure. On these rides, you will find your way to the top of Carrickgollogan forest after passing by the remains of an abandoned mine. Stop for a while and take in the beauty of Ireland. You will have views of the Irish coast, all the way to North Wicklow County. This view is not to be missed.
At Killegar, you will be in the hands of experienced equestrians, and on the backs of wonderful horses. Jean is an accomplished horsewoman who has been riding from a young age. She had a successful competitive career, competing internationally in show jumping and winning the 1971 Women’s Grand National in Ireland. Now, she breeds horses that go on to compete internationally in show jumping, including horses that have won Olympic medals.
Tim’s sister, Daisy Duggan, has also had a successful career in racing and breeding. Both Daisy and Jean produce horses of Olympic caliber.
Tim Duggan, who insisted that his mother and sister deserved the spotlight, is also an accomplished equestrian. He learned to ride from a young age along with his sister, and competed in showjumping.
Killegar prides themselves on being the friendliest yard in Ireland. Guests will be welcomed into the family and shown some of the best Ireland has to offer. The views are incredible. The scenery is awe-inspiring. Killegar Stables has exclusive horse trekking rights to Killegar Forest, where, if you’re lucky, you just might catch a glimpse of the once thought extinct red deer – or maybe… even the púca.
“Killegar, a place to ride with friends.”
For more about Killegar Stables, and their great horse riding options in Ireland, please VISIT HERE.
Article by Jessi Trafton