Think you've done horse riding on the beach? You haven't lived 'til you've done it here. Experience the exhilaration of hooves on sand and sun on your back as you gallop along the sweeping shores of the Wild Atlantic Way with Ursula Schweiger O'Connor from Island View Riding in this mesmerising 360 ° horse riding video.
From up here the world looks different. Those who say there is no heaven on Earth clearly have never ridden a horse. Hooves hammer ebbing tides as seagulls fly overhead and mountain, sea, sand and the world itself passes you by. On the back of a horse the fabric of the universe changes, here time can stand still or fly by.
Situated under a hulking mass of limestone plateaux known as Benbulben lies a 3km-long beach called Streedagh Strand. Level and expansive, the beach is perfect for all manner of equestrian activities. From daredevil riders who love nothing more than a flat out gallop to folks who like relaxed and easy trekking, you can find it all.
Located close to Streedagh Strand, the isolated and equally beguiling Trawalua Strand allows for spectacular rides across unspoilt sands. This is not just riding horses on the beach, it's revelling in captivating beauty and marvelling at the might of these stunning creatures. For a full day in the saddle, a longer trek continues on to Dernish Island - a private islet marked by prehistoric standing stones and mound graves.
And now, for the first time ever in this immersive video, you can experience the virtual thrill of thundering over Sligo’s golden sands astride your equine partner as the Atlantic roars beside you. Rooted in infamy, it was as a result of these tumultuous coastal tides that three Spanish Armada ships supposedly ran aground near the north-western shore of a sandbar linking Streedagh Point to Connor's Island.
In fact, this region of Ireland is a veritable treasure trove of literature and legend, fairy tales and folklore, surf and spray. It's hardly surprising then that Sligo inspired the poet, Nobel Laureate and dramatist WB Yeats so deeply. Ever fascinated by Irish mysticism, places like prehistoric Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Innisfree Island and the historic house of Lissadell would become immortalised through his verse and prose.
It is this unique mix of myth, lofty mountains and secluded sands that adds up to an area seemingly purpose built to be explored from the panoramic perspective of a horse’s back.
To experience the rush of horse back riding on the beach in real life, visit one of the many accredited riding schools that are dotted along the west coast. For inspiration on where to go, check out these 6 remarkable rides on the Wild Atlantic Way. To explore other equestrian adventure ideas both in and out of the saddle visit here.
For all the behind the scenes action, check out how these 360 ° videos were created in this ‘making of’ piece. Experience more 360 ° videos here.