Ireland is known as The Emerald Isle. It is perched on the edge of Europe and is steeped in mythical beauty. Its landscape is rich and varied with misty bogs, shimmering green pastureland, craggy mountains, white sand beaches, valleys, rivers and lakes.
There are many ways to enjoy the beauty of Ireland and Getaway took a gentle horse-drawn caravan through the countryside. They offer slow and relaxing travel between rural farmlands.
Kilvahan Horse Drawn Caravans is run by Hans and Julia Keuhnle and they set you free in the beautiful Irish Midlands.
Their farm is home to a mix of pigs, sheep, goats, llamas, dogs, donkeys and miniature horses. That is where you spend the first night in the caravan with views of mountains.
The next morning you meet your horse in our case it was Doof and learn about looking after it, harnessing and driving. The horses are from Dublin coal-yards and are experienced and suitable for beginners. Your route for the week ahead is planned. It takes you through County Laois' quiet country roads with eight stopover points. They may be B&Bs or rustic farmhouses.
Ireland has many castles and Kinnitty Castle is one worth visiting. It's just 30 minutes south of Dublin in the foothills of Slieve Bloom Mountains.
The castle's long and colourful history goes back to ancient times. It is on a druidic ceremonial ground where leylines cross and mystical forces are prevalent.
Republican forces burned Kinnitty to the ground in 1922 and it was rebuilt in 1928. It has had various owners and was purchased from the State by the Ryan family in 1994. They have transformed it into a luxurious 37-bedroom hotel. It has a gourmet restaurant, open turf fires, fishing, clay pigeon shooting and a health spa.
Kilvahan horse-drawn caravans cost around $1185 a week for up to four adults. Guidebook and the horse's food are included. Day and weekend trips are available. Fixed stops are arranged and other breaks can be added for an extra cost.
Kinnitty Castle rooms start at around $230 a night.
Out of Dublin, Ireland's capital.
For further information
Kilvahan Horse-Drawn Caravans
Ph: 353 57 873 5178
Fax: 353 57 873 5155
Ph: 353 57 913 7318
Fax: 353 57 913 7284
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