I have recently returned from a week staying in the clubhouse on the Mount Juliet Estate. I booked through In the Saddle for an equestian riding holiday for 5 nights with 3 hous riding each day.
I travelled alone in the end as my girlfriend wasn't able to join me and I didn't want to miss out, I've never travelled alone before for more than a night and this was the perfect place to have my first solo holiday, I can't wait to return.
I arrived on Sunday afternoon having driven myself from Dublin airport (very easy drive) and proceeded to the main house for check in, I was immediatley blown away by the views as I drove through the estate and the interior of the house was just beautiful it was the perfect mix of being grand and ornate but also comfortable and homely.
The ladies on reception were very friendly and helpful, giving me all the details I needed to set me up for an afternoon exploring. The lovely Jakob then helped me to my room by escorting me to the clubhouse and taking all my bags for me whilst giving me more ideas for my stay including recommending a tour with Des.
My room was a light and airy double, it was cleaned to a very high standard each day, as I was on the ground floor I enjoyed a terrace with table and chairs leading onto a lawn perfect to catch the afternoon sun. The bathroom was lovely, perfectly clean and very new and modern. Bed comfortable and very large with a TV in front of it with a good range of channels.
As my riding didn't start until the next day, I began by unpacking and then following one of the trail walks around the estate. There are a few walks to choose from of varying legnths so there's something for everyone. Being horse mad, I instantly chose the walk which took you through the paddocks and through the Ballylinch Stud, it was a lovely short walk and I was delighted to see all the mares and recent foals in the fields playing, if you stand long enough they'll come and say hi!
Each evening I ate in the Presidents bar, making the most of the sunshine I sat on the terrace and enjoyed the views, all the staff in there were extremely friendly and service was great. Trish especially was very helpful and friendly. The food was fabulous, not too fussy but superbly cooked, I cannot recommend the burger enough I had it two nights in a row!!!
My riding itinery each day was to have a trail ride for two hours at 10am and then a lesson in the afternoon from 2pm-3pm, the equestrian centre is a lovely 5 minute walk from the clubhouse, or you can take a bike from the main house. I was met by the lovely Tara at the stables who signed me in and off we went!
The rides around the estate are beautiful, if you are an experienced rider you will be able to experience some brilliant long, fast canters, try out the gallops and even pop the cross country fences if you wish. One particularly hot day after XC we took the horses into the river to cool off. All the horses here are loved and well looked after, they enjoy their jobs and are the perfect mix of being honest and steady horses whilst still having a bit of petrol in the tank for those wanting to kick on!
I loved my lessons each afternoon with Tara, I chose to have show jumping each day but had the option of flat lessons or more trail riding too. Tara set up a nice little course for me and each day added in an extra element such as bounces or raised the jumps so I felt I had progressed during the week. Everyone at the stables made me feel very welcome and I was very sad o ay good bye on the thursday afternoon. I rode the two Maggie's each day and wish there was room in my case to take them home!
On the Wednesday Tara organised for Des to pick me up after my riding has finished to take me on the tour of the estate and I'm very grateful she did! Des was so lovely and funny and what he doesn't know about the estate probably isn't worth knowing! We explored the house as I learned more about the history, then enjoyed a drive around the golf course and fishing lakes, followed by a trip to the hunt kennels to check out the hounds and finished at the Ballylinch Stud where I could look around the stables and learn more about the fantastic racehorses that had been bred there.
I also enjoyed the spa and leisure centre in my stay and everyone I came accross was very friendly and willing to help, it was the perfect break away from the hustle and bustle of London and I can't wait for my next opportunity to return.
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- Also Known As:
- Mount Juliet Estate Hotel Thomastown
- Conrad Hotel Thomastown
- Conrad Thomastown
- Thomastown Conrad
- Mount Juliet Estate Ireland/Thomastown, County Kilkenny