Back in January, a friend of mine mentioned to me that round-trip flights to Dublin, Ireland, were incredibly cheap—about $500 from Boston. Ireland has been at the top of my “must travel” list since I’ve held a passport, and to top it off, I had a $400 airfare credit. I booked a 7-day adventure a mere 7 weeks after the initial conversation, departing on February 24th!
While planning out my itinerary, I knew that I had to go riding there—it’s an item on every equestrian’s bucket list that I know—preferably on the beach. A little bit of research, in guidebooks and online, turned up Dingle Horseriding on the Dingle Peninsula. After hearing our Creative Director, Sara, rave about the town and sights from her trip back in October 2012, it was already on my list to spend a few days there, and how perfect that this stable was so highly rated! I booked a two-hour mountain and beach ride in advance as the highlight of my trip.
The weather in Ireland is unpredictable at best, and I knew I was going to need wind- and waterproof apparel and footwear for both the ride and sightseeing. The one predictable factor was that SmartPak had everything I needed to stay warm and dry no matter the weather! Check out what I packed and wore to not only go riding but to see that best of what Ireland has to offer.
- SmartPak Winter Jacket
This jacket was the only one I brought to Ireland, and like it says in the description, it’s a workhorse! It kept me warm and dry the entire time, and when the sun came out and warmed up the temperature, I just unzipped the armpit vents—my favorite feature of this coat by far. And when it started raining and hailing on us while riding on the beach, this jacket let nothing penetrate through. Plus, it dealt with curious sheep nibbling on it without a pulled thread in sight. Priceless!
Under Armour Cozy ½ Zip
I love the Under Armour Cozy ½ Zip so much; I have it in almost all the colors SmartPak carries. It’s a staple of my New England winter riding wardrobe, and proved to be the best top for Ireland (I brought 2 with me and wore one sightseeing, and the other riding). The brushed interior is soft against my skin, and the contoured shape ensures a great fit and flattering silhouette.
Piper Plus Full Seat Breeches by SmartPak
I can’t say enough about my love for Piper, and when I saw the new Navy with Emerald color, I just had to pack it with me for the Emerald Isle! The stretchy full seat was perfect for getting up in galloping position as well as trotting through town, and since it’s a synthetic material, I didn’t have to worry about the seat getting ruined by saltwater.
Tredstep Deluxe Half Chaps
I normally ride in stiff, tall dressage boots, but those wouldn’t work for galloping long distances or splashing in the ocean. These half chaps are not just easier to pack, they offered a nice grip in the saddle and they come in a wide variety of calf widths and heights—perfect for my short, wide calves. They also cleaned up and recovered nicely from the ocean spray and deep Irish mud—and curious sheep nibbling on them.
Dubarry Galway ExtraFit Boot
I couldn’t go to Ireland and not have a pair of Dubarrys on my feet! I didn’t ride in them, but they were the perfect boot pre- and post-riding, as well as hiking the Cliffs of Moher, examining the ruins of Clonmacnoise, walking through streams at the Gardens of Powerscourt, and taking a tour of the Irish National Stud—among all the other activities I did while on vacation. In fact, I wore them for 99% of my trip; that 1% was when I went riding! They were so comfortable and kept my feet 100% dry. I can’t imagine wearing anything else in Ireland or here at home. And, bonus, they also had no problem standing up to curious, nibbling sheep. (I encountered lots of sheep.)