You should find the answer to most questions here.
If you have any further queries do not hesitate to contact us, we would be delighted to hear from you.
What is the concept?
We rent out a four-berth horse-drawn caravan with cooking and sleeping facilities on a self-drive basis.
Our visitors come to us and take a horse and caravan out short breaks of 3 or 4 nights or 1 week, explore and enjoy the Wicklow countryside and then bring them back to us.
The price we charge includes the rental of horse and caravan, the provision of bottled gas for the gas-lamps and cooker, bedclothes and fodder for the horse and a 24/7 on call service if you need assistance at any point.
Not included in the price is the cost of food – this is a self-catering holiday.
Also not included is the payment due to farmers for letting the horse graze on their fields when the horse and caravan are off the road and for the use of their other facilities such as sanitation and rubbish disposal.
Riding horses can also be hired but only in combination with taking a caravan. While the caravan is travelling on the open road, a riding horse cannot be tied to the caravan for road safety reasons. It must be ridden or lead separately. There are ample opportunities to enjoy the beauties of County Wicklow on horseback when the caravan is parked.
Do we need horse experience?
No – over 70% of our new visitors have no horse experience at all.
Obviously, people booking this kind of holiday are prepared to get their hands dirty and bring with them a commitment to learn about and work with a horse and also bring a healthy amount of practical common sense.
Once you have completed the comprehensive ‘horse instruction’, we will talk with you and will match you with a horse suitable for your chosen route and for your horse experience or lack of it.
Our training is such that we have confidence that our visitors will be capable of working their horse and enjoying their holiday and we try to impart this same confidence to our visitors as well before they leave our base.
What is actually inside a caravan?
The Horse Caravan includes:
- Our caravans have daytime seating for four to six and night-time sleeping accommodation for four in two double-beds or in one double-bed and two single-bunks (one over the other).
- There is a small kitchen area with a twin-burner butane gas cooker with grill. Cooking pots, a frying-pan, a kettle and a teapot are stored under the sink with the water container.
- Crockery and cutlery for five is stored in the top of four pullout drawers.
- There is hanging space for full-length clothes as well as four shelves for storage.
- Bedding is kept in the boxes under the seat-cushions at the fold-down rear table.
- We provide duvets or sleeping-bags, pillows as well as the appropriate bed-linen but not towels.
- There are no toilets in the caravan – our visitors avail of facilities at the overnight stops and at pubs, etc. en route.
- Two gaslights provide gentle lighting at night.
All our caravans have the same design and are equipped with similar contents. We make special provision for families with three children under 15 by offering extra bedding and an extra bunk to allow two adults and the three children to occupy a caravan at no extra charge. On the outside, the caravan has seating for two drivers in front and provision for storing horse-fodder, the gas-bottle(s) and horse-harness at the back. The gas-bottles must always be switched shut whenever the caravan is in motion and before the occupants go to bed at night. The caravan is pulled by one horse harnessed to a pair of shafts connected to the caravan via a rotatable platform. The wheels are pneumatic, being adapted car parts.
It should be noted that the design of horse caravans varies quite substantially depending on the operator. Some caravans, for example, have candles for lighting where ours have gaslights.
Are dogs allowed?
Yes, we happily welcome dogs to our farm so they can enjoy the horse caravan holiday with you.
We have dogs of our own so the horses are used to their company on a daily basis.
A point to consider, is whether your dog will be comfortable sharing your attention with a horse for a week!
As you will be sharing our farm and the overnight stops with other visitors, we ask simply that your dog is well behaved.
All dog owners are responsible for the safe control of their dog and are liable for loss or harm caused by their dog.
When are caravans available for rent?
Our season is from late spring to mid-autumn (mid-fall) and our arrival days are Wednesday for 3 nights, Saturday for 4 nights and for 1 week a choice of Wednesday or Saturday.
It takes the best part of a day to teach and train our visitors on the essentials of caring and driving the horse, to brief them on the many attractions of this area and to help them make an optimum choice of route.
We normally make caravans available to our visitors at 4 PM (16:00) on the day of arrival and ask that the caravan be vacated at 10 am (10:00) on the day of departure. These times can be varied by prior arrangement.
For precise details both on the rental season and on the starting days, please look at our Price List.
How and when are we to get to the caravan base at Cronybyrne?
Our visitors usually arrive at our base around 16:00 or 4 PM. We are flexible in this and try to adapt to our visitors’ needs. Some people arrive much earlier, some much later and we are happy to cater for this, so please just inform us of your plans.
We have a transfer arrangement with local taxi companies which transport our visitors to and from Dublin, Dublin Airport, Dublin Ferry-port, Dun Laoghaire Ferry-port or any nearby accommodation provider. Visitors booked on a transfer from Dublin Airport should note that they should find their driver in the terminal in which their flight lands (1 or 2). The driver will wait at the opening from the baggage claim/customs in to the arrival hall and will hold a card with your name. In order to book the airport transfer we need the flight number, terminal number and arrival time. The driver will stop on route to allow you to do some food shopping as we have no grocery facilities on the farm.
It is also possible to travel to our farm by public transport, both by bus and train. From Dublin airport or Dublin city you can travel with Bus Eireann bus number 133 to our local village of Ashford. In Ashford you can shop for supplies in the CENTRA shop approx 100m from the bus stop. We can organize a taxi to bring you from Ashford to the farm once we know you have arrived there (you can ask a member of staff in the shop to call us). This taxi run costs approx €25.
Alternatively, you can travel with the Dublin/Rosslare train to the village of Rathdrum. You can shop for provisions in the village and we can organize a taxi to bring you to the farm once we know you have arrived there.
For those planning to travel to us with a rental car, you can find directions and a map on our Find Us page. Please note that there are no shopping facilities on the farm so it is advisable to shop en route. We offer parking on our farm but please be advised that it is at your own risk.
What should we bring with us?
Active wear and Jeans and pullovers are the most suitable clothes. Hiking boots or rubber boots/wellies are very strongly recommended but good outdoor sports shoes can be a good alternative. A set of rain gear is also advisable, but with changeable Irish weather don’t forget the t-shirts and shorts either!
We recommend you bring: a torch or head torch, an adapter for your electrical appliances, sun cream.
What can we store at the caravan base?
We have an unsecured room to store luggage of low value and an area beside our private house to park cars but only on the strict understanding that luggage and cars are left here at the visitors’ risk.
How can we obtain food?
Our base at Cronybyrne is in the middle of the Wicklow countryside. There is no food available in our vicinity so it is necessary to bring sufficient to last for two days. Those using the transfer arrangement will have an opportunity to shop for food, etc. in that the driver will stop at a suitable supermarket to facilitate shopping.
Once you are on the road with your caravan, you will have more opportunities to shop. There are some areas towards the mountains that don’t have shops – this will be covered in the briefing you get on choosing a route.
Good, clean and fresh water is available everywhere for free.
What actually happens after we arrive?
We bring you to your caravan, show you how it works and provide you with bedclothes.
Depending on your arrival time and other factors, we brief you on the attractions and features of this area and facilitate you in choosing you own route, giving you a marked map and written details of the locations you intend to visit with your horse and caravan. We also complete all outstanding paperwork.
You spend this first night of your holiday with us in your caravan, parked in our field.
On the morning after your arrival, we do the ‘horse instruction’. This consists of your learning and practicing how to catch, look after, harness, yoke and drive a horse. Using plenty of time, you will get to know and work with the horse allocated to you.
Eventually you will be ready to go on the road; perhaps after midday and in plenty of time to get to you first overnight stop. Please note that you must have the caravan off the road and the horse watered and grazing a half an hour before twilight. How you allocate your time and arrange your days is entirely up to you. The overnight stop people have no restrictions on when you arrive or go or on how long you may be away from your caravan.
We ask you to be back at our base at Cronybyrne on the evening before your departure as we love to hear feedback how your holiday went and we ask you to vacate your caravan on the following morning by 10:00. Again we are happy to be flexible in this timing when possible – so please just let us know beforehand.
Where do we stop at night?
Designated farmers, guest-houses, pubs and hotels make overnight facilities available to horse- drawn caravan visitors for a fee.
We have a selection of locations in our area where the farmer, the bed-and-breakfast proprietor, the pub, the guest-house owner and others welcome our caravans to park and graze the horses at night. These are the ‘overnight stops’. At a minimum, they provide parking for the caravan, grass for the horse, rubbish disposal and sanitary facilities. Some places also offer to serve breakfast, provide packed-lunches and country produce for sale and sometimes transport to local visitor attractions. They generally charge between €20 to €25 for these facilities
We have printed information material on all of these overnight stops and on the area nearby which we offer to our visitors when we do the route discussion.
Where can we go?
The distance one can expect an average horse to travel pulling a three-quarter tonne weight of caravan averages daily at about 12 miles or 20 Km. A typical travelling time for this distance is about four hours, taking into account rest-stops and harness checks. We find that our visitors actually average some 12km (8 miles) daily but then they sometimes spend two days at some favourite location.
How can we book?
Once you know the date for which you want to book, e-mail, phone or write to us and we will hold a caravan booking provisionally for ten days in your name. We can fully confirm your booking on receipt of a 50% payment which can be made through PayPal on our Prices Page or via Bank Transfer ( please email for bank details). We expect you to pay the remaining 50% either 2 weeks before you travel or on your arrival in Euro cash. We do not as yet have a facility to accept credit or charge cards on the farm.
Many visitors come to us via Travel Agents and Tour Organisers. These companies feature us in their brochures and invite the public to book a holiday with us through them. Because they ‘package’ the holiday with local, access and foreign transport, with transfers and accommodation combined with an expertise in their trade, they are an excellent choice when intending to book a holiday.
Can we book for a short stay of just a few days?
We appreciate that many visitors wish to get a taste of the horse caravan experience, often as part of a longer holiday spent discovering Ireland. We offer short breaks of 3 nights from Wednesday and 4 nights from Saturday.
It is important to note that our visitors spend nearly a day being briefed on their route, on learning and practicing how to work with the horse and in gaining driving experience. For this reason you will spend the first and last night of the tour in the caravan on our farm.
What kind of people enjoy a horse caravan holiday?
About 70% of our visitors have never handled a horse before coming to us.
Our ‘horse instruction’ is obviously designed to handle this situation and since we have been doing this successfully since 1969, it works!
Our horse caravan holiday has two main features –
- Building a good working relationship with a horse and
- Exploring and enjoying the Wicklow countryside in carefree and non-hectic fashion.
Anyone wishing to combine these two features is a prime candidate for our type of holiday. We offer a full service in French and German as well as in English on our base and on the telephone.
We find that our visitors consist of an unusually broad cross-section of people. We have visitors with and without children, visitors from all continents, visitors of all ages – in this context, please note that there must be at least one person aged 18 or over in charge of the pulling horse with each caravan. We get single families, groups of 3 or 4 families, school classes with their teachers, trades union groups and their group leaders.
What does it cost?
Our prices vary between high season and low season and on whether you book for short breaks of 4 days or full trips of 1-2 weeks. For full price details visit our Horse Caravan Prices Page.
What about telephones, electricity, currency, etc.?
- Ireland has adopted the standard GSM cellular mobile phone system and good coverage is given with the exception of some narrow valleys in the more mountainous parts of County Wicklow. Public telephones are to found in nearly all villages, guest houses, hotels and pubs.
- The standard for electricity supply in Ireland is 230 Volt 50 Hz. AC as it is elsewhere in Europe – but not on the caravans; they only have butane gas.
- The Euro (€) is legal tender here; 1€ = 100 Cent. Banks are located in Wicklow, Arklow and Rathdrum and are open Monday to Friday for slightly shorter hours than other businesses.
- Pharmacies are also located in these towns as well as in Ashford.
What about insurance?
The caravans and horses are insured against damage to them but only starting from a specific amount, the ‘excess’. As a consequence we will require a cash deposit as a surety for each caravan taken out. This deposit may be forfeit for damage to our property, for damage to other persons’ property, for the caravan not being returned to base at the agreed time or for leaving the caravan in a disorderly or dirty state where extraordinary work is needed to clean it up. We may offer you an alternative: You make us a non-refundable weekly waiver payment, you leave no deposit and we accept the risk of damage to the caravan.
Please refer to our price lists for the amount of the deposit and for the amount of the non-refundable weekly waiver payment.
Please take out a third party holiday insurance and an accident insurance before you leave your own country as we cannot arrange this here. Sometimes our visitors’ own household insurance cover can be extended by them to cover their holiday risks – visitors must check this themselves as they are responsible for ensuring that they are properly covered. Our insurance does not cover our visitors against claims against them for any damage they may cause to other persons or their property.