The Slieve Aughty Riding Centre, a family-owned eco-friendly equestrian and activity centre, was opened in 1989 by Esther Zyderlaan, who is originally from Holland. It grew from her desire to share the beautiful setting with people from all over the world. She enjoyed farming organically on her own land and wanted to get people back in touch with the land.

As the business grew, the accommodation needed to be upgraded to meet the needs of guests and more stringent regulations. LEADER provided a grant to complete the accommodation. Esther says that without that grant the centre would not have been able to operate on a green level and could then expand its offerings to include multi-day experiences on site.

The centre has achieved the Ecotourism GOLD level, and has received approval from Fáilte Ireland and the British Horse Society.

In 2012, The Three Towers - an eco resort inspired by Moroccan influences - was opened on the grounds of the Slieve Aughty Riding Centre.

Concern for the environment is of the highest priority. The centre has access to more than 2,000 acres of Coillte-managed forestry. The building is energy-efficient and the restaurant has organic certification.

Slieve Aughty Riding Centre and The Three Towers provide a venue for domestic and international families to enjoy the natural surroundings and eat healthy food. They aim to be pioneers in a growing green movement bringing people back to their roots and creating space to spend quality time with each other.

The centre employs local people and purchases from local organic producers. The guesthouse is a model of ecotourism in that it is proof that you can offer luxury while caring for the environment through practices and purchases.

Esther’s ultimate dream is to create a foundation dedicated to protecting the land and to develop a reputation as a world class eco- friendly resort.

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