Connemara Mollie

An Irish Journey on Horseback

by Hilary Bradt 

Publication Date:  02nd Jul 2012


Connemara Mollie – Holiday reads and travel literature by Hilary Bradt about her riding adventures in western Ireland with Mollie, her equine partner. Covering routes in Counties Galway, Mayo, Kerry and Clare, Bradt recounts encounters with local people, beautiful landscapes, wildlife and rural history, and tragic events along the way.

About this book

An account of a journey through western Ireland made in 1984, fulfilling a childhood dream of a long-distance ride. The story centres on the growing bond between the author and her Connemara pony, Mollie and the many challenges that they face before the tragic conclusion in the mountains of Kerry. It is also a portrait of rural Ireland before the “Celtic Tiger” era, built up from conversations with the local people. The journey takes them through Counties Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry, the obstacles to their progress ranging from bogs, stone walls, and the River Shannon. “I’ve never tried hitchhiking with a horse before” comments the author. “It’s not easy.” She travelled with no set route, extending her backpacking knowledge acquired in the Andes to horse packing, “seeing the obvious advantage of climbing mountains on someone else’s legs and using another’s back for the packing.”

About the Author

Hilary Bradt is well known as the founder of Bradt Travel Guides and a writer of articles and guidebooks. This is her first narrative travel book.


‘…..reading Connemara Mollie was a real treat….. The book is testament to the wonderful journey she enjoyed, bonding with her horse and reliving the people she met and the adventures she enjoyed. It’s a lovely, light and easy going book, which will get you booking the riding lessons, the minute you put it down!’
Burnley Express

‘Hilary Bradt recalls her journey across rural Ireland among the people of Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry in the 1980s in this sweet – and surreptitiously affecting – memoir.’
Longitude Books USA

‘Hilary’s descriptions take us with her every hoofprint of the way as she brings the landscapes to life. She’s good on people too, with life in rural Ireland prior to the “Celtic Tiger” boom.’

‘With adventure, characters, and lessons learned the hard way, Connemara Mollie has many of the elements of the writer’s beloved pony books – but this true-life adventure has a charm all of its own.’
The Connemara Journal

‘Hilary brings the real Ireland to life and you can’t fail to get attached to the equine character.’
Horse magazine

Additional Information

Table of Contents

The Adventures of this Book vii
Chapter 1 1
Chapter 2 8
Chapter 3 21
Chapter 4 28
Chapter 5 38
Chapter 6 45
Chapter 7 59
Chapter 8 70
Chapter 9 81
Chapter 10 92
Chapter 11 105
Chapter 12 115
Chapter 13 128
Chapter 14 141
Epilogue: Peggy 147