How do you bring a horse to and from Ireland? By Ferry!
Though the information isn't as easy to find as you might think, taking your horse or pony to Ireland is relatively simple. You can take a number of cheap ferries to Ireland, who all seem to charge by vehicle length.
You will probably need to book through the freight arm of the ferry company if you are travelling with your animal, but if you are taking a ferry with an empty horse box or trailer you should be able to book with the rest of the regular passengers. There are fuel surcharges when you travel freight.
What you'll need: The length of your vehicle and trailer or horse box.
Because ferries charge by vehicle length, it can actually be more economical to take a lorry than a 4x4 with horse box. If you are looking for the cheapest option, make sure you double check that the route you need take horses. The Millstreet Horse show in Cork can be best reached by the Pembroke to Rosslare route, but that can take up to four hours and if your animal doesn't do the sea well you might be better off going from Holyhead to Dublin route and driving to Cork from Dublin. These two crossings are the most frequently used.
Luckily, there is a good motorway from Dublin to Limerick and you'll see many fellow equestrians on the road. Horses won't be allowed on the ferry to Ireland if the weather is in any way bad. And don't forget you bring your horse's passport! If you are a British citizen, you won't need a passport to get the ferry to Ireland but you will need some form of official identification. You can check the website of the ferry you're travelling with to check the details.
One final point , if you are getting a ferry to Ireland with a horse or pony, make sure there is no loose hay or stray in the carrier as you will be forced to stop and wash it out before you board. You will also have to allow time for the VET in the ferry port to do a quick inspection. Sealed bags of feed or hay are permitted.
Costs are variable, while the ferry to Ireland can be cheap for foot passengers, costs will go up the longer your entire vehicle front bumper to back of the trailer is. There is also a fuel surcharge which changes all the time, and they will also bill you per person. So a small lorry with one person will be cheaper than a 4x4 with a long horse box and two people. Measure up before you book!