In 1978, Esther and Hugo Zyderlaan moved to Ireland from Holland, seeking to live sustainably on the land. The first piece of land they bought consisted of 8 rugged acres with a small shed and a partially crumbled wall, the site where The Three Towers now stands. The first development on the land was Esther’s passion: the organic garden. The 2nd thing the Zyderlaan’s did was purchase a few goats and set up a small but successful dairy. They sold yoghurt and cheese in the Galway Market where Hugo now holds one of the oldest stalls still in operation.
In the beginning family and friends came and stayed and Esther’s daughter developed a talent and passion for horses. The family farm house, which the Zyderlaan’s built by hand, housed the first guests and continued to do so until 2006. In the mid 1980’s, the decision was made to stop the dairy operations and concentrate on horses. Esther gradually purchased more land and was awarded a grant from the Irish Horse Board to build her first set of stables. In 1986 the Slieve Aughty Riding Centre was born.
Steadily, the business grew and a need for more accommodation was recognised. Esther began developing her idea to expand to non-equestrian customers and her vision of a retreat where people could connect with nature and healthy living started to expand. The design for The Three Towers Eco House & Organic Kitchen was created and construction began in 2006. Soon after, the economy took a turn for the worse and the project came to a halt. For the next three years Esther worked tirelessly to keep her business afloat and after many sleepless nights, discovered that the 75% grant aid programme available from GRD (Galway Rural Development). After a tough application process, Esther was awarded the grant aid in 2012 and work on the building continued.
With its doors open to weddings, parties, workshops, organic dining and corporate events, the centre provides a rural escape for friends, families, groups and couples of all ages.
Today Slieve Aughty Centre is an eco-friendly equestrian and activity leisure centre set on 17 acres of rugged Galway land. Guests have miles of trails for walking, cycling, horse riding and exploring nature as well as a stunning location for rejuvenation, relaxation and celebration!