Horse Licence

Who Needs to Apply for a Horse Licence?

"If you are living in a designated control area, you need a licence in order to have a horse. A licence normally lasts for a year. The local authority keeps a publicly available register of all licences issued."

"If you wish to ride your horse on a public road, you may do so provided that the horse has a licence, is fitted with a bridle and is under the control of someone over 16 years of age." 

What is a "Control Area"

Generally, this is the entire area of your local authority/council. 

Terms & Conditions to Apply

  1. You must be 16 years of age or older to apply or the head of the household applies
  2. When applying for a licence, you must satisfy the local authority that you are a fit person to keep a horse and that the horse will be properly maintained and stabled. If a person under 16 owns a horse, the head of the household in which they live is considered to be the owner, as horses may not be sold to anyone under 16 years of age.
  3. Anyone permitted to have a horse in a public place must ensure that it is wearing a bridle and is under adequate control. It is illegal to allow a horse to graze, feed, stray or remain in a public place without the consent of the local authority.

How Much Does a Horse Licence Cost?

A horse licence costs around €30, but this varies between councils.  Dublin City Council charge €31.74.


South County Dublin Control of Horses Bye Laws 2014 (extracts) 

View full text here

Fingal County Council Control of Horses Bye Laws

More information here.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Control of Horses Bye Laws

More information here.

What Happens When I Apply?

Following submission of a licence application the Council’s veterinary officer will contact the horse owner to arrange an inspection.

Where do I apply?

Your local authority/council.

Inspection & Offences

The Gardaí or staff authorised by the local authority may decide to inspect your horse and you must allow them to do this. They can also ask you to produce evidence of a horse licence. They have fairly extensive powers of search and arrest if they suspect cruelty to horses.

The legislation specifies several offences, including failure to remove a horse from a public place or control area and dangerous use of a horse. You may be arrested without warrant for most of these offences. If convicted, you may be fined or imprisoned (or both) and you may be disqualified from keeping a horse for a period. The court may seize the horse and dispose of it as it sees fit.

Sources Include: Citizen Information